State Of The Podcast Update

Doing this series is incredibly rewarding, just not so much in the money sense. You can probably already see where I am going with this...

Jim Lauderdale is featured in our next podcast. He is pictured here playing at Pisgah Brewing Company in Black Mountain, NC for Jam In The Trees on 8-26-17.

Jim Lauderdale is featured in our next podcast. He is pictured here playing at Pisgah Brewing Company in Black Mountain, NC for Jam In The Trees on 8-26-17.

There was a time early this year, before I got this series on the Osiris podcast network and Bluegrass Planet Radio, that I started to believe that I should hang it up, but for the fact that I had Rob, Mitch and Mark supporting me through Patreon. The tip jar was low, but it wasn’t empty, and I resolved to keep going because somebody acknowledged that my series was worth something. It’s the same with everything in art -- you can live for a while on compliments, like Mark Twain said, but eventually you need to get paid, even if it’s not a whole lot. So please consider supporting Southern Songs and Stories and join us as a patron to keep this series going. - Joe Kendrick

Try Rhyming "Orange"

I'll admit, I got nothing. We all have access to the same words, but very few of us can write a really good song. This is what lifelong musician Sandy Carlton told me in the course of our interview about his experiences at Green Acres Music Hall and beyond, as I captured more voices for our upcoming podcast on the venue. Sandy is from nearby Shelby, NC, and he revealed some interesting history of other venues there that I was not familiar with, like Brackett Cedar Park, the Ponderosa and the Bluegrass Inn. It seems there was more going on back in the day than I had originally thought!

Sandy Carlton at his home in Cleveland County, North Carolina

Sandy Carlton at his home in Cleveland County, North Carolina

After our first episode on Green Acres released, I have been fortunate to come across people like Sandy who have revealed more of the history of that venue, the surrounding region, and the era. Sandy will be featured in our next installment later this month, which will draw more from of my interviews with Bela Fleck, John Cowan, Acoustic Syndicate, and Darin Aldridge among many others. There will be plenty of music from shows at the Acres too, and observations about what it was like to be a player and a participant in the live music scene decades ago. In very many ways, the old saying holds true: "the more things change, the more they stay the same". Most artists are still playing music because they love it, not because they can get rich (and very few are getting rich). A good song is still more important than flashy technique. Music still moves people in profound ways. But thirty years ago, a lot about music was very different, sometimes a lot better, and that is some of what we will reveal in this upcoming podcast.

The late great Vassar Clements (L) with Larry Keel (middle) and "Little King" Steve Metcalf (R) at Green Acres Music Hall

The late great Vassar Clements (L) with Larry Keel (middle) and "Little King" Steve Metcalf (R) at Green Acres Music Hall

You can check out and subscribe to our podcasts here, as well as on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, Soundcloud and TuneIn. Please take a moment to rate the show, and comment on the podcasts on those platforms -- it is tremendously helpful in our effort to spread awareness of Southern Songs and Stories and these artists and histories we showcase. You can also support the show directly on this website via the "Tip Jar" button, or on our Patreon page.

 

On Deck: The David Childers Story

Our next podcast episode focuses on NC singer songwriter David Childers, and it will feature Ramseur Records founder (and Avett Brothers manager) Dolph Ramseur and famed producer and music artist Don Dixon, among others. 

Here's a video filmed at David's house in Mt. Holly, NC, of the song "Greasy Dollar" which is on his new album Run Skeleton Run. David will be playing at the Purple Onion Cafe in Saluda NC on Sunday, November 19th, and has a show at the New Belgium Brewery in Asheville NC on Friday, January 12th. Stay tuned!

New Shows Coming Soon

We've got a big month coming up, as the Jon Stickley Trio interview and performance video will debut, plus we'll be doing a podcast on Acoustic Syndicate ahead of their appearance at Jam In The Trees!

We are planning a monthly series of podcasts in addition to our video documentaries. Also, we're giving away prizes on social media for people who spread the word to help grow the Southern Songs and Stories audience. Stay tuned for our first batch of goodies including some Jon Stickley Trio shirts and CDs plus two passes to Jam In The Trees.

In case you haven't caught our most recent work, you can check out the series of podcasts on the SpringSkunk Fest on iTunes and on the website here: Part One, Part Two and Part Three. Plus, videos of the Jon Stickley Trio and our interview with Alexa Rose.

We appreciate your interest in our endeavor, and hope that you may help us spread awareness of our shows as well as the artists and music professionals you enjoy on the series. We would be most grateful for your help when you become a patron as well -- that page is here

We're looking forward to a banner month, and hope you can be a part of it!

MerleFest Was Great Fun And I'm Still Tired

A week ago today, I was emceeing at Hillside Stage at the 30th MerleFest in Wilkesboro, NC, wrapping up a packed three days of introducing artists and traipsing all over the festival grounds, taking in a lot of great music and talking to friends old and new. It was a hoot, as usual. This year was notable for having artists like James Taylor with the Transatlantic Orchestra, The Avett Brothers doing both their own sets and a tribute show to Doc Watson, and all-star jams with Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Bela Fleck, Jim Lauderdale, Shawn Camp and Donna The Buffalo, for starters.

Hillside stage crowd gathers on Saturday afternoon

Hillside stage crowd gathers on Saturday afternoon

So, I went straight from my workaday schedule of early to bed and early to rise to the festival schedule of sleep being optional, and walking miles upon miles in weather that was more like mid-June than late April while wearing button-down shirts and slacks. Plus I'm not 25 anymore, so when Monday rolled around I was back at work, but in a semi-vegetative state. Wooo!

Sarah Jarosz

Sarah Jarosz

As usual, the music was tops. I still keep getting a couple of Stray Birds songs stuck in my head. Catching Mary Stuart for the first time was a real treat. Watching Jorma Kaukonen solo was goose bump territory.

Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives

Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives

The social scene was better than ever. I got to talk with an old colleague from WNCW, Charlie Purdue, whom I haven't seen in a dozen years or more, and to meet his wife. I just happened to park near Zig from Skunk Fest, who drove up his newly purchased camper van, and hung out there a good bit of the weekend. This lead to lots more interaction with Skunkers and artists alike -- members of bands like Front Country, Stray Birds and Mipso were hanging out almost constantly. I got to talk backstage with artists like Shawn Camp, Jim Lauderdale and Bela Fleck at length, and listen to Doc Watson stories from David Holt and Pete Wernick.

Donna the Buffalo and Friends -- Pete Wernick and Shawn Camp here

Donna the Buffalo and Friends -- Pete Wernick and Shawn Camp here

Some funny and awkward moments that stick out: overhearing a stage tech say to himself as he walked by, "And on jazz flute, Ron Burgundy!". Hearing a band member hauling off their gear say to a friend, "Hippy band's up next!". Watching James Taylor being cordoned off and escorted out by what seemed like every single security officer available. Finding out that no, your emcee status over there does not mean you get to hang out with the Avett Brothers over here. Getting to emcee an unfamiliar stage and trying to use the wrong mic to address the audience, leading to the burly stage manager (let's call him "Mr. Chuckles") to march over to me and point out the correct one, just a few feet to the right, barking "Come on, get with it!". Having to be the guy who told Donna The Buffalo that, no, the song they just played was supposed to be their last because time was up, and then watching Jeb Puryear start reciting a poem that said something about death and a raven (he came over and gave me a hug on stage afterward, so that made me feel better). Don't you just love being the messenger in situations like this? Yeah, me neither.

If a band goes over this 90 minute set limit, backstage folks be gettin' stressed

If a band goes over this 90 minute set limit, backstage folks be gettin' stressed

Soon we'll unveil more videos and the first part of the podcast in our SpringSkunk and Jon Stickley Trio series. I got another interview last week to add to the podcast, from Country Fried Rock's Sloane Spencer. She and her family are regulars on the Skunk Farm, and her perspective will be a nice addition to the piece.

Vintage organs tend to be heavy

Vintage organs tend to be heavy

In the meantime, I hope to catch our first episode's star, Aaron Burdett, when he has his album release show at Isis Restaurant and Music Hall next weekend. Good times! I promise to try to get more rest though. - Joe Kendrick

 

A Little "Skunk Therapy"

Do you have a favorite place that you return to time and again, a happy spot with friends old and new? The Skunk Farm near Greer, SC, is that and a whole lot more for the attendees ("Skunkers") and volunteers every six months when the SpringSkunk Festival and Albino Skunk Music Festival come around. Volunteer chef Matty gave me the title to this post in his interview about his experiences on the farm. He expressed a sentiment shared with almost everyone else that I spoke with there, that they love the festival for more than just the good times. Whenever they can come back, even in between festivals, it is "a little Skunk therapy".

Pictured above is Kev Russell, taken towards the end of Shinyribs' set on Saturday night. We were within feet of the band, which is another unique aspect to add to the long list of unique aspects of everything about the event. No, make that more than an event, since it goes well beyond the three days in the spring and three days in the fall that the festival takes place. It's more of a musical pilgrimage, and a perpetual homecoming.

We'll be wrapping our heads around what this all means in the days and weeks to come as we create a series of concert videos and documentaries about all things Skunk and the Jon Stickley Trio. In addition to our extended interview with the Trio, we interviewed newcomer Alexa Rose, who opened the festival Thursday afternoon. There's a lot to tell. -Joe

Getting Ready For SpringSkunk

We trekked to the Albino Skunk Farm near Greer, SC last weekend to get going on our documentary on the SpringSkunk Fest and the Jon Stickley Trio when they perform there on April 8th. I got to interview Zig and meet some of the Skunk regulars: "Hack", "Ginseng", "Sea Hunt" and others who were given their nicknames by Glynn "Zig" Zeigler in the course of their years of service. As you may be able to tell, this is no ordinary festival. We're looking forward to bringing you more updates soon. -Joe

Zig and Joe at the Skunk Bus before Zig's interview. We spotted an albino squirrel during the conversation, which was a first! This seemed to bode well for our work there.

Zig and Joe at the Skunk Bus before Zig's interview. We spotted an albino squirrel during the conversation, which was a first! This seemed to bode well for our work there.

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.

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.

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/