To an outsider, a journalist is someone on the pulse of things. Though a truthful sentiment, we also are plate spinners, who execute the utmost effort to make sure that pulse keeps beating, keeps pushing forward with new ideas and thoughts.
That said, as an arts and entertainment writer, I deal with an avalanche of messages, proposals and suggestions for stories. And, I truly do love that aspect of my position. I like when someone stops me on the street, at the bar, in a restaurant or just in casual conversation, and says, “Hey Garret, have I got a story for you.”
And many-a-time I will find myself pursing those pitches like a fox after the hound. It puts me in my old pickup truck, on some back road in Southern Appalachia, en route on some possible wild goose chase, all in the hope that subject could spin the greatest story ever told. It’s a ghost I’ve chased after with a reckless abandon for the better part of the last decade.
Thus, I find my “journalistic plate” full to the brim of things to write about (a good problem to have). Yet, working within the perimeters of a weekly newspaper, I find myself with a slew of things I want to showcase to our readers, and only so much time and space to explore their true purpose in our environment. Speaking of that…
Hailing from Murphy (via Gainesville), Holton is a striking acoustic blues singer, well versed in slide guitar and howling harmonies. Her father ran a radio shop in Florida and recorded blues musicians who passed through town. As a kid, Holton discovered the reel-to-reel tapes and became utterly fascinated with the blues, a genre that gets in your blood and slowly takes over your whole aura. At 34, Holton, a sultry and vibrant soul, radiates the essence of the blues — passion, mystery and seduction through six-strings of heartache and redemption. Stay tuned for her debut album, expected to drop this fall.
Haywood 209 Café
If there’s one place writers find safe harbor in this world, it’s within the walls of an All-American diner. Endless cups of caffeinated rocket fuel, a plate of biscuits smothered with sausage gravy, and innumerable characters of all walks of like in search of meals as hearty as conversations with strangers two stools down the counter. Formerly Dean’s Haywood Café, the location was closed to the dismay of Ironduff and Crabtree residents, who looked at the establishment as a centerpiece to their communities in Haywood County. But, the right folks stepped up and retrofitted the cherished restaurant, polishing it up like a shiny new penny.
828.627.3331 or Facebook (search: Haywood 209 Café).
Looming high over the main commercial strip of downtown Maggie Valley, Eaglenest has remained dormant for several years. A state-of-the-art entertainment palace, the building fell on hard times as a result of the 2008 recession. But, since the economy has steadily bounced back, and tourism continually on the rise in Western North Carolina, owner Grier Lackey flipped the light switch back on. Wandering the building, one is in awe of the 800-seat space (and 3,500-seat outdoor natural amphitheater), with possibilities running wild with what (or who) could take the stage. As their schedule quickly fills up with acclaimed bluegrass and country acts, y’all better mark your calendars for upcoming performances by Gene Watson (July 24), Billy Bob Thornton & The Boxmasters (Aug. 28) and Shooter Jennings & The Waymore’s Outlaws (Sept. 25).
Mad Anthony’s Bottle Shop & Beer Garden
So, you’re telling me they carry 40 taps of craft beer and literally hundreds of bottle selections from around the country and beyond? Sold. Situated a block from Main Street in downtown Waynesville, Mad Anthony’s has stirred up the social scene of this microbrew loving community. The large structure is just the gateway to this cozy property. Grab your pint glass and head out the side door for the wide-open backyard, filled with picnic tables, large shady trees and curious faces ready to strike up a chat with someone they’ve seen around town, but never had the chance to formally introduce themselves until now.
828.246.9249 or www.madanthonys.bar.
1 The 5th Annual Hillbilly Woodstock will be 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. July 31-Aug. 1 at the Maggie Valley Festival Grounds.
2 The Lost Hiker Bar (Highlands) will have Scott Low (singer-songwriter) Friday, July 24.
3 The “Smokin’ in the Valley” Western North Carolina BBQ Festival will be from noon to 9 p.m. July 24 and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 25 at the Maggie Valley Festival Grounds.
4 A sake class and tasting will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 30, at The Classic Wineseller in Waynesville.
5 Hidden Valley Farm (Clyde) will host Soldier’s Heart (Americana/rock) at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, July 25.