Can’t rock my dream face: Joel Cummins of Umphrey’s McGee

For the better part of a quarter-century, Umphrey’s McGee has remained one of the most fundamental and innovative acts on the live music scene. 

Originating at the University of Notre Dame (South Bend, Indiana) in 1997, the band soon called nearby Chicago, Illinois, home. But, the group’s reach has unrelentingly extended in seemingly every direction — geographically and sonically — from the Midwestern musical hub. 

Something old, something new: Traditional string act Frank & Allie release album

About a mile from downtown Bryson City, on a dirt road alongside the swift moving Deep Creek, sits a bungalow. Inside the tranquil home of Frank and Allie Lee, there are several instruments hanging on the wall. And there’s also a stack of the duo’s latest album atop a nearby desk. 

You can’t stop me from dreaming: Bluegrass banjo legend Marc Pruett releases memoir

It’s just after lunchtime at the Haywood County Health Department on a recent chilly afternoon in Clyde. And standing in the front window of the lobby awaiting his appointment for a sit-down interview is Marc Pruett. 

Formerly the county’s erosion control officer for the better part of a quarter-century, Pruett retired some three years ago, only to be asked to come back part-time as the much-needed development services technician (now that the erosion and planning offices have combined). His skill set and personable approach to his position have made him invaluable to those who not only work alongside Pruett, but also cross paths with him — personally and professionally.

Gathering of the souls: Beloved Sylva restaurant closes doors

Last Thursday evening, three days of celebration commenced within the walls of Soul Infusion Tea House & Bistro on the outskirts of downtown Sylva. 

The gathering wasn’t to look ahead as the business turned 19 years old. Rather, it was to tie a poignant bow on almost two decades of culinary and artisan bliss in this small mountain town.

Only slightly mad: A conversation with David Bromberg

David Bromberg doesn’t have time to wax poetic about life. 

But, more so he doesn’t have time to talk about the life he’s lived as one of the great singer-songwriters who emerged out of the Greenwich Village blues/folk revival in the 1960s, with Bromberg now one of the last remaining figures from that era still touring and releasing new music. 

In search of the sound: The best albums of 2019

Picking your favorite albums of any given year is a wholeheartedly subjective endeavor. You’re drawn to what immediately captures your attention — whatever that song, record or genre may be. 

Orchard Coffee welcomes popular songwriters

Last Saturday evening at Orchard Coffee in Waynesville, two nationally acclaimed singer-songwriters stepped in front of microphones and projected their captivating voices and lyrical aptitude to a silent, spellbound audience.  

“I like having that personal connection in a place like this — there’s such a feeling in here,” said Israel Nebeker. “I was rehearing for the show tonight in my hotel room earlier, and I was thinking back on some these songs I wrote, and those coffee shops I played when I was starting out — it’s really a full circle thing.”

This must be the place: Can’t I live while I’m young?

It was about halfway into the quirky tune “My Sweet One” when the memories started to flood my field of vision. There I was this past Sunday, surrounded by a sea of over 13,000 people, while our band Phish performed onstage in Charleston, South Carolina. 

Arnold Hill releases new album, offers holiday shows

Amid the plethora of talented bluegrass, Americana and string acts in Western North Carolina, the idea of a rock trio is more so a rarity than something one might come across in regional musical circles.

Since I laid my burden down

In just seven years together, the members of Sister Sadie have risen into the upper echelon of the modern bluegrass scene. 

From a Grammy nomination for “Best Bluegrass Album” (for “Sister Sadie II”) to a handful of appearances on the Grand Ole Opry, 2019 was a milestone year for the group. This past September, the band received the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) award for “Vocal Group of the Year” — the first all-female act in the history of the IBMAs to do so. 

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