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This must be the place

art theplace“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’ve been called crazy many-a-time by those who just don’t get why someone would pour all their energy into one of the least affluent and haphazard professions known to humanity. What’s the allure of a hectic nonstop rollercoaster of a schedule, let alone the sheer madness of not knowing what tomorrow might have in store for you? 

You see, people who pursue the unknown — whether it be writing or music or whatever strikes fire in your belly — chase after their passions because it calls to something so intimate and primal within our souls. It is an internal desire than cannot be simply explained. Rather it’s defined by the way my fingertips glide across the keyboard or how a guitarist flutters like a bird up and down the fret board. It’s connecting into something above and beyond your own consciousness, where you’ll do whatever it takes to not only keep doing what you’re doing, but also peel away the layers of your own being until all truth and purpose is revealed.

And when I began my literary journey some years ago in the solitude of Upstate New York, I found myself stepping up to the starting line next to my hometown band, Lucid. A wildly creative force of melodic energy, the sextet has spent over a decade crisscrossing the northeast, peddling a brand of backwoods kitchen sink rock-n-roll that infuses funk, jazz, blues, reggae and hip-hop. 

Lucid was a bunch of young college kids back then, a band of brothers that have transitioned into a seasoned group of promise — musical pirates on the high seas of chance and opportunity, whose home is the open road, their bounty the next stage to overtake. They are a unique talent, onstage and in the studio, where their mesmerizing sound creates community, a power to connect and heal that resides solely in the confines of rhythm and dance.

Smoky Mountain News: Now that you are on the backside of the whole Lucid “10 years” celebration, what have you taken away from that milestone?

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Lowell Wurster (percussion/vocals): The biggest thing I take away from it is that we are still a band. Most bands break up well before a 10-year mark, and here we are at 12. It has been a humbling experience to talk to many of our fans and hear what our music has done for them, and how it affects their lives. It can even be hard for me to understand when some folks talk to me about it, in how music can mean so much to someone. 

SMN: This will be your third swing through of the Southeast, which has been an experiment in testing the Lucid product outside of your northeast markets. How have the results in these southern tours compared to expectations heading into these endeavors? 

LW: The results have been just as we expected. If we get put in front of people, they like us and we have made new fans, next time they come back and bring more people. There are some shows that have less people than others, but we still jam it out and have a good time, and people notice and respect that. For the most part, if people give us a fair listen, they like our music and want more.

SMN: It seems the band has always harbored this “in it to win it” mentality, where it is not this weekend warrior kind of thing. Was there a specific moment where you had an epiphany that you are doing what you’re supposed to be doing, that your actions and intent are justified, the path is true that you’re on?

LW: Honestly, it has been a hard road, and continues to be so on certain days. Some days, it seems justified and on others it seems hard, really hard. All I know is that I’m here to play music. It’s what I want to do and it’s what I will continue to do until the day I die. I think I can speak for the rest of the band in saying they feel the same way. All of us are good at what we do, want to get even better and continue playing music for people, and for ourselves. 

Editor’s Note: Lucid will perform at 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 13, at Frog Level Brewing in Waynesville. The show is free and open to the public. 


Hot picks

1 Frog Level Brewing (Waynesville) will have Lucid (rock/funk) at 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 13. 

2 The 11th Western North Carolina Pottery Festival will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 7, in downtown Dillsboro.

3 Balsam Mountain Inn will have Marshall Chapman, Tommy Womack and Will Kimbrough as part of their Songwriters in the Round series at 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 14.

4 The Lake Junaluska Peace Conference will be held Nov. 12-15, with a performance by Yuval Ron on Nov. 14.

5 Tuck’s Tap & Grill (Cullowhee) will have Heidi Holton (blues/folk) 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 6.

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