This must be the place

art theplaceThey say all great art comes from conflict. It’s conflict of the soul, the heart and the mind, everything that either nurtures or tortures us. And for the Drive-By Truckers, conflict is what fuels their intent. 

This must be the place

art theplace364 days down, one to go.

Hurtling down Interstate 95 from Boston to New York City, I’m sitting on a charter bus with my eyes aimed once again at New Year’s Eve in The Big Apple. It’s become a tradition of mine with my two best friends from college, both of who live and work in the city. 

This must be the place

art theplaceThe stewardess handed me a cold Heineken. 

The skyline of Boston in the distance, the beauty of a city I hold so damn close to my heart. It’s horrifically beautiful watching all of the cars, people and lights down there. Those endless streets of traffic, countless homes and businesses. Where are all these people going? What are they saying in those sand grains of vehicles seen from high above? What are they listening to? Are they happy? Why so quiet? It freaks me out seeing all of that. All of that humanity. I find it mesmerizing, but overwhelming, awe-inspiring, yet gluttonous.

2014: Arts & Entertainment in Review

art frAnother one is in the books. 

With each passing year, I find myself digging ever deeper into what it truly means to reside and thrive in Western North Carolina. Week in and week out, I cross paths with innumerable people, places and things that capture my attention and mesmerize my imagination.

This must be the place

art theplaceIn a beloved mountain town already filled with great restaurants, cafes, breweries and independent businesses, Sylva recently became home to two new downtown locations — The Winged Lion and Tonic Delivers. The Smoky Mountain News tracked down the owners of both of these establishments just to see exactly what they’re all about:

Maggie Valley venue enters second act

art frWith one flick of a light switch, Grier Lackey is illuminating a dream.

“What do you think?” he said with a smile.

Standing inside Eaglenest, an 800-seat theatre in Maggie Valley, Lackey scans the enormous room, pointing out design details and other amenities offered on the premises. Closed since 2011, the state-of-the-art facility will once again open its doors to the entertainment possibilities of Western North Carolina. 

This must be the place

art theplaceI’ve always felt the greatest gift is the gift of music.

Though I’ve never been a huge fan of receiving presents (I’d rather spend quality time with a loved one, save your money), the gifts that meant the most to me where melodic. It was a dear friend giving me a mix CD of the “Best Road Trip Songs,” my uncle handing me a copy of The Who’s “Who’s Next” or my mother buying me a ticket for my 18th birthday to see The Rolling Stones on their “Forty Licks” tour.

This must be the place

art theplaceIt snuck up on me this year.

I know that it resides at the end of November. I know it’s filled with food, friends and family. But, I wasn’t really paying attention to the calendar until the day before the “feast” when it struck me. 

This must be the place

art theplacePatterson Hood is a sponge.

The defacto front man for the Drive-By Truckers, a bastion of nitty-gritty rock-n-roll, Hood soaks in the essence of the world around him. He sees the good, the bad, the ugly, and filters it through a prism of blood, sweat and tears. It’s a creative lens of performance and songwriting that conjures comparisons to the likes of The Rolling Stones, The Band, MC5 and Big Star.

This must be the place

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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