In search of the perfect word
 

In search of the perfect word

The beauty of literature is its solely unique power of transportation. That beauty lies in the meticulous arrangement of words, phrases…
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This must be the place
 

This must be the place

Dave Mason has seen it all. As co-founder/guitarist for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame group Traffic, Mason, alongside band…
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This must be the place
 

This must be the place

It never ceases to amaze me the incredible people, places and things I cross paths with here in Western North…
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Reach for the Skyway
 

Reach for the Skyway

They say the easiest way to hide something is to place it right in front of someone. Well, what would…
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This must be the place
 

This must be the place

It’s not only a time capsule, but also a window into the future. With guitars in-hand, The DuPont Brothers are…
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Carolina chills
 

Carolina chills

As the leaves change and the air becomes crisp, the mountains of Western North Carolina transform into a landscape of…
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This must be the place
 

This must be the place

I’m alone, again. As of last Tuesday, I am newly single. To be honest, I’m not happy about that fact.…
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Just let the music play
 

Just let the music play

If Norman Rockwell were alive today, he might have painted a record store. It’s as American and iconic as children…
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This must be the place
 

This must be the place

His voice will stop you in your tracks. Russ Wilson is a bridge to an era, a time when style…
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Hometown heroes: Balsam Range wins big in Raleigh
 

Hometown heroes: Balsam Range wins big in Raleigh

Caleb Smith had no idea. “I didn’t hear them announce it,” he chuckled. “I was backstage talking to Del McCoury…
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This must be the place
 

This must be the place

Claire Lynch likes to blur lines. Born and raised in Upstate New York, she eventually moved away, crossing the Mason-Dixon…
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The heartbeat of a community
 

The heartbeat of a community

It never ceases to amaze Lorraine Conard. “It’s a little bit magical,” she said. “You walk in and there’s this…
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Tapping into Macon County
 

Tapping into Macon County

Dale Heinlein never thought he’d set down roots in his hometown of Highlands. “Living in Atlanta, in suburbia, with the…
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This must be the place
 

This must be the place

I did it again. It’s 9 a.m. last Saturday at the starting line of the Cashiers Trail Mix five-mile backwoods…
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Crossing the musical bridge of Appalachia
 

Crossing the musical bridge of Appalachia

For the better part of the last 45 years, David Holt has ventured down a rabbit hole. Born in Texas,…
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This must be the place
 

This must be the place

How do you do it? I get asked this question quite often. Folks, whether friends, family or strangers, approach me and…
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Never giving up Hope
 

Never giving up Hope

Tracy O’Neil has a lot less weight on his shoulders these days. “We never accepted that we could lose the…
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This must be the place
 

This must be the place

They were stuck. Sitting around the bar at No Name Sports Pub in Sylva, the members of rockabilly band Rumble Seat…
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Crafting the future —  Dillsboro at 125
 

Crafting the future — Dillsboro at 125

Joe Frank McKee knows what Dillsboro is capable of. “It’s a fighting town,” he said. “There are more craftsmen involved…
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Play me that mountain music: Carroll Best and The White Oak String Band
 

Play me that mountain music: Carroll Best and The White Oak String Band

French Kirkpatrick can sum up Carroll Best. “What he did with the banjo was above and beyond,” Kirkpatrick said. “He was…
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This must be the place
 

This must be the place

What to do? That was the question I posed to myself when I found out my girlfriend was visiting from…
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The trick to achieving your dreams
 

The trick to achieving your dreams

When he was just five years old, Michael Turco knew what he wanted to do with his life “All I…
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This must be the place
 

This must be the place

This sucks.  One of the finest actors, comedians and pop culture icons of our lifetime, Robin Williams, gone, just like…
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This must be the place
 

This must be the place

He was beloved by all who knew him. Richard Coker embodied the spirit of Appalachia. As a co-owner of the Cataloochee…
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So funky you can smell it
 

So funky you can smell it

Who the hell are those guys? It’s a question constantly asked about Porch 40, a Sylva-based funk/rock outfit barreling out…
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This must be the place
 

This must be the place

For all the naysayers, rock-n-roll is alive and kicking — especially in the hands of Rich Robinson. Guitarist and founding…
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Boiling down the essence of humanity
 

Boiling down the essence of humanity

Heading west out of Bryson City, just before the highway narrows into a twisting two-lane road, a small, ramshackle hut…
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This must be the place
 

This must be the place

When the camera bulb flashed, it hit me — had it really been that long? Standing in the Belhurst Castle,…
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Bryson brewer named ABA president, hits the road
 

Bryson brewer named ABA president, hits the road

In the last two weeks, Joe Rowland has soaked in the California sunshine, rafted the Grand Canyon, wandered the Rocky…
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This must be the place
 

This must be the place

There’s no place like home. Amid my first few weeks living in Western North Carolina, there were times I got homesick.…
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Roddick, Courier to play charity match in Cashiers
 

Roddick, Courier to play charity match in Cashiers

The 2nd annual United Community Bank Mountain Challenge featuring American tennis legends Andy Roddick and Jim Courier will be held…
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This must be the place
 

This must be the place

I am the human sponge. As far back as I can remember, into the early days of my youth, I…
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The King is dead, long live the King: Elvis impersonators set record in Cherokee
 

The King is dead, long live the King: Elvis impersonators set record in Cherokee

Hundreds of Elvis Presley fans converged on Cherokee last weekend to pay homage to the King. They arrived from a…
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Future for Macon gallery uncertain, help sought
 

Future for Macon gallery uncertain, help sought

All is not well at the Uptown Gallery in Franklin. “It’s pretty bad,” said Sue Weathers. “We’re losing money, and…
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This must be the place
 

This must be the place

It’s the soundtrack of my life. Growing up in the Champlain Valley (Upstate New York/Vermont), the music of my native…
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An Appalachian Fourth
 

An Appalachian Fourth

Nothing says summer more than the Fourth of July, and in Western North Carolina, we celebrate Independence Day with gusto.…
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This must be the place
 

This must be the place

Screw it all. There have been days, many days, where I’ve found myself sitting in traffic, standing in line, waiting…
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All for one, one for all: Behind the curtain of Balsam Range
 

All for one, one for all: Behind the curtain of Balsam Range

Marc Pruett has won a Grammy and played the Grand Ole Opry stage, but his biggest concern on this day…
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This must be the place
 

This must be the place

It’s a sound that immediately turns your head. Sitting at a table within the 5 Walnut Wine Bar in downtown…
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New state tax hits entertainment venues
 

New state tax hits entertainment venues

When the clock struck midnight this past New Year’s Eve, a new North Carolina state tax took effect. “This isn’t…
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This must be the place
 

This must be the place

Time sure does fly, eh? It hit me this week that my column recently crossed over the one-year anniversary threshold. How…
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This must be the place
 

This must be the place

Waylon Jennings is alive. Figuratively. Not literally, folks. Strolling down Haywood Road in West Asheville one evening last summer, I…
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Tell it from the mountain
 

Tell it from the mountain

It all started with a drum solo. “My mother was of the big band generation, and she’d watch all of…
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Preserving tradition and culture through sport
 

Preserving tradition and culture through sport

With each throw, Scott Medlin is connecting to his ancestors. “The Scottish Highland Games need to be preserved because most…
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This must be the place
 

This must be the place

“Let’s go back to the 1930s,” said Judy Coker. Standing underneath a large manmade birch tent in the backwoods of…
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Passing on the song of Appalachia: JAM teaches music, tradition and a sense of place
 

Passing on the song of Appalachia: JAM teaches music, tradition and a sense of place

At the front of the room, banjos and fiddles plow through an Appalachian repertoire. Fingers dance across strings, conjuring the…
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This must be the place
 

This must be the place

It’s 8:36 a.m. on a Thursday and I’m in Detroit. Thee Irish Pub at the metro airport to be exact.…
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This must be the place
 

This must be the place

He was completely shocked. Standing in front of an empty warehouse in Dillsboro, which will soon be the site of his…
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In search of the sound: WNC summer concert series
 

In search of the sound: WNC summer concert series

From welcoming backwoods front porches to raucous downtown stages, the music of Western North Carolina weaves together the rich history,…
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This must be the place
 

This must be the place

Short shorts and a neon orange trucker hat. Strolling down Main Street in downtown Waynesville, I found myself adorned with…
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