Green Acres Music Hall, Part Two

Do you remember the 1980s? The Cold War, Reagan, big hair, synthesizers, yuppies, AIDS, MTV? It can be easy to point and laugh at times, maybe easier than it is to remember the good things about the era. It did not make national headlines, but one of those good things was Green Acres Music Hall, which came of age in that decade. 

In our first episode, we touched on some of the history of the music scene in the region and how rough things could get in the 70s, with biker gangs taking over outdoor festivals and rock clubs, and in this episode we get to some more of the history of the live music business in the 80s and early 90s. You know, the days when you didn’t buy tickets online, but at a window after you waited in line. When being social was always in person rather than often on a network. This was the heyday of Green Acres Music Hall.

Victor Wooten, Steve Metcalf, Roy "Futureman" Wooten, Vicki Dameron and Bela Fleck in the early 1990s

Victor Wooten, Steve Metcalf, Roy "Futureman" Wooten, Vicki Dameron and Bela Fleck in the early 1990s

This episode features conversations with artists like Bela Fleck, John Cowan, Darin Aldridge, the band Acoustic Syndicate, Sandy Carlton, Ashley Capps of AC Entertainment, Green Acres regular and frequent emcee Vicki Dameron, Carol Rifkin, former club owner Phil Dennis and Mettie, the “Little King”, Steve Metcalf. We’ll also feature more live music recorded at the Acres, as we have been able to dive into more tapes from Steve Metcalf’s collection, and live shows from archive.org.

Plus, we travel to a place in neighboring Cleveland County called Brackett Cedar Park, which also brought in artists that were fusing bluegrass and country with rock elements, and is still going.

You can subscribe to Southern Songs and Stories podcasts here via the "Blog RSS" button near the top of the right column, as well as  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 the artists we spotlight. And we hope you will support the music of the artists you enjoy hearing on the show -- even though the performances we’re highlighting are from decades ago, all of these artists are still out touring and making music, and they wouldn’t be able to do it without support from people like you.

Thanks to our supporters, and to Osiris Podcasts and Bluegrass Planet Radio for carrying our series, and to Dynamite Roasting for sharing their coffee with our listeners.

 

 

 

Green Acres Music Hall, Part One

It all started with a cinder block building that was also an auction house, on farmland in the foothills of western North Carolina. The bathroom had a toilet but no sink. There was no phone, and it was heated by a large wood stove. The owner had a band, and brought in others that played there often as well, starting around the mid 1970s. It went on to add an outdoor stage, amenities, and thousands of fans. It became a key stop for bluegrass, "newgrass" and roots music artists of all kinds. Even the likes of Garth Brooks and Merle Haggard came calling to play there. 

Flyer for Green Acres from late summer and fall of 1995, including a handy map. Think you could navigate your way there? Our episode includes a song from the Flecktones' set with Sam Bush, listed here. Photo courtesy of Vicki Dameron.

Flyer for Green Acres from late summer and fall of 1995, including a handy map. Think you could navigate your way there? Our episode includes a song from the Flecktones' set with Sam Bush, listed here. Photo courtesy of Vicki Dameron.

This is part one of our series on Green Acres Music Hall, with interviews from artists like Bela Fleck, John Cowan, Carol Rifkin and the band Acoustic Syndicate, along with the man who helped take it from its humble beginnings to its peak, Steve Metcalf. Joining them are some of the folks who frequented the venue, myself included. Of course, the music itself is here too, with audio from shows by Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, the John Cowan Band and others.

We hope you enjoy the show! Please help spread awareness about this independent endeavor, subscribe, and comment on this and other episodes, especially on platforms like iTunes. Becoming a supporter is easy to do, by clicking on the "Tip Jar" button on our site's front page, or by chipping in monthly on our Patreon page, which offers a lot of great bonus material. Thanks for listening, and thanks to our supporters, our sponsor Dynamite Roasting, and to Osiris Podcasts and Bluegrass Planet Radio for carrying our series.

 

 

Southern Songs and Stories with Acoustic Syndicate

Did you play music growing up? Were you like me, taking lessons for years only to leave it behind once you got to college? This is the category that most of us who did play some music fall into, I bet. Fewer people play into adulthood, and fewer still have played shows, were paid for gigs, or recorded a record. Acoustic Syndicate's story started out a lot like mine, perhaps like yours -- the core of the group got instruments for Christmas when they were kids, and were put on the impromptu stage of the family living room soon after. But they kept at it, even when they didn't know that there was a bright future for their music. Through many twists and turns, they managed to stay together, bring on new members, and play for a quarter century, making seven records along the way and winning fans all over the country.

Acoustic Syndicate playing at the Back Porch Music Series in Durham, NC, 8-17-17

Acoustic Syndicate playing at the Back Porch Music Series in Durham, NC, 8-17-17

This is the story of Acoustic Syndicate: Steve McMurry, Bryon McMurry, Fitz McMurry, Jay Sanders and Billy Cardine, plus others who were key to their success, like Steve Metcalf of Little King Records and Green Acres Music Hall. I got to interview the band after their show in Durham, NC, on a sweltering August evening. This far-reaching conversation includes many musical highlights from the band as well as side projects.

Many thanks to our sponsors: Jam In The Trees, Little King Records and Dynamite Roasting

Playlist: Acoustic Syndicate: "Sailor Suit", "Rainbow Rollercoaster", "Billy The Kid", "Powderfinger (live)" Snake Oil Medicine Show: "Jumpin' Jehosaphat", Acoustic Syndicate: "Vanity", "Long Way Round", E Normus Trio: "Dear Diary", The Billy Sea: "Bil Bhai Rav", Acoustic Syndicate: "Coming In From The Cold",  "North Country Girl (live)"

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!