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art theplaceThey call him the “Tao of Bluegrass.”

It was exactly eight years this month when I first met Peter Rowan. I was 21 and on my first feature assignment as a wet-behind-the-ears journalist still in college. The Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, Massachusetts was our rendezvous point. I sat in that old basement green room, Rowan laid out across a musty couch, as we talked about the magic of music and performance. 

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art masonDave Mason has seen it all.

As co-founder/guitarist for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame group Traffic, Mason, alongside band mate Steve Winwood, found himself at the forefront of the music industry in the 1960s. With iconic hits like “Dear Mr. Fantasy” and “Feelin’ Alright,” the ensemble was a vital sound amid the era’s spirit of political turmoil and societal freedoms.

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art theplaceIt never ceases to amaze me the incredible people, places and things I cross paths with here in Western North Carolina. From craft artisans to world-class musicians, stealthy moonshiners to stoic veterans, backwoods folks and cosmopolitan socialites — they’re all here in Southern Appalachia.

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art theplaceIt’s not only a time capsule, but also a window into the future.

With guitars in-hand, The DuPont Brothers are two men, two voices that become a singular melodic force. The Vermont-based siblings are quite possibly the finest acoustic duo out there today, nationally or internationally. Their mesmerizing sound and pure intent perpetuates a long line of powerhouse harmonic acts, bringing names like Simon & Garfunkel and Seals & Crofts to mind. 

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art theplaceI’m alone, again.

As of last Tuesday, I am newly single. To be honest, I’m not happy about that fact. Not one bit. This was the relationship where I felt she was the “one,” a person I truly could see myself marrying and having a family with. That notion — a wife and kids — has been the furthest things from my mind for years.

art frIf Norman Rockwell were alive today, he might have painted a record store.

It’s as American and iconic as children playing outside until the streetlights came on or a young couple sharing a milkshake at a soda fountain. The record store is a place of congregation, of discovery, and of communicating the universal language — music.

travel strandIt never ceases to amaze Lorraine Conard.

“It’s a little bit magical,” she said. “You walk in and there’s this energy and excitement, a heartbeat within the community — I’m always so grateful and thankful for the people who come in.”

travel porch40Who the heck are those guys?

It’s a question constantly asked about Porch 40, a Sylva-based funk/rock outfit barreling out of the Southern Appalachian woods like a black bear on speed.

travel sipeMonday is the new Saturday. 

Heading down Frazier Street in Waynesville to BearWaters Brewing Company, one can barely find a place to park on a typical Monday evening. For the last couple of months, the location has played host to a semi-weekly open mic event called the “Spontaneous CombustJam.” Bringing together local talents and acclaimed regional players, the sessions have gained a buzz around Western North Carolina in just a short time. 

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art theplaceHis voice will stop you in your tracks.

Russ Wilson is a bridge to an era, a time when style and class were synonymous with musicianship and showmanship.

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