Access to good music makes life here better for all

Published 9:40 am Thursday, March 14, 2019

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I love live music.

And while economic developers tout Davie County as the perfect place for business because of the roads and location between major urban areas, it is the perfect place to hear live music, as well.

We have regular concerts at the Brock Performing Arts Center put on by the Davie County Arts Council. Mocksville and Bermuda Run sponsor concerts throughout the warmer months, and most of those are free.

Local musicians can hone their craft weekly at the Farmington Community Center, where a bluegrass jam is held every Monday night and a southern gospel and country music jam is held every Thursday. Friday night concerts with a small admission are also held there, as are the Carolina Opry shows.

Restaurants and clubs regularly have live music.

Take time to go and listen. I’m especially fond of the ones who perform original music.

Remember our location.

It’s a quick ride to the Ramkat (formerly Ziggy’s) in Winston-Salem. Todd Snider will be there soon, as will Robert Earl Keen and Paul Thorn. They host shows featuring all types of music. Check them out.

Greensboro isn’t that far, either, nor is Charlotte. Both have big arenas and host the bigger shows.

And next month, we have Merle Fest, the music festival of all music festivals.

I’m sorry to say I haven’t been to Merle Fest often. There are quite a few Davie residents who go for the entire four-day festival, camping and enjoying the music on the four-plus stages. This year, Junior Brown will bring his “guituit” and rock the mountains. Remember when he played at Junker’s Mill in Mocksville? Then Wynona and The Big Noise will take the stage. And that’s after a full day of music. Elizabeth Cook will be there, as will the Avett Brothers, Steep Canyon Rangers, Brandi Carlisle and Tyler Childers. If you’ve never been, consider going this year. If you’ve been before, I’m sure you are already considering a trip to Wilkesboro this year.

Personally, I like Americana or folk music the best. And there are some stellar performers out there right now.

The last show my wife and I attended was in Raleigh at The Pour House, a hole in the wall but a perfect place to see a show. Kendell Marvel opened. A songwriter for years, he only recently recorded his first album. Why? In his words, because country music got so (expletives) that he couldn’t stand hearing his songs. He should have been recording all along. His voice is similar to Jamey Johnson, and his stage presence was commanding. He’s opening for Chris Stapleton later this year. Go see them.

Next was Chris Shiflett. The lead guitarist for The Foo Fighters, Shiflett also has a honky tonk side, and it came through loud and clear with that Buck Owen’s style of California country music.

Headlining was Elizabeth Cook. She could sing the phone book and it would sound good. I compare her voice to a combination of Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris, but neither can rock fringe like Elizabeth Cook. Punk country singer Lydia Loveless (whom I stood beside most of the night not knowing who she was) even joined Cook in singing “Sometimes It Takes Balls to be a Woman.”

Woody Guthrie said: “It’s the folk singer’s job to comfort disturbed people and to disturb comfortable people.”

If only a newspaper columnist could have such power.

– Mike Barnhardt