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art theplaceWaylon Jennings is alive.

Figuratively. Not literally, folks. Strolling down Haywood Road in West Asheville one evening last summer, I came across the Double Crown, a dive bar of the most enjoyable proportions. And I love dive bars, places where I feel as welcomed as the beer is cold. 

This must be the place

art theplace“Let’s go back to the 1930s,” said Judy Coker.

Standing underneath a large manmade birch tent in the backwoods of the Cataloochee Ranch last Friday evening, Coker welcomed around 40 people — friends, family and visitors alike — to partake in their inaugural Way Back When dinner.

The WNC summer concert series

From welcoming, backwoods front porches to raucous downtown stages, the music of Western North Carolina weaves together the rich history, passion and camaraderie of Southern Appalachia and its inhabitants. At the heart of this deep love and appreciation for music are the communities that proudly display their heritage by offering weekly performances for residents and visitors alike. 

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art theplaceIt’s 8:36 a.m. on a Thursday and I’m in Detroit.

Thee Irish Pub at the metro airport to be exact. Besides the usual fast food options I detest, it was the only other place open in Concourse B. And a nice local red ale sounds about right for this moment, especially since this is the beginning of my “vacation.”

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art theplaceHe was completely shocked. Standing in front of an empty warehouse in Dillsboro, which will soon be the site of his new brewery, Dieter Kuhn couldn’t believe almost 500 people had shown up at the recent launch party of his new facility. 

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art theplaceShort shorts and a neon orange trucker hat.

Strolling down Main Street in downtown Waynesville, I found myself adorned with those exact pieces of clothing. You see, I was headed to Tipping Point Brewing, and that evening I was going to enter the Cinco de Beardo contest put on by the Dixie Beard & Moustache Society.

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art theplace“Hey, Garret, what’s up, man?” I looked up from my notebook and there standing in front of me was a familiar face. Tony Casey, from the North Country. It was last Saturday evening and I was sitting at a picnic table at White Duck Taco in the River Arts District of Asheville. And there we were, two boys from the Champlain Valley of Upstate New York, crossing paths over a thousand miles from our hometowns.

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art theplaceWhat does a washboard, a bucket and a beard have in common?

They make up the melodic magic that is The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band. A three-piece country-blues outfit barreling out of southern Indiana, the group has one foot firmly planted in the rich history of early American music, the other stepping into a future where these sights and sounds are needed now more than ever. 

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art theplaceMary Harper was quite possibly the first real friend I made when I moved to Western North Carolina.

With my apartment a few blocks away from the Water’n Hole Bar & Grill in Waynesville, I ventured down there at night trying to see what was up in this town, trying to make some friends, and trying not to feel alone and isolated in a new place where I was unknown to all who surrounded me. Harper, with her million-dollar smile and swagger, immediately made me feel at home. 

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art theplaceMonday 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 weekly open mic event called the Spontaneous CombustJam.

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