By Greg Hince
May 17, 2012. The High Country offers a variety of entertainment options for residents and visitors to enjoy during the summer, including a number of musical events put on by local businesses. Regional and national styles of music have traditionally served as a major influence in the economy of Appalachia and offer a venue to bring citizens together.
Rob Dyer, co-owner of The Best Cellar in Blowing Rock, helps to organize “Music on the Lawn”, a weekly music festival which runs every Friday May-Oct beginning at 5:30 p.m.
“It’s a free event and we have a band and other things set up,” Dyer said. “People can come out and bring blankets and hang out”
Dyer estimated that 200-300 people show up every week. Funk/ Classic Rock band Soul Benefactor is playing Friday.
“Every week we work with a different non-profit group” he said. “This week is the Humane Society, so we’ll have people there collecting donations and working to raise awareness.”
Many other local businesses are holding musical events this week and throughout throughout the summer.
Paolucci’s hosts DJ Jamie Overcash Thursday. According to Boone Deals, Overcash mixes “the hottest 80’s & 90’s and today’s club videos with a new sound system, dance floor, huge video screens, lights & effects.”
Boone offers a variety of events geared toward listeners involved in the electronic music scene. DJ Says Who will be performing Thursday at 10 p.m. at Cafe’ Portofino, with no cover charge. DJ C-Ray will perform at 11 p.m. Saturday at Char Restaurant and Bar. Black Cat Burrito also features live music and dance parties on the third Friday of every month, including this Friday, beginning around 10 p.m
However, Rock, Bluegrass, and Jam bands continue to dominate the landscape of music in The High Country.
Rock band Smokey Breeze returns to Canyons in Blowing Rock Friday night after playing two shows at the restaurant St. Patrick’s day.
The trio, which incorporates aspects of Jazz, Soul, and Funk, is a side-project of Boone-based band BPL. Keyboardist Rhett Huffman describes Smokey Breeze as “an outlet for us to play more covers and pay tribute to our influences.”
The show begins at 9 p.m. Canyons will also host their Sunday Jazz Brunch with Appalachian professor Tood Wright, a weekly ritual for the past 19 years.
BPL’s next scheduled show is June 2 at Boone Saloon. Boone Saloon plans to begin holding more shows when the first summer session begins at Appalachian State.
Jahman Brahman, an Asheville-based Rock-Reggae band, will appear at Murphy’s Restaurant and Pub Friday night with Myrtle Beach-based Reggae band Treehouse opening.
The five-member collaboration was born in Columbus, Ohio in 2005. According to their website, the name Jahman Brahman originated from “the band’s goal to achieve ultimate musical cohesion: each instrument a facet of a single greater goal to deliver music from the heart of one.”
“They’re probably one of the hardest working bands in the Southeast, and it’s exciting to have them play here because they usually play a lot of bigger venues,” Murphy’s employee Caleb Lynn said.
Along with up-and-coming bands, the area plays host to a show to honor a local legend this weekend.
Doc Watson, 89 year-old musical pioneer and Boone icon, will the subject of a tribute by David Holt, Watson’ s touring partner, master banjo player and Appalachian story teller, Saturday at Heritage Hall in Mountain City, TN. Watson was scheduled to perform but had to back out due to poor health.
Also, for fans of bluegrass music, the Blowing Rock School is hosting a Banjo Jubilee Saturday.
A Banjo Jubilee is three banjos played in unison. Saturday’s Jubilee will feature Steve Lewis, a two-time National Banjo Champion, Edwin Lacey, a highly esteemed old-time (clawhammer) player, and Brandy Miller, a teenage prodigy who has been winning blue ribbons at festivals throughout the Appalachian region. They will be joined by fiddler Scott Freeman and bass player Josh Scott. The event is sponsored by The High Country United Way.
Music events are a way for High Country residents to re-connect with the area’s history as well as form bonds with others.
“Music on the Lawn is really a lot of fun for the whole community, and they need something like that” Dyer said. He stressed the value of a place where people can gather and talk in a relaxed setting.
The weekly festival will host area bands like Lucky Strikes, Harris Brothers, and Supatight in the coming months, along with two performances by Smokey Breeze.
With the range of live musical viewing options available to High Country listeners, most residents can find something to catch their attention.
“These events are a good way for people to get outside and interact,” Dyer said. “It’s for a good cause and everyone seems to have a lot of fun.”