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Mid Week Blues Report

Before We Hit The Road, Let's Roll Out from Bear City

The last time we met, I talked a lot about the places around town where we find live music, but quite frankly, the music makers draw me out to the venues we visit. The one man who inspired me most after my return to Bear City in 2013 was Big Jim Kohler. He was everything that was missing when I first moved here in 2005. I found this out the first time I went out after my return in 2013. Once that happened, my heart and soul were off to the races. Weekly blues nights became daily doses, and the whole town had the blues before long.

After the blog got rolling, so did we. We rolled all over the state, sharing the blues. We are lucky to have such an authentic blues man living among us. I have said that since first meeting him in Swansboro, NC, on March 23, 2013. The best news of that day was that Big Jim lived in New Bern and played weekly with a full band. Oh, how happy my heart was to beat to the news of the blues!

I wanted to start us off here today because my buddy has been heavy on my mind lately. It gets me thinking about all we have been through. His family is my family, and I don't even know if the blog would have ever existed if it weren't for the good grooves and kind moves of Big Jim and Kathy Kohler. They are a massive part of the music growth this town has experienced. Knowing that we share a deep passion for the same music has kept us united for 11 years.

They were the first duo I ever live-streamed after I upgraded my smartphone. It was 2014 at The Wave Bar and Grill. They were the first band I called when I started booking venues in 2016, the first band I called on when I began hosting neighborhood concerts, and the first band I slotted as an opening act in 2018. They were the band I wanted to see every Monday night to start my weeks off right, and in 2018, Monday Night Blues became a thing in Bear City. Though it has changed venues due to circumstances, it still does my heart good whenever I stop by Blackbeard's.

We have ridden a few severe health waves with the bluesman, including last week when Big Jim bowed out of his shows from his newly assigned hospital bed. Last week, his wife reported that he had an A-fib situation while they were at the doctor's office. They sent him to the ER, which checked him in for observation throughout the Holiday weekend. On Tuesday, Kohler had a procedure to correct the A-fib, and everyone looks forward to his release. Sadly, the Kohlers missed a couple of real groovy gigs last weekend, but luckily, the blues business was saved!

At press time, Kohler was still in a room at East Carolina As his medical team treats his potassium levels and watches his kidney function. Kathy Kohler was hopeful that Big Jim will be home by the the week’s end. JAAMCO will gather with many special guests tonight at The Brown Pelican to jam in Jim's honor. The proceeds made tonight will be donated to the Kohler's to assist with mounting expenses. Music will be played from 7 to 10 p.m. I hope to see you there.


Blues and Jams Around the State

After a quick road trip for a customer with a mountain retreat, I found time to stop in Ashville, NC, to meet up with my favorite jam man, Tony Soldati. As luck might have it, there was a blues jam the night I went rolling through. The gig started at 10 pm at One Stop at Asheville Music Hall. The Blue Ridge Blues Jam was hosted by Abby Bryant & Friends. The band opened the night with a solid set before asking guests to the stage. About a dozen players went to the stage to share in the fun.

Bryant gained popularity on the Asheville scene when the singer and her guitar player, Bailey Faulkner, assembled a band soon after graduating college. The two musicians are from Gastonia, NC, and have been making music since they were kids. After growing up, they decided to lay down their tracks and grow roots in the hip-music city. Since emerging on the scene Abby Bryant & The Echoes have become known for their Americana-style soul songs.

Bryant and her band are on the brink of releasing a follow-up LP, "Glowing," this September. This will be the follow-up LP to her 2021 debut album, "Not You Little Girl." This past weekend marked the release of "Maybe Man," a song featured on her forthcoming release this Fall. This is the second single released this year. The first single released is "How Can I Trust You."

The band has a few NC dates in the weeks ahead, so if they pass by a town near you, catch them while you can. On Thursday, June 6, 2024, they will perform at Shaka Taco Hampstead, NC. Doors open at 6 p.m. On Saturday, June 22, the band will perform at Oskar Blues Brewery, Brevard, NC. Doors open at 6 p.m. In July, the band will appear at the White Water Center. That show is scheduled for Thursday, July 11, 2024, at 6:30 pm.

Turning our attention back to my friend, Tony Soldati, though he only got one song on stage, it was good to hear his jams. I met the jammer several years ago on this side of the state when he was attending ECU. I have always mentioned he is worth the journey to watch him play. For friends and fans of the jam man, he departed Greenville nearly a year ago and has returned to his home turf to prepare for the next phase of the journey. The music maker is working hard, saving money, and preparing to call Dallas, TX, home for a while starting this fall.

We had a great visit to celebrate the slinger's dad, Andy. When I arrived in town, it was his birthday, and we spent it drinking, eating, and talking tunes. Over the years, while hanging with the younger Soldati, he often mentioned his father's support. Given our many conversations about the older Soldati, it was fantastic to finally meet.

Currently, Soldati is focused on work and saving money. However, the songwriter creates music from his home studio, which he releases on Spotify. He has most of his weekends free for jamming and regularly makes trips down the mountain to jam with friends in Hickory and Lenoir. Occasionally, he heads to the big city for an appearance in Charlotte now and again. Find this talented player on Spotify at TonySol to check out his jams.


From the Mountains to the Coast, We Jam

Oriental, NC

I caught a couple of jams last week. For my mid week music stop I checked out The Silos Restaurant on Broad st in Oriental to see who would show up at their weekly open mic night.

This weekly good time is a perfect way to soothe your mid week blues. Just grab your friends and let the restaurant handle the rest. They will serve you a fine dinner with a side of local talent from the stage. Music starts at 7 pm and here is how things wrapped up last week when Adam Hill dropped by to share some of his original works.


Washington, NC

Last Thursday evening, I visited Backwater Jack's Tiki Bar & Grill in Washington for their open mic night on the Pebble Beach Stage. This weekly treat is often hosted by the Back Pocket Buddha, Brian Burke, but last week, piano man Gene Galligan.

It was a beautiful spring evening when I attended the weekly jam night at Lil Washington. There were cool jams, cold beer, and great food. It was great running into familiar faces and meeting new friends, too. After a couple of solo performances, the stage was filled with music makers, and the air was filled with songs.

Backwater Jack's has always been a place for musicmakers to call their own. Laura Scoble finds room for jammers on a stage she set aside, especially for them. The Pebble Beach Stage hosts music five nights a week now. Tonight you can enjoy the sounds of Adam Musick at 6:00 pm. Open mic night is tomorrow at 6:30 pm. On Friday, you can enjoy Lucas Ireland 6 pm, Ronnie Cottle 6 pm this Saturday and John "Singer" Benson 2 pm Sunday. High Water Social - Chuck Phillips 6 pm Thursday.

As I was leaving town last week, I stopped by Scoble's other gem on the water, High Water Social, to check out a one-man band known to fans as Adam Musick. This cool jammer seems to split his time between coastal NC and his home dock in Key Largo, Fl.

Adam plays plenty of popular hits that will get your toes tapping and hips shaking. A few songs into his second set, however, I asked the performer if he had any original music to share and he played “The Time Is Now.” a sweet song with a positive and strong message.

You can find the rocker sharing his jams in port places along our coast. Just follow him on Facebook and keep an eye out for when he is playing near you.

Adam Musick and I will be sharing conversation soon so that we can all learn more about his career and his life on the water.


A Glance at The Calendar

One of the features I like about this site is the calendar of events which I placed in the footer of this site. I use Facebook and email invitations to build this calendar. I click interested on the Facebook event and then add it to my Google Calendar and sometimes I create events based on emails from various groups. Depending upon the location of the event will depend on the color it is assigned. RED events are located in New Bern, NC. BLUE events are located along the Crystal Coast and throughout the plains region of North Carolina. YELLOW events highlight the Piedmont Region. That is also where many big cities, including Raliegh, Durham, and Charlotte are located. The GRAY area covers the westernmost regions of the state.

I welcome all bands and venues throughout the state to share their events with me on Facebook, and you may also send your info to my email;

Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed what you’ve read please sign up for music updates below the calendar.


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