This must be the place: ‘I been a workin’ man dang near all my life…’

“I think not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing. As opposed to those that are just…
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This must be the place: Pass the gravy, and the memories

It was right around the second beer when I began to settle in. The warm sunshine and lingering foliage of…
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This must be the place: ‘Two all-beef patties, special sauce…’

That slow walk from the car. When I was 16 years old, I entered the American workforce. I was the…
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Sense of wonder: Freeway Revival releases new album, looks ahead

They stick out. In a city like Asheville and in a region like Western North Carolina, world-renowned for bluegrass and…
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This must be the place: ‘Gonna see my picture on the cover, gonna buy five copies for my mother…’

It’s the carrot. For the better part of the last 12 years, Rolling Stone magazine has been a carrot dangling…
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Only here for your love: Futurebirds to rock Highlands Food & Wine Fest

It’s about finding a balance between your creative soul and your sanity. “When you feel you’re doing what you’re supposed…
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This must be the place: ‘And it feels like heaven’s so far away’

Taken too soon. It’s the three words one person — let alone one family or one community — never wants…
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Brewing success: Two WNC craft breweries win national medals

With sunshine spilling into the taproom of Currahee Brewing Company in Franklin one recent afternoon, brewmaster Taylor Yates is all…
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This must be the place: ‘Take me out to the ball game…’

My first love. Baseball. The quintessential American pastime. The thing of which childhood dreams are made. The playing grounds of…
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This must be the place: ‘It’s times like these you learn to live again’

It was right around the third song or so that the goosebumps kept appearing. Up and down my arms, the…
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Growing up in freedom: Gladys Knight performance to benefit proposed Canton community center

Just outside of a small Western North Carolina community known as “Papertown USA” sits a dilapidated 84-year old brick schoolhouse…
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This must be the place: ‘They won’t know what route I’m going…’

For a moment, I thought the dog was going to charge me. Running along the quiet back country of Southwest…
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What should I say? Greensky Bluegrass returns to WNC

Why not? Why not include Greensky Bluegrass in the sacred — sometimes stale and stuffy — pantheon that is bluegrass…
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This must be the place: ‘What a way to ride, oh what a way to go’

Three pickup trucks. One stretch of highway. Since 2005, I’ve routinely traversed a never-ending stretch of Interstate 81 from north-central…
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Time of the season: WNC falls into October
 

Time of the season: WNC falls into October

Amid the innumerable reasons we love Western North Carolina, the fall foliage of October might be the common denominator that…
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This must be the place: ‘You never slow down, you never grow old’

Tom Petty. I can’t remember a time without him and his band’s music in my life. It’s always been there,…
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This must be the place: ‘Where do you think you’re goin’?’

It’s the internal struggle. Do you participate in life and soak it in like a sponge being dropped into a…
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The fog of war: Vietnam vet reflects on service, new documentary

You could see it in his eyes. Sitting across from James “Jim” Joyce in his office in downtown Waynesville, his…
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WCU’s Mountain Heritage Day returns

Western Carolina University’s Mountain Heritage Day, a free family oriented festival that celebrates Southern Appalachian culture through concerts, living-history demonstrations,…
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This must be the place: ‘Remember me if I forget…’

He suggested two. I bought three. Standing in the small main office of the Woodsmoke Campground in Unicoi, Tennessee, I…
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Carden in the rye: WNC storyteller bridges past, present

There is no middle ground. With Jackson County storyteller/playwright Gary Carden, you either love the guy or you tolerate him,…
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Disconnected from a connected world

Ugh. The moment my girlfriend handed over my soaking wet smart phone, a shiver of isolation ran up my spine.…
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This must be the place: Feeling lucky? Cast the first stone

I ain’t perfect. And the older I get, the more I realize just how true that statement is. Along with…
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Take it or leave it: Foghat to headline Cherokee Blue Ridge Run

It’s the intersection of American blues and British rock. When you throw some Foghat onto the stereo, you’re entering a…
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The music of the heart: 48th annual Smoky Mountain Folk Festival

It gets to the point without distraction. Folk music — the intersection of the human heart and the greater world…
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This must be the place: ‘North Country Ice Storm of ‘98’

I can still feel the cold air, the sense of hopelessness. Watching the clips of the massive rainfall and flooding…
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Play by your own rules

An iconic mandolin and fiddle player, Sam Bush has rewritten the game of bluegrass, especially when it comes to live…
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This must be the place: ‘Tired, but wiser for the time’

The trifecta. By this past Monday morning, I was running on fumes heading back to my humble abode in downtown…
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WNC welcomes ‘The Great American Solar Eclipse’

At 2:35 p.m. on Aug. 21, Western North Carolina residents and visitors will have the chance to watch as the…
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No way to stop the flow: A conversation with Tim O’Brien

In the annals of bluegrass history, the chapter on multi-instrumentalist Tim O’Brien is not only long and bountiful, it’s also…
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This must be the place: ‘Catch my soul, catch the very light ... ’

It does mean something. Sitting in the darkness of the Grail Moviehouse last Thursday, this overwhelming feeling of deep sadness…
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Finding a balance: Tipping Point Brewing closes, new location set for Brevard

It’s 12:15 p.m. Sunday. On a normal weekend, Tipping Point Brewing in downtown Waynesville would have been open for 45…
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This must be the place: ‘We will get by, we will survive’

Happy birthday, Captain Trips. On this day (Aug. 1) some 75 years ago, Jerome Garcia was born in San Francisco.…
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Field of Dreams: If you build it, they will come

By Kurt J. Volker • Contributing Writer In a sense, Warren and Phil Drake and Warren’s wife Ronda have created their…
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This must be the place: ‘Holding too tightly, afraid to lose control’

This one? This one hurt. When I heard Thursday afternoon about the tragic suicide of Chester Bennington, lead singer for…
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This must be the place: ‘Everywhere I turn, here we are…’

I was about an hour late. Rolling up to the Swain County Business Education & Training Center in Bryson City…
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Above the distraction: The Swag celebrates old traditions, welcomes new era

Heading up Hemphill Road, just outside of Maggie Valley, the lush fields and bungalow homes of Jonathan Creek fade into…
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This must be the place: ‘Would you like to know a secret, just between you and me?’

Those who forget history, tend to... Well, you know the rest. Nowadays, it seems each morning we awaken into another…
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‘Galaxy of Stars’ now ‘WCU PRESENTS’

The “WCU PRESENTS” performance series, previously known as “Galaxy of Stars” brings professional artists from around the world to the…
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This must be the place: The year is half-over, my cup half-full

I remembered those places, and those faces. Scrolling through Facebook — through the “fun in the sun” Fourth of July…
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The next chapter: Blue Ridge Books celebrates 10 years

Sitting at a booth in the back of her store on recent morning, Allison Lee remembers the days long ago…
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A Lake J Fourth family tradition

It’s not noteworthy to hear someone ‘round these parts say, “This will be the fourth generation of my family participating…
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This must be the place: Ode to Lloyd, ode to the faces

It’s the hardest part of this gig. As a journalist for just about a decade, I’ve been lucky enough to…
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Pints in Papertown: BearWaters Brewing reopens in Canton

It was weird. Driving around downtown Canton this past weekend, it was weird to have a hard time finding a…
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This must be the place: ‘Look in the mirror, who do you see?’

I look forward to it these days. Calling my dad at the end of the day. With my parents still…
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Cataloochee Ranch welcomes Chatham County Line

If you want to understand the history of bluegrass music, you need to look at its entire spectrum — of…
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‘Purrfect’ harmony: The American Museum of The House Cat

It took over 30 years, but Harold Sims can now show the world. “It’s been very rewarding,” he said. “I…
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This must be the place: You say ‘covfefe,’ I say ‘who cares?’

I’m exhausted. I think y’all out there reading this can attest to the pure exhaustion — of body, mind and…
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Light on my feet, ready to fly: Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver roll into Cherokee

To say Doyle Lawson has had a full career would be an understatement. Nowadays, Lawson is regarded as a pillar…
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