For What It’s Worth

I am subscribed to probably hundreds of North Carolina band email lists. That’s a lot, I know. I don’t have to, but it helps me stay connected to the massive amounts of musicians in our state whose music I promote on the Local Beat every Friday evening. Most send out emails every few months or so usually promoting a gig or sometimes promoting a Kickstarter campaign or new album. More often than not it’s purely informational and promotional, nothing out of the ordinary. Every now and then though I read one that is a little different, a little odd, something that stands out.

Back in May an extremely talented North Carolina songwriter, Steph Stewart, sent out an email to her subscribed fans that struck a nerve with me. I quote:

Dear Someone,

My heart sinks a little every time I bring my fellas into a gig that ends up costing us more to play than we make. When you play for tips or a cover charge, it’s always a gamble. It’s a hard balance to find and one that most musicians struggle reaching: To get out there and be heard WHILE making somewhat of a living… or at least not loosing money. And of course, it isn’t really about the money so much in the end as it is about the art.

Me personally? Well, I’d rather play to a room of 20 attentive and appreciative folks than 1000 folks who would rather talk over our background hum. I suppose, like with anything, there must be balance. There is an equilibrium, and as an artist, I need both. The well-paying gigs fill the pockets. They pay rent and bills. They put gas in the tank and food in the belly. This is essential.

Last night we played an incredible show at the Greenbean Cafe in Greensboro, NC. We performed to a small crowd of maybe 30 and had the pleasure of sharing the stage with some talented whippersnappers from Concord, NC and a fella touring from Kent, OH. We left with a grand total of $15 and gurgling guts from our PBRs, but it was all worthwhile. You see, those 30 or so strangers connected with us. For that hour, they were bold enough to follow us into the world of our music, and they reminded all three of us that we are worthwhile. This music we make, it’s worth a listen… So maybe it didn’t fill our pockets, but it damn well filled our souls.

Thank you Greensboro. We’ll be seeing you. And as for you, dear someone… we hope to be seeing you sooner.


So much rings true in this letter. As an avid supporter of the numerous talented musicians in our area I often hear about how most of them don’t “do it for the money.” Money helps, no doubt, but that shouldn’t be the reason someone stands behind a microphone and performs for an audience, whether it be 30 or 1,000. It shouldn’t be the reason why someone creates a piece of artwork or publishes a poem. They should do it firstly for themselves and their own creative expressions and secondly for that interpersonal connection Steph talks about, that understanding bond that all people seek from others. We all have to make a living and no one is disputing that, but the best artists in our area are not doing it primarily for the money. They are not cheating themselves or their abilities.

So I want to use this letter to encourage you, the audience, the one who is so often reached out to by our local artists, to reciprocate that back to your community. Go see live shows. Tip a street performer. Buy the record from a record store. Request their music on the radio. Do your part in that artist-audience relationship. Most of our local bands are hardly doing this to make a buck, they are doing it for you.

DJ Highlights

Local Beat Preview 8/31/12

It’s that time of the year again. The weather is beginning to cool at night, hurricanes are on our horizon, NC State football is starting up and what is it that I smell? Ah, the fresh scent of one of the greatest music festivals in the nation right here in our own back yard. Hopscotch Music Festival is next week, September 6-8, in downtown Raleigh and everyone around is excited and geared up for this third annual event.

This week on the Local Beat I am going to be joined once again by Grayson Currin and Greg Lowenhagen, Co-Director and Director of Hopscotch Music Fest, for the first hour of the Local Beat. Grayson and Greg have been hard at work for the past year and we are going to take a behind the scenes look at what they have been up to and talk about this massive festival that is about to hit our streets. Over 250 bands playing the official Hopscotch and unofficial day parties and tons of other exciting events all jam packed into 3 days. Tune in at 5pm to hear some great conversation with the minds behind the music and madness.

At 6pm I am introducing a new(ish) group to my listeners: The Toddlers. The Toddlers have actually been around for a couple of years, on and off, but did not solidify a lineup until about a year ago. With that momentum they have been playing shows around the state and are currently scheduled to play a show Saturday night in Winston-Salem at Krankies with Birds of Avalon, a Hopscotch day party next Friday at Deep South, and an official Hopscotch show at the Hive. Also, check out their Kickstarter campaign that is up and running to support their new album.

For the final hour of the program I am welcoming back a dear friend, James Phillips, drummer for Durham based band Bombadil. Aside from being a fantastic musician and lyricist and working with groups between here and Portland, James has taken the leap from folk music into electronica for a new solo album, 29 Days, under the alias Sumner James.  In support of the release that happened this past Tuesday Bombadil is playing a show Saturday evening at the Cats Cradle with Massachusetts band You Won’t.

As always, the fun starts at 5 p.m. and will last until 8 p.m.! Be sure to follow the Local Beat on Twitter or Facebook and download tons of free local music on our ReverbNation page!

DJ Highlights

Local Beat Preview 8/24/12

Tonight on the Local Beat we are back to another jam packed program with several local bands releasing new albums.

On Tuesday Durham band I Was Totally Destroying It released their sixth album, Vexations. The album has been streaming all week in anticipation for their release party tomorrow evening at Motorco Music Hall in Durham and I must admit, I am quite smitten. We will be chatting with the members at 5pm today and while the group has been on the program almost a dozen times now and are always charming and fun, as is their music.

For the second hour we will have the pleasure of being joined in studio by the guys of American Aquarium. Front man BJ Barham has been on the Local Beat many times but this will mark the first that he will be joined by his band mates. American Aquarium has released 7 albums now, including one EP and one live full length, and their newest, Burn. Flicker. Die., is to be released tomorrow evening at the Lincoln Theatre in Raleigh.

For the last hour of the evening we will be joined for the first time, about half way through by Wilmington electronica group Dash. If you listen to the Local Lunch you will recognize the bands dancey electronic pop song “Into The Sounds” which has been quite a bit of airplay. You might also want to head to Kings Barcade after the interview to check the group out live.

As always, the fun starts at 5 p.m. and will last until 8 p.m.! Be sure to follow the Local Beat on Twitter or Facebook and download tons of free local music on our ReverbNation page!

DJ Highlights

Best of the Best of the Local Beat 7/27/12

For the entire month of July on “The Local Beat” we have been looking back at some of our favorite interviews from the past. So far we have entertained you with interviews from Bombadil, Mount Moriah, Mandolin Orange, Magnolia Collective, Kooley High, Kleptonaut, Birds and Arrows, The Gathering Church, and Phil Cook & His Feat. Friday, July 27 is the final episode in this “Best of the Local Beat” series and we are rounding off with some of the best interviews we have to offer. In fact, these three might be my favorite of all time. We are calling them the “Best of the Best of the Local Beat.”

Mike Roy came in on September 30, 2011 to chat about his album, “Mike and Eileen Chapter One.” What unfolded was a full hour of one of the most memorable and colorful conversations ever to happen on WKNC. Mike opened up and told us about how his faltering marriage inspired an incredible album and ended triumphantly with redemption in the end. Without giving away to much it might be my favorite interview ever on “The Local Beat.” This interview begins at 5 p.m.

For the 6 o’clock hour I am revisiting a band I have had recently on the program, GROHG, who joined me just a few months back to discuss the release of their new EP “Culture of Petty Thieves.” However, before the EP bandmates Will Goodyear and Mark Connor joined me on October 28 to discuss the conception of the band and promote their first show ever. What ended up happening instead was a complete schooling on the art of the broad genre known as “metal” which ended my ignorant take on the music. The conversation with Will and Mark was enlightening to say the least and I am proud to re-air this interview for you all.

The final interview of the evening, and the final Best of the Local Beat, is none other than old time friends the Kickin Grass Band who dropped by on January 13, 2011 to promote their 10 year anniversary and the show they were playing in support of their success. The KGB band is one of my favorites in the area and they shared some delightful and entertaining stories with us from the past 10 years and played some amazing live tunes in the studio. In addition, since the interview happened they were awarded by the Carolina Music Awards for the “Best Bluegrass and Americana.” Be on the lookout for their new album, “Walk With Me.”

I hope you enjoy these interviews tonight, they are some that I will always cherish. I also hope you have appreciated the last month of  “The Best of the Local Beat” series and will join me next week to begin live broadcast in studio once again to create some new memories.

As always, the fun starts at 5 p.m. and will last until 8 p.m.! Be sure to follow the Local Beat on Twitter or Facebook and download tons of free local music on our ReverbNation page!

DJ Highlights

Best of the Local Beat 7/20/12

This week on “The Local Beat” we are continuing to look back into the past at some of our favorite interviews ever on the program for our “Best of the Local Beat” series that is happening throughout July. This is the third Friday of the month and the interviews we are re-airing are some of my favorites.

At 5 p.m. we will listen to an interview I had with the fellas in Durham band Bombadil last November in which they stopped by to talk about their first album in two years, All That The Rain Promises. It had been a year since they had come by “The Local Beat” so we had a lot to catch up on outside of the new record. We also spent a great deal of time chatting about the album and comparing it to the previous one.

Six o’clock brings on one of my favorite interviews ever when Mandolin Orange came by on September 23, 2011 to talk about their release of a double LP: Haste Make and Hard Hearted Stranger. Andrew and Emily are two of my favorite musicians in our state and both of them shared quite a bit of insight into their art and craft.

The final hour was with Magnolia Collective, a collection of some of our finest musicians in the area. We had a wonderful conversation about the history of the group and the song creation process that they administer for each of their songs. In the latter part of the interview we touched on the trends and themes of our music scenes from 2011 in what turned out to be one of my favorite bits ever on The Local Beat.“ It is always interesting to compare our music scene from year to year. See if you can do the same yourself.

As always, the fun starts at 5 p.m. and will last until 8 p.m.! Be sure to follow the Local Beat on Twitter or Facebook and download tons of free local music on our ReverbNation page!


DJ Highlights

Best of the Local Beat 7/13/12

This Friday, July 13 on “The Local Beat” we are continuing our “Best Of” series with three great interviews.

At 5 p.m. we are revisiting an interview from December 2011 when local hip-hop group Kooley High dropped by to talk about their newly released album “David Thompson.” Kooley High was planning a show at the Pour House in support of the album release with several other local hip-hop groups. The guys and I talked about their exodus to New York, the new album, music videos and much more.

The second hour we will re-listen to an interview from February 2012 when Jeff Shields of local act Kleptonaut stopped by to chat about one of my favorite albums from last year, “The Golden Age of Space Travel.” Jeff was an excellent guest and shared a lot of witty insight into the creation of his music. We had a blast talking about everything from his experience as a “podcast troubadour” to the naming of his instrumental songs.
Kleptonaut interview

For the final hour of the program we are just reaching back to March of this year when I was joined by one of my favorite all time local bands, Birds and Arrows. Pete and Andrea brought some guests into the station to promote an folk/hip-hop show they were putting on at White Collar Crime called “Folk What You Heard.” Millie Vaughn, Lazarus, and Corey McLemore provided some great insight into their craft and even free-styled over a ukulele beat for us. The whole hour was a lot of fun and I know you will enjoy it once again.

As always, the fun starts at 5 p.m. and will last until 8 p.m.! Be sure to follow the Local Beat on Twitter or Facebook and download tons of free local music on our ReverbNation page!

Festival Coverage

Hopscotch Announces Full 2012 Schedule

July 11, Hopscotch Music Festival released its entire schedule featuring over 15 venues and 175 bands in downtown Raleigh. In light of the announcement, Adam Kincaid, host of the Local Beat, and Michael Jones sat down to discuss the schedule, band conflicts, festival expectations, and their general excitement at what the festival has to offer this year. To view the entire lineup check out it out here.

Hopscotch Schedule 2012 discussion

DJ Highlights

Best Of The Local Beat 7/6/12

Friday, July 6’s “The Local Beat Beat” is the first in our July series of the “Best Of The Local Beat”.  Every year I take a month off from the program and allow our listeners to revisit some old interviews that we have done on the program. Every Friday evening in July 2012 we will be doing flashbacks at some of my favorite interviews. Tonight’s are examples from some of the finest:

At 5 p.m. we are going to hear an interview from April 2011 when one of my favorite groups around, Mount Moriah, dropped by to talk about the band and their debut self titled release. We spent a great deal of time talking about the formation of the band and their sound as well as the founding members, Heather McEntire and Jenks Miller, and their various other projects. Heather and Jenks are two of the nicest and sweetest people and had a great deal to share about their music and their craft.

For the second hour we are only looking back briefly to January of 2012 when Jeff Crawford visited “The Local Beat” for one evening to talk about a new album that he was releasing through his own studio, Arbor Ridge Studios. The album was a collection of hymns performed by various North Carolina musicians in support of the music department of a Durham church where Jeff is the music director. The church is the Gathering Church and the album is Hymns From The Gathering Church. Jeff and I mused about religion and music, his role in our community’s music scene and various other topics. That interview begins a little after 6 p.m.

Gathering Church on The Local Beat

At 7 p.m., the program will conclude with an interview I did a little over a year ago with Phil Cook. Phil is mostly known for his part in Megafaun, but he also has a wonderful instrumental and acoustic solo act, Phil Cook and His Feat, which many of my listeners will recognize. Our conversation leaned heavily on his newly released album at the time, Hungry Mother Blues. Phil also played several live songs in studio.

If you heard these interviews the first time I hope you enjoy them as much as your did before. If these are new conversations to your ears I hope you appreciate them as much as I.

As always, the fun starts at 5 p.m. and will last until 8 p.m.! Be sure to follow the Local Beat on Twitter or Facebook and download tons of free local music on our ReverbNation page!

DJ Highlights

Local Beat Recap 5/11/12

This evening’s Local Beat was the shortest in awhile due to #13 ranked NC State playing Virginia Tech in baseball at 5:30pm. However, Jack the Radio joined us on the phone for a brief moment to chat about their brand new album, Low Country, and promote the album release party tomorrow afternoon at Big Boss Brewery.

Jack the Radio is a rising band in our state and their sophomore album does not disappoint with keeping true to their self-proclaimed “Southern Indie Rock” sound that touches on a wide variety of influences but leans closest to southern bar rock while teetering the line with indie masters Yo La Tengo or the Extraordinaires.  The show tomorrow is  free event and starts at 3pm with food trucks from Only Burger, Chicken Que, and Sarges. Music starts around 3:30pm and the band will be bringing on some mystery guest musicians to play along. However, I highly recommend dropping in at 2pm for the always popular brewery tour that happens the second Saturday of each month before sticking around for the other festivities.

Take a listen to the very short interview here.

DJ Highlights

The Local Beat Preview 2/24/12

Tonight’s Local Beat will be starting at 5 p.m. while we showcase some brand new tunes by musicians from our state.

At 6 p.m. the interviews will be starting up as we welcome Justin Robinson & the Mary Annettes onto the program for the first time. Justin is a Local Beat alum (his old band the Carolina Chocolate Drops visited our studio before) so we will welcome him back with his new group to chat about the band and their new album, Bones for Tinder. Justin is a highly entertaining and knowledgeable interviewee so I greatly look forward to hearing his thoughts on a variety of topics.

At 7 p.m. we are bringing in local ambient group Oulipo to talk about the band. As many of you know, I have been following Oulipo for sometime now so I am thankful to finally have them on the program to chat about their music and work.

As always, the fun starts at 5 p.m. and will last until 8 p.m.! Be sure to follow the Local Beat on Twitter or Facebook and download tons of free local music on our ReverbNation page!