Let’s Bounce to the Beats and Meet Music Makers

Mid Week Music from Molly’s

OG Merge on the scene at Molly’s Community Cafe open mic night on Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Last Wednesday, Jaymi Mitchell and I bounced from downtown Winterville to Uptown Greenville, checking out the open mic scene. Following our visit to Nauti Dogs Brewing Co. for open mic night hosted by Joe Shingara we popped over to Greenville to see what was going down at Molly’s Community Café.

Singing sensation, Tyrell Speight of OG Merge

What I noted about this portion of the night was the originality found in the performances. For those offering an original platform to showcase, this is the place to shine.

Guitarist and singer for OG Merge, Mike Meeks

When we walked in last week, OG Merge was giving up their set of original offerings. This duo is comprised of Tyrell Speight and Mike Meeks. It was during their set that I found my theme song for the year. “If You Don’t LikeWhat I Say You Can Go The F#^* Away!” Please note, I do not wish to offend anyone nor does the band! But this really is too good not to share.

Attention readers: Please do not play if offended by foul language or if you have young children within ear shot! This song is catchy but probably not suitable for the kindergarten class!

These two creatives have been making music together for nearly a decade under this union. The band originally came together as a trio by way of an open mic night at the now closed Peasants Pub, which was located on 5th St. Right around the way from Molly’s, years ago. It was there, in 2012 that promoter and SPAZZ FEST organizer Jeff Blinder made them an offer they couldn’t refuse. He asked them to be opening act for PaleFace and that was how the story started.

After hearing the duo at Molly’s on Wednesday, I reached out by way of messenger to learn more. We set up a second meeting at AJ’s McMurphy’s for Monday where we had a chance to sit down and talk before they turned things up from the stage.

OG Merge and Tracey Stones collaborating on the bands direction Photo credit: Susan Baugham

It was during our sit down on Monday that I learned how the name came about. Since Merge was already taken, Meeks just put OG in front. He told me the name came about as a result of their music style. I understood what he was saying right away. They definitely have a knack for merging several genres. This merge is what offers the duo a unique blend that makes them stand apart from most bands.

They found a niche in blending rap with reggae, blues, and Americana music. I have heard these guys twice and on two occasions I have also heard them tell people that they are “no one special,” but I am here to say to you, “Don’t believe that for a second!”

In reality, they actually are a couple of very special, and humble talents that can shape thoughts and inspire souls with their music offerings.

Once the project was founded in 2012, guitarist Mike Meeks took the reigns and admits that the whole thing gets overwhelming. With keeping the calendar, promoting the dates, playing on the regular, it’s a drain on the creative side. So as life dialed in new frequencies, like work and family, the young father, dialed things back on the band duties, even before Covid came on the scene. Now these guys are back with a new perspective and a fresh attitude.

The band released their debut release a half decade ago and are hoping to release more music in 2021. As for gigging, they are seeking festival and community opportunities more than staying on the scene and running the rat race.

Once he had some time to focus, he musically worked on the solo front. Meeks has been cutting a deal with a distributor overseas. Details on that are still coming together, but, last night, Meeks dropped a video on Facebook to support the first release. Check it out here Remember a Time

As for the works of OG Merge, Meeks and Speight collaborate on the songs they offer with Speight bringing the lyrics and Meeks bringing the music. From there they bounce off of each other until the song falls together.

For those talent buyers and seekers interested in filling slots with a fun and energetic act that will groove and move the people, consider OG Merge.

Back to the Midweek Vibes

Nick Webster offering the vibes

This neat little noise maker dials in the vibes. It’s a small Korg Volca Keys synthesizer being manipulated by Nick Webster, during his open mic appearance last Wednesday at Molly’s Community Café.

Nick Webster offering the synth vibes last week at Molly’s!

The first time I was introduced to this kind of music therapy, it was here in New Bern back in 2016 by Serial Experiments Lane at Mickey Milligan’s for a benefit to help Lynaire Kennels rebuild after a fire. This is noted in the photo below. Local musician Kenny Castania was who introduced me.

NCMZ.LIVE File Photo: Kenny Castania with a Korg and guitar pedal set up for vibe transmission.

We also got to enjoy a couple of numbers by host, JT Ackerman. He closed out the night with a couple of cover songs and an original effort.

Open Mic host and SPAZZ promo man JT Ackerman closing out the night at Molly’s Community Café.

Ackerman is an enthusiastic promoter of his local music scene. He has several band projects but thanks to covid he is playing solo shows with local friends joining the fun often. This is what happens when you knit a community together. The support and opportunities never end. Each performance is an experience and each moment, a memory. The host singer played a couple songs on his own, last week and ended the night with a friend who’s name still escaped me at press time. (It happens, a lot.)

The final song at MCC open mic night on Wednesday, January 13, 2021.

After all the performances finished last Wednesday, Ackerman pointed out that there will be more music coming to Molly’s Community Café, starting this week. He also reminded people about the tip jar at the end of the bar. The money deposited in this jar at MCC is used to support the annual SPAZZ FEST.

Molly’s Community Café, 300 Evans St., Greenville; offers an open mic night each Wednesday from 6-9 pm. All are welcome to come out and shine. The food is awesome and the servers are attentive and ready to see to it that you have a good time while visiting. Consider stopping out tonight! But first, call your date!

Thursday will be date night. This weekly offering offers a fine meal and awesome live music. The cost is $25 per person and you can call ahead to reserve your spot! They can be reached by calling (252) 227-4449. Tonight you can come out to enjoy the grooves of local music maker, Rob Legere.

Rob Legere

On Fridays they will feature three acoustic acts. This week kicks off with Ackerman and last week’s NCMZ feature artists, Tony Soldati. Stop out for music from 5-9 pm to see who else will be there for the kick off of music’s return to the downtown eatery!

Ackerman and Soldati at AJ McMurphy’s 1/19/21. Phot credit: Susan Baugham

During the open mic at AJ’s this week, I would have a chance to spend a few moments with Ackerman who told me about his band project with Soldati. These guys were enjoying some great successes with their project August Is Ours which was touring regularly here and abroad. Below is the bands tour schedule from 2019.

Of course, Covid has grounded all bands and touring music projects. Lord knows, it will be great to see bands sore again. Until that day, Ackerman keeps busy under the guise of Jared. He has other band projects as well and lives and breathes to promote and play music and hopes to watch the Buffalo Bills win a Super Bowl. Something that has never happened in the fans lifetime! (My Giants are out so…Go Bills!) Be sure to like Ackerman’s page and follow him on Facebook.

You are also invited, now cordially, to join him on Wednesdays for Open Mic Night at Molly’s Community Café.

Thursday Night Supper Sounds from Fairfield Harbour

Brian Mac offers the music accompaniment for supper on Thursday at Harbour Pointe Bar & Grille

Last Thursday I didn’t have to travel far to find some good music. It was being served right here in my neighborhood, with local talent, Brian Mac serving up the sounds.

Local residents making memories, enjoying the music

It’s refreshing to report that good things are being offered to the world from right here in my corner of the world. The food is amazing and the spirits are high, the service is fine and the music is live! Sounds like it has all the ingredients to welcome others to our corner of the world.

Coming up this week Harbour Point Bar & Grille they will offer music on Thursday and introduce Karaoke on Friday. More details on this week below, but please note Brian Mac will return to entertain friends again next week, on January 28. Music is served from 6-9 pm.

Server, Brittany Pillar, said in a recent Facebook post, with the above pic,

“Mmmmm… Smells great!

Come by Thursday – Saturday from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. for dinner at Harbour Pointe Bar and Grille. Tonight, LIVE music by Boomerang 60’s, 70’s & 80’s music 6-9pm


Karaoke🎵🎤🎵 FRIDAY night 6-9pm with DJ Fox with this amazing special available Friday night too

Our special this week:
Stuffed Pork Chop – $20
Tomahawk pork chop stuffed with homemade bacon stuffing then baked to perfection. Topped with fried apples. Served with mashed potatoes and vegetables.

If you have a table with more than 8-10 people please give us a call to make a reservation 🙂

Dinner is also available for to-go, just give us a call at 252-638-5338 x4.”

Harbour Pointe Grille is open to the public, just inform the gate you are here to eat. Enjoy your visit, your meal and the music.

Keeping the Beats in The Bern on Friday

First Stop Big Sam and Co @ BrÜtopia

Ricky Carrillo, Josh Mineer, Sam Lewis give up the saucy grooves on Friday night at BrÜtopia

Our first story on Friday starts with Big Sam & Company live at BrÜtopia, 1201 Highway 70 East, New Bern, NC. Assisting Sam Lewis last Friday was Ricky Carrillo on acoustic guitar, and Josh Mineer offered the backbeats.

Sam Lewis is one of this areas busiest music makers. As it turns out, he educated himself to make music his life. The singing guitarist, obtained a degree in music therapy. I learned this when the band took a set break. Somehow, we got on the subject of Karaoke. I explained how I was not a fan. Lewis stood there and offered me a new perspective. He said, “Singing is a good way of letting life out, and not enough people do it!” I also think it’s smart for musicians to offer such a service.

Lewis offers karaoke most Thursdays at Tap That Craft Beer and Wine Store. Though he will not be there this week, he will return next week. He also runs the open mic night on Sundays at TTCB&WB. So if life is getting overwhelming and you need some encouragement in letting it out, stop by and see Lewis this Sunday or next Thursday and allow to coach and encourage you to bring life and it’s negativity up and out for a positive perspective.

For those in Lenoir County looking to take in the fun from the sidelines while the music coach works, you can catch Sam Lewis and Co. this Friday, January 23, 2021, from 6-9 pm at The Laughing Owl, 108 A W North St., Kinston, NC

Next Wednesday you can catch Lewis live in Jacksonville. He will be performing at Duck’s Grille & Bar, 1207 Gum Branch Road. This place is by far my favorite eating establishment around town. Be sure to enjoy their tasty cuisine, served with live music each Wednesday night.

Hot Dogs Get Your Hot Dogs!

Before leaving last Friday, I stopped by the Hot Dog cart.

Serving up the specialty hot dogs out in the parking lot at BrÜtopia was Jacob Olsen owner of Olson’s Craft Wieners! He offers all the toppings you crave. On the menu are beef dogs, as well as, brats and red dogs too.

OCW is available for catering, birthday parties and will serve at your event too. You find out more by reaching out to Olsen by email at OCWraleigh@gmail.com or give Olsen a call at 720-366-0349.

Nick & Dean ~ a Harmonious Friday Night Delight

Our second stop on Friday evening was Tap That Craft Beer & Wine Bar. That is where we caught up with Nick & Dean, a dynamic acoustic duo. Hailing from Kinston and featuring music men, Nicholas Jarman of Mason Jar Bonfire and Dean Daughtry who fronts Dean Daughtry & The Troublemakers.

The best feature of these combined talents when on stage together are the harmonies they offer. These long time friends and brothers in music, offer beautiful music to anyone within ear shot, with some of the sweetest harmonies on the scene today.

Nicholas Jarman is an active community member on the music scene in Kinston and around the region. He is also the guitarist and singer with the Kinston based band Mason Jar Bonfire.

Much the same can be said about his music brother, Dean Daughtry. He keeps busy with his band The Troublemakers. A solid five piece, offering popular rock and country hits.

NCMZ.LIVE FILE PHOTO: Dean Daughtry & The Troublemakers: Greg Howard, bass, Matthew Hart, guitar, Dean Daughtry, vocals, James Stroud drums, and Scott Carlisle, guitar

I would meet both of these cats at the same event years ago. It was a Lenoir County Veterans fundraiser in the summer of 2017 that was held at the Lenoir County Fairgrounds. On the bill was a weekend long list of local bands that offered their time and talents. That event would mark where I would be introduced to the music of Mason Jar Bonfire, Dean Daughtry & The Trouble Makers and The Wicked Shimmies. File photos from that event below.

Since meeting these brothers in music, their bands have known change over the years and suffered some tremendous losses along the way, as well. This is especially true of Mason Jar Bonfire, who lost their founding member, Charlie Smith, in 2019. It was Smith’s wish that the band continue. Now they are back up and ready to get rolling. They are a fun pop and country band that keep the crowd dancing. You can find the band at Ribeyes in Washington this Friday, 6-9 pm They are available to bring a show to your town too.

To keep up with the band you can find them on Facebook here:
Mason Jar Bonfire

To keep up with both of these sweet singers by finding them on Facebook.

Smokehouse Close Out a Smoking Set at Blackbeard’s Last Friday

It’s been well over a year since I ran into Smokehouse. In fact, I am willing to bet the last time I caught them they were rocking a benefit at the now closed Harley Davidson of New Bern.

Back then they were a four piece, and since have grown to that of a five and six piece outfit. Along with a new guitarist, there is the notable addition of female vocals, flute and keys. Rounding it out is the rhythms and beats of the bass and drums.

Smokehouse is the baby of bass playing sound tech, John Parker, aka JP. We would meet at a party for a purpose, known as Barn Bash, in September 2014. At that event, he was running sound for the acts performing for the first annual Promise Place fundraiser throughout the day. It was there that I would also start a friendship with Les Wetherington and meet the The Wannabees for the first time.

Most notably new to the band lineup since I last saw the band is the talented music maker and educator, Gina Gerard, who not only lends vocals to the effort but she plays wind instruments and the keyboards too.

To keep up with Smokehouse like and follow them on Facebook.

Speaking of a Party with a Purpose – Let’s Roll to the Crystal Coast

Signature guitar! Signed for Doug Dougherty by all the attendees at his fundraiser last Saturday at Rookie’s Bar and Grill

On Saturday afternoon my friends piled into the GMC as we headed to coast, bound for a cause.

Jen Newton, Jaymi Mitchell, Michael Teeter, Tracey Stones and photographer, Mary Shine.

Rookies Sports Bar & Grill hosted a day long fund raiser for a popular community member. The event was organized by bass player with a big heart, Roger Morton, who used his birthday, to gather with friends and fans, to make music and raise money for his long time friend Doug (Hector) Dougherty. He was recently diagnosed with throat cancer. The day before his benefit, he had completed five weeks of radiation treatments. Morton said, he has been doing well but can’t really talk right now. He was relieved that this part of the journey is now behind his friend.

Along with live music, the community came together to offer up lots of great prizes for a raffle, they hosted a Jeep show that afternoon plus there was a BMX bike performance, and lots of food for attendees. They cooked a pig, roasted oysters as they rocked this cause.

In the evening, they turned up the music and rocked this cause. In between the music offerings they pulled tickets and gave away many prizes.

Birthday boy on bass Roger Morton ~ Roger That!

Roger That took to the stage at 6 pm and Adam Hill joined the festivities about 7:15 and offered a solo set during the break. When the band returned Hill joined them on stage for a couple of songs.

Adam Hill rocking Rookies

Interesting side note, I got to thinking about Hill, during my interview this week with Mike Meeks. During our conversation, Meeks talked about becoming overwhelmed by the scene. This music business is a brain drain and soul seeper. It’s not easy being a talented creative and dealing with other peoples energy. Most are highly sensitive people, many are introverted souls which also allows them to be so creative! It’s their creativity that allows them their outlet in dealing with life.

The conversation I had with Meeks reminded me of Hill because he also withdrew from the scene before Covid. His focus today is more on work and family. Before anything he is the devoted father to his daughters Gracie and Abbi Hill, a step dad to two grown sons and the unmarried husband to his long time love, Tracey Turner. Hill runs is own roofing business and is a good man to call when you are in need of a handy man too.

I have been an Adam Hill fan since I met the guitarist in 2016 on a warm July night at Jeans in Havelock. He was the guitarist for Solid Ground and not long after we met he would form the Adam Hill Band! We would make great strides in getting his music out there; but again it takes a lot of time, commitment and money to set your band up like a business; which often leads to taking the fun out of it for many artists.

NcMZ.LIVE FILE PHOTOE: Adam Hill Band live at NC Seafood Festival circa 2017

Much like most lifers, Hill still makes his rounds on the circuit, mostly filling in for bands in need of guitarists and his own solo performances.

During the benefit I would buy four raffle tickets, and win one prize. I actually won a dog care basket and asked to trade it in on the pink Trump Hat! The owner of the bar agreed. After we met, Sonya also gifted me a Trump shirt too! Thanks! I don’t care if they tell me he lost, he is a winner to me!

Before leaving the scene I got to talking with the owner of the establishment. Sonya Williamson has a familiar story. The Hubert resident lost her home in Florence. Unlike most however, she walked away from the devastation and destruction and invested in two bars. She owns Rookie’s Bar and Grill, 1187 Highway 58, Cape Carteret, NC (252) 424-8221 and The Office, 810 Queens Creek Rd, Hubert, NC, (910) 325-8222.

The next event that Williamson is hosting is Black and White Prom on the 30th of January. This date night event includes live music. The Swansboro based HeartStop Band will perform. Tickets are $60 and include dinner and pictures from the night with your prom date. Call Rookies to reserve your tickets.

Music Options for the Days Ahead

Each week I spend time searching for live music events on Facebook. Here is what my search turned up this week, in the hopes of keeping you entertained. 

Getting Down Around Town~ New Bern, NC

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Harbor Point Grille at Fairfield Harbour, 1105 Barkintine Drive
New Bern, NC will be serving the sounds of Mike Flynn & Tom Caruso of BOOMERANG. They will perform the hits of the 60s & 70s from 6-9 pm. Come dance 💃🏻!


Tonight you can boogie down with the fun and phenomenal Plus Dueling Pianos at Tap That Craft Beer and Wine Bar, 901 Pollock St., New Bern, NC. Admission is $20 and you can buy tickets here: TICKETS.


Big Jim & Kathy Kohler share music with our community each week.

Big Jim & Mrs Big Jim are live at Prohibition Drinks & Desserts, 243 Craven St., New Bern, NC. They offer their blues from 6-9 pm.



Brian Burke will offer the sounds from his soul on Friday at BrÜtopia, 1201 Highway 70 E, New Bern, NC. Tunes will be shared from 6-9 pm.


Bryan Mayer will be on stage at Tap That Craft Beer and Wine Bar, 901 Pollock St, New Bern, NC. Music plays from 6:30 – 9:30 pm.


Ravenz Bru will perform this Friday on the deck at Blackbeard’s Triple Play, 415S Front St., New Bern. They will offer your favorite beach, pop and popular rock songs from 5:30-9:30 pm.



The BiPolar Express

The BiPolar Express will be rocking the deck on Saturday behind Blackbeard’s Triple Play, 415s Front St., New Bern, NC. This fun party band plays all the popular hits and loves interacting with the crowd. Music starts at 5:30 pm.


Chris Overstreet will provide the grooves on stage at Tap That Craft Beer and Wine Bar, 901 Pollock St., New Bern. Music stars at 6:30 pm


Brian Burke concludes his weekend James City tour at The Garage, 1209 Highway 70, New Bern, NC, this Saturday, pouring the sounds from 6-9 pm.


Sunday, January 24, 2021

Tap That Craft Beer and Wine Bar offers an open stage to players, poets, singers and more each Sunday from 6-9 pm. Hosted by Sam Lewis, this open mic is open to all levels and all are welcome to join in the fun.

Rocking Around the Region

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Stephanie Lynn will provide the music tonight at Tavern on the Green at Eagle Ridge, 565 Competition Rd., Raleigh, NC. Music is served from 7-9:30 pm.


It’s Date Night on Evans St in Greenville tonight. Live music will be offered by the talented Rob Legere. For those interested in the full date experience it is $25 per person and includes a fine meal and music. To reserve a spot call ahead.


There is an open mic tonight hosted by Larry and The Bean at the Fainting Goat Brewing Company. Music starts at 6:30


Friday, January 22, 2021

Phil McLean will provide the dinner sounds at Parley’s Sip & Steam, 132 E Water St., Washington, NC. Music will be offered 6-9 pm.


Justin West will provide the music this Friday at AJ McMurphy’s, 1914 Turnbury Dr., Greenville. Music is offered 6-9 pm. Come hungry, and fill up while enjoying some country sounds.


Tomorrow at Moe & D’s Restaurant it’s is R&B Fridays and that means, Live Karaoke, Only R&B Music!
$3 Drink Special, Mask Required, Happy Hour


Saturday, January 23, 2021

Tom Edwards returns to Snowbird Mountains Brewery music is offered 4-7 pm.


Joe Cousin will preform live at Tippet’s Mill this Saturday from 6-9 pm


Sunday, January, 24, 2021

William Seymour serves up the sounds this Sunday on the Waterfront in downtown Washington. Stop by Parley’s Sip & Steam for lunch. Seymour offers music from 12-3 pm on the patio. Come and enjoy the breeze, the view, the music and the good eats.

Cruising the Coast

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Blues man, Randy McQuay will perform live tonight at Edward Teach. Live music served from 6-9 pm.


Friday, January 22, 2021

Justin Castellano will play the music, Dank Burrito will serve the food and Bogue Sound Distillery will offer the spirits. all of this tomorrow from 6-9 pm.


Ryan Cain will serve the sounds at Stoked Restaurant in Carolina Beach tomorrow starting at 6:30 pm. Come enjoy country music and good cooking!


Live music is offered 5:30-9 pm at PT’s Grille at Magnolia Greens. Check their page for more info.


There is live music outside every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at Boro Restaurant in Swansboro. Tomorrow you can groove with Mykel Barbee from 6-9 pm.


Saturday, January 23, 2021

Saturday morning it’s Bluegrass School Instructor Band offering the show at Cameron Art Museum in Wilmington. Music starts at 11:30 am.


Rick’s Restaurant & Sports Bar in Sneads Ferry will host RV Road Show this Saturday from 6-9 pm.


The Smoky Dunes perform live at The Sour Bar. Music is offered from 7-9:30 pm.


Roots Duo provide the dinner grooves this Saturday evening at Stoked Restaurant. Come eat and groove from 6:30-9:30 pm


Boro Restaurant will host the Webb Brothers for your dining entertainment this Saturday evening. Music is served 6-9 pm


Sunday, January 24, 2021

It’s the music of Yeavonne Cox this Sunday morning in Wilmington. She will perform at Cameron Art Museum. Music plays 11:30 am- 2:30 pm

Thanks for Reading!

All content written and published by Tracey Stones

I roam the scene far and wide and bring it all together for you here, in the simple hopes of connecting people to the local music near them!

Tracey Stones caught working. Photo credit: Susan Baugham

If you enjoy this blog, support it by sharing it with friends! Donations are always welcome and appreciated! Thank you for your love and support ~ Tracey Stones.


Make a one-time donation

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount


Or enter a custom amount


Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly

Leave a Reply