Heading west on Highway 76, the last of the warm sunshine falls behind the silent Blue Ridge Mountains. With the small town of Clayton, Georgia in the rearview mirror, your eyes aim ahead intently. At the last second, you see Persimmon Road on your right. Not enough time to place your blinker on, but just enough of a moment to tap your brakes and yank the wheel down the road, which shoots out for miles into the backwoods of Southern Appalachia.
There are singers, there are performers, and then there’s Laura Reed.
Wandering the numerous floors and stages of New Mountain Asheville (a wild, freewheelin’ venue) last February, I eventually found myself downstairs in the main room, immersed in a sea of joyous faces, all eager to boogie down to legendary New Orleans funk-n-soul group Dumpstaphunk (featuring Ivan Neville).
The alarm went off on my phone. Monday morning. 6:45 a.m.
It is quite the conundrum, ain’t it?
In an era where mainstream radio hits are shellacked in “sugar and spice and everything nice,” there is an underbelly of sorrow, redemption and flawed beauty (the only true kind of beauty) that is slowly emerging from the depths.
With each impending New Year, we tend to take a look back and reflect on just what made the last 365 days unique to the folks of Western North Carolina. Just when you think you couldn’t top the past and its special moments, another year of unknown beauty and milestones is revealed.
And for 2015, it was another banner year in the world of arts and entertainment. From brewery expansions to national music awards, and everything in between, we all once again either witnessed or participated in the glorious essence of Southern Appalachia — a region as magical and mesmerizing as the people who inhabit it.
Cheers to 2015. Onward and upward in 2016.
Twenty-seven years is a long time for anything.
“It amazing to me that it’s still going on,” Warren Haynes said. “It’s getting bigger and better every year, and I don’t think we would have predicted that when we started it years ago.”
SEE ALSO: Haywood Habitat looks to 2016
Catch him if you can. For the better part of the last 25 years, Scott Weiland has been a moving target within the music industry. Lightning struck twice for the singer, as a front man for both Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver, two of the most successful rock acts in the modern era. And yet, with success, comes a price.
“David Holt’s State of Music — Live” will take to the stage from 3 to 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 22, in the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center at Western Carolina University.
Acts scheduled to join Holt, an icon of traditional music and storytelling, are international sensation Rhiannon Giddens of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, award-winning bluegrass favorites Balsam Range, emerging ballad singer Josh Goforth, and the African-American gospel duo of Wilbur Tharpe and Lena Mae Perry, performing as The Branchettes.
“Some may never live, but the crazy never die.” It’s a quote by Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, a writer whose influence on my life and ultimate career path can never be understated.
I got it. Growing up outside of Burlington, Vermont, I came out of the womb with a Phish album in-hand. Founded in The Queen City, the jam act was the soundtrack we blasted in our cars and the melodies we danced to frantically at shows — the group we pledged our allegiance to.