Exotic Elegance With River Whyless

I got the email months ago from artist manager Katie Benson, asking what my interest might be in doing a live broadcast on WNCW with Asheville, NC quartet River Whyless at their album release show at Harvest Records. Immediately I wrote back, "My first thought is, 'Heck yeah!'. My second thought is of twisting anyone's arm necessary to make it a reality."

 

River Whyless 8-26-16 at Harvest Records (l to r): Ryan O'Keefe, Halli Anderson, Alex McWalters, Daniel Shearin

River Whyless 8-26-16 at Harvest Records (l to r): Ryan O'Keefe, Halli Anderson, Alex McWalters, Daniel Shearin

We set the wheels in motion at WNCW and headed up the mountain on a gorgeous late summer afternoon to capture the performance. Midday host Scotty Robertson worked as engineer for the session and I got to interview the band. They played six of their favorite songs from We All The Light live on air, and I got to interview them as well.

Aaron Morrell manning the camera at Harvest Records for River Whyless

Aaron Morrell manning the camera at Harvest Records for River Whyless

Luckily, WNCW fan and cinematographer Aaron Morrell of Grae Skye Studio was listening and heard about the show, and decided to come over and take video of the event. He crafted an exquisite video, which you can see below. Thank you Aaron, Katie, Matt and Mark at Harvest, everyone in River Whyless, and Scotty Robertson for making all of this possible! Enjoy - Joe Kendrick

Southern Songs and Stories with Aaron Burdett

Over the past weeks, our own Tony Preston has been working diligently to forge our first episode with Aaron Burdett into a new creation. We both re-imagined the way that the show should flow, which performances from Aaron and his band to show for how long and where, and the way that this would all serve as a blueprint for future episodes. 

What we present to you is an episode with lots of footage yet to be seen, along with a new introduction, narration and graphics. Tony and I believe that it does a much more comprehensive and dynamic job of showcasing Aaron and telling his story, and those around him.

You remember when you were playing as a kid and you could call "Do over!"? We kind of did that here,  but it entailed combing through hours and hours of footage and then distilling that into another finished product. Next, we turn our sights on remaking our episode with The Honeycutters, and then jump into our extensive footage of the many scenes we shot with Tellico for episode number three. We hope you enjoy the new version of our documentary on Aaron, and will consider helping us go forward with our endeavor. - Joe Kendrick

Join Us

Remixed and Reimagined

Ever wish that you could go back in time? Yeah, us too.

In the midst of working on our third episode with the band Tellico, we realized that with documentary film making, you actually can. Why not go back to the first two episodes and give them a more cohesive feel, a new intro, and take what we have learned to make them better while crafting a new template that would strengthen our series?

Aaron Burdett

Aaron Burdett

We are now remaking our first episode with Aaron Burdett, and will follow that with a new take on our show on The Honeycutters. With this new approach plotted out, we go to our many hours of footage of Tellico next and put together their episode. Expect to see new scenes and performances in our first two episodes, along with a more balanced pace and stronger story lines for the series.

The band Faces had a big hit with the tune "Ooh La La", which put to song a refrain that so many of us have identified with from time to time: "I wish that I knew what I know now/When I was younger". We are humming that in the studio as we remix and reimagine Southern Songs and Stories.

"Cause folks like us don't feel no pain/ All them days just look the same."

Those two lines stayed with me the long after Anya Hinkle sang them the other night. It had been a joyous evening at our screening of Tellico's upcoming episode, and friends both old and new filled the studio with conversation and laughter. Now, the band had settled in to perform and be filmed for the third episode of Southern Songs and Stories, and all the pressure was off. It was time to relax and not be bound up in plans and checklists. It was time to breath out, and take in the music.

Aaron Ballance, Jed Willis, Anya Hinkle and Stig Stiglets play at Moonlight Mile 1-17-16. Photo: Tom Watts

Aaron Ballance, Jed Willis, Anya Hinkle and Stig Stiglets play at Moonlight Mile 1-17-16. Photo: Tom Watts

Those lyrics are from "Ever What They Say", a song from Tellico's debut album, Relics and Roses. It's a song about leaving and loss, about facing grim consequences and pressing on. It's a heart breaker. but beautiful too, and is a fitting gateway to the heart of the quartet's music.

Stig Stiglets on bass and Tellico producer Jon Stickley on guitar. Photo: Tom Watts

Stig Stiglets on bass and Tellico producer Jon Stickley on guitar. Photo: Tom Watts

We now have performances and interviews of Tellico and many other artists and friends from nine different locations and two states, filmed over the past several months. Our event at Moonlight Mile studio was a celebration of this work, and a chapter in the episode itself. There is much to be done, and in the coming weeks we hope to bring into focus a show that captures the band, those close to them, and their musical traditions and community. It will be a steep hill, but we are encouraged by both the quality of Tellico's artistry and their integrity as people. Plus, now we have witnessed that there is an audience anxious to see the final video!

Barbie Angell introducing the band. Photo: Tom Watts

Barbie Angell introducing the band. Photo: Tom Watts

Many thanks to Tom Watts, who took the photos shown here. David Simchock, a professional photographer who spent all night getting shots, has a photo gallery you can view here. Thanks to everyone who came out and who helped us put the event together! Stay tuned and we look forward to showing you the finished product soon.

 

The Big Finale, Take 2!

Last month's event to screen our episode with Tellico and film their performance in studio was postponed when lead singer Anya Hinkle became ill the day of the show. Thankfully, she has recovered and we are ready to reschedule the festivities.

Tellico perform "Waterbound" at Cowee School in Franklin, NC on 10-17-15

Join us Sunday, January 17th at 6pm for the screening of our episode with Tellico ahead of their performance in the intimate concert space at Moonlight Mile studio in Arden, NC.

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We have been quite busy over the past several months making this episode, which features scenes from Tellico performances in Franklin, NC and Asheville, NC, as well as Anya in a trio setting in Floyd, VA. The episode also features interview footage of all four band members in separate settings, as well as legendary fiddler Arvil Freeman, and musicians Mac Traynham, Jackson Cunningham, and Galen Kipar.

Anya Hinkle with Arvil Freeman at her weekly fiddle lesson on 10-21-15

We hope to see you at the show!

Capturing the music of the South with Tellico

Filming has begun on our third episode of Southern Songs and Stories. Soon we will be posting updates on our travels across the western NC and southwestern VA mountains as we get at the heart of what makes the band tick, what traditions inspire them, and shoot their performances.

To help us along, visit our Kickstarter page here. We would be grateful for your support, and among the many incentives we offer, you would have the chance to be in the audience at our exclusive screening of the episode along with Tellico's performance at Moonlight Mile studio on November 15th.

Next Episode: Tellico!

It was only a matter of time before we brought Tellico into the spotlight. After Anya Hinkle made a guest appearance on our first episode with Aaron Burdett, we knew that we should work with her band Tellico sooner or later.

Next month we begin filming our third episode with the quartet, and we'll be traveling to the hills and hollers of Appalachia to capture the band live as well as find out about their lives and some of those that are close to them. From the bigger picture of the musical heritage of the western North Carolina region, to the story of how Tellico chose their musical path, to building guitars and behind the scenes views of what makes Anya, Aaron, Stig and Jed tick, we have our work cut out for us.

Greg "Stig" Stiglets, Anya Hinkle, Aaron Ballance and Jed Willis

Greg "Stig" Stiglets, Anya Hinkle, Aaron Ballance and Jed Willis

"Action!"

We're launching our crowd funding campaign soon, but you can be a part of making our episode a reality right here and now by clicking on the "Action!" button above. This will help us get off to a strong start and keep us afloat as we work in the coming weeks to produce the show.

Episode 2: On The Road With The Honeycutters

It was the closest thing to being in a band that I have experienced. From late April to early June, I logged over 1500 miles traveling to The Honeycutters' shows, to interviews and Moonlight Mile studio, where the episode was produced. I would wake up with Amanda Anne Platt's songs in my head, and work many a late night on promoting the crowd funding campaign to raise money for the production. My partner Tony Preston was working plenty of overtime as well, with the bulk of it in the editing room at Moonlight Mile. It was a vivid and intense six weeks, and it was great fun.

At the end, we sat on a stockpile of footage: sixty hours' worth, easy. To distill that into a half-hour episode was no small feat, but all that video gave us such an abundance of choices that we got to pick out the choicest gems from the mine of material. It would be easy to make an hour-long episode on The Honeycutters, and perhaps we will someday. 

The episode begins with Amanda and yours truly taking a walk in one of her favorite spots, the graveyard behind her house. It's a place where she can reflect and relax while enjoying the beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. Our walk in the graveyard is the thread that weaves through the episode and tells Amanda's story. Of all the conversations that we had with her, these were the ones that revealed her spirit the best. We were lucky that her brother Andrew was visiting that day as well, and their time on camera was too good to pass up. 

We hope you enjoy this episode as much as we do. Wish us luck as we continue our endeavor with this series and start work on the next show!


Southern Songs and Stories with Aaron Burdett

We're excited to unveil our episode with Aaron Burdett, just in time to whet our appetite for his upcoming album, Tinderbox.

Our friends at Blurt Magazine can do an even better job of telling you all about it, however.

Stay tuned as we go forward with another episode on a new artist, put together a crowd funding campaign, and search for a platform to carry the series. Plus some sponsors. We should have all that done in a jiff ;-)




Pilot Episode Gets A Makeover

While we have been quiet here lately on southernsongsandstories.com, our documentary work has continued steadily, as we have rethought the first video, going on more shoots to add footage while culling some scenes and using some footage and songs that were not included before.

Videographer and editor Tony Preston and myself have added scenes with Aaron Burdett at his home in Saluda, NC and with Scott Woody and Ty Gilpin at Isis Restaurant and Music Hall in Asheville, NC. I have written a narrative thread that ties the newer and older scenes together, working to draw out who Aaron is as an artist and person, and introducing some key people around him while keeping the western NC region and culture in focus. We have spent days upon days to arrive at a show that runs about 25 minutes long, and while it has been a demanding process, it has been invigorating all the same. After spending three or four hours at a time watching a computer screen and reading narration in a sound booth, it is a wonderful feeling to know that we got what we wanted.

While the rough edits are all done, the title sequence remains. I'm excited to bring photographer and writer Daniel Coston in to help us create this key piece of the documentary. Once we have the show completed, we will work to screen it throughout the region, beginning the process of finding Southern Songs and Stories a home.

Stay tuned as we wrap up our documentary on Aaron, and drop us a line if you would like to know more about the project. Onward! - Joe Kendrick

 

Step One: Check!

We had a great time visiting the Queen City to debut the pilot episode of Southern Songs and Stories at the Mid-Atlantic Music Conference.

Thanks to Tony Preston for his many hours of filming and editing the first draft of our documentary, and to Aaron Burdett and his band for being so gracious and professional in all their work with us. We would be remiss to leave out James Caldwell and his staff at the conference who believed in our project enough to feature it without having anything more to go on than my own description and our previous Lingua Musica Show productions. We thank our audience as well, including Myra Chapman of All Indianz, Jennifer Allison of EXE Media Group and Jaclyn Anthony of the Lincoln Times News for coming out, as well as my wife Amy for being there and giving key support to make it possible for me to take the time to work on the project.

Next step: the final draft of the documentary. We'll be adding a bit more to the storyline and will shoot a few more scenes to help put Aaron in the larger context of the music scene and the western NC community. Stay tuned for further updates as we finalize the film and prepare to screen the documentary at other venues in our region.

Joe Kendrick

 

Documentary Debuts at the Mid-Atlantic Music Conference

We unveil the pilot episode of Southern Songs and Stories in Charlotte on October 4th at the Mid-Atlantic Music Conference. Western NC singer-songwriter Aaron Burdett is the focus of our documentary and he will play with his band at the debut.

It's an exciting opportunity to bring our film to the Queen City and to be featured at the conference. Southern Songs and Stories plays at 3:30 pm, followed by Aaron's performance and a question and answer session. We'll be at the DoubleTree by Hilton, 895 W. Trade Street, and look forward to meeting you!

Aaron Burdett plays "Fruits Of My Labor" on the Lingua Musica show 2-28-14 http://www.aaronburdett.com/ http://moonlightmileproductions.com/