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Rewinding the Camera Roll

4EverAll at SwanFest

SwanFest June 16, 2024

Last month was the first time I caught 4EverAll with a full band. On Father's Day, Sunday, June 16, 2024, they played SwanFest in Swansboro, NC. The concert series takes place each Sunday throughout the summer. This series is brought to us by the Seaside Arts Council. The series celebrates its 15th season under downtown Swansboro's Harry C. Pugliese Jr Pavilion.

Pre-concert fun

Robbie Wells, on drums, and his son Joshua Wells, adding a layer of percussion, assisted the famed duo of married singer-songwriters Chris and Allie Whitaker on stage at SwanFest. Also filling out their sound was Will Baker (Guitar and vocals for the Will and Tony Show), who played guitar and offered harmonies, and his bass player, Andy Allen, who all took part in making it an excellent concert experience for all 4EverAll fans.

The nice part of having a full band is that you hear more of the music accompanying the songs from the album. The last time I wrote about the band, I spoke with Allie about the band’s history. This time, I contacted Chris to hear his take on this popular duo/band.

2024 is the 15th season for this weekly summer gathering

Whitaker explains, “Allie and I first met 25 years ago. Musically, we were in a local band called Settlement with many friends that played from 05-07. Then I helped to start Big Drink Music Co. in 2007, and we didn’t see each other for a year or so. After failed marriages and separations, we started dating in 2008, and it was then that we came up with our name, 4EverAll.” He explained, “My first name is Everette (Allison is only one of a few who call me by this name). And, of course, there’s Allison. EverAll sounded like a battery, but putting the number 4 in front of it took on a new meaning altogether (pun intended).”

Helping me understand his long-running history on the local music scene, Chris told me,

“I remember at first going to my other 2 members of Big Drink Music Co. and trying to get them to let Allie into the band but I was denied. I told them that this was something that had to happen so we were going to start up our duo. I did both for 8 years which was quite a bit. Then one of my best friends and 1/3 of BDMCo passed away of an aneurism. I decided then that it was my time to step back from that band and focus solely on 4EverAll.”

Learning more about this dynamic duo and their banding together has been great because I know many other players from their past endeavors but never really connected those dots until recently. Whitaker explained their lives to me in a few paragraphs.

Full band for SwanFest
4EverAll Band

“We have five children between us, and when we started dating, their ages were 4-10. Now they are 20-26 and have flown the coop.” He might say it as a matter of fact, but he was honest in his reflections. He told me, “We struggled for many of our first years together trying to balance it all out. We needed the extra money music generated to help make ends meet, but we also couldn’t travel anywhere because we had a house full of babies and needed to focus there. Since where we loved was so transient, we would be best served to stay super local. So, for all these years, we have worn out the stretches of road between Swansboro and Beaufort. We found that traveling paid the same money, and then we had to travel and plan to stay somewhere, spending all the money we made.”

“When it comes to his favorite part of it all,” he said, “The best part by far is getting to spend all of the time with my best friend and as many of our songs refer to her as “My Little Everything” MLE.”

4EverAll at SwanFest for Father’s Day
Father’s Day Special Drummer Robbie Wells plays with his son, Joshua, bongos

The couple can be pretty creative with blending music and family, too. For instance, Whitaker tells me, “In 2020, we got wild hair, and when one of our daughters spent the summer in East Boothbay Harbor, Maine, we booked a weekend of shows there, which funded our whole trip to an area of the country we had never seen. It was amazing.”

As for the business side of things nowadays, Chris admitted, “Allie fired me last year from being our booking agent. She said, 'I couldn’t say NO and didn’t charge enough.' so she took over, and it’s been fantastic. She now handles that side, and we got a raise."

As for big music dreams, I think this couple is living them. “We just love singing and playing together,” Whitaker said. It’s probably sad, but every week or so, we have a play date where we just work on new stuff or play some old songs passed through our set lists. We currently have 937 on the iPad." You can't find their music on Spotify, but you can visit 4EverAll to buy their homemade offerings. Their songs are what attracted me to their love story.

True Love Allie ❤️Chris 4EverAll

Giving me more insight into a performer's mind, Whitaker said, "Now you can see why we have lyrics in front of us. I even forget the songs we wrote. Especially if someone walks up and starts talking to us while we play, sometimes, we must look for the word or chord." Whitaker continued, "As you know, we take requests most of the time and will throw our spin on many songs, but we love our music and dream of selling the songs to someone. I always think of Lady Antebellum or someone like that taking them to new places. "

As for their here and now, Whitaker explains, "4EverAll is currently in year 16 and has no plans to stop anytime soon, although we have continued to book less and less each year and choose quality over quantity.”

When it comes to life with his stage partner, Chris says, “The thing I love most about Allison is her heart. ❤️ It’s always out there, and it’s up to me to care for it. She is the most honest, sincere, hardworking, beautiful, and talented person I know, and I consider myself blessed. I out-kick my coverage for sure.”

Here is a song that sums up some of his feelings for his music partner and their life together: "Take Me." Which, for the record, she did!

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I asked the music man if music has always been on the canvas. “Yes and no,” he replied. “I grew here locally, and there was all of the singing in church and Sunday school, and I remember my mom directing the church choir. When I was a sophomore in high school, the choral director came into the study hall, pointed at me, and gave me the “come here” sign. She walked me down the hall towards the music room. I asked why, and she said she had already cleared it with my father (who also taught at the high school) and knew I could sing bass and tenor. She continued that she needed male voices, and I had no choice. So I went.”

He admits, “I loved it and sang the rest of high school in Chorus, Singers and a small ensemble group. All of these were award-winning in my senior year. I played in a little trio at ECU while chasing a girl. That’s when I started playing guitar and singing back up. I knew probably five chords and was soaking as much up as possible. That lasted a year or two, and then I paused completely for over ten years until a buddy, and I bought some equipment and started jamming in my basement in 2002. We played at a house party in '04, where the owner of Dockhouse saw us and booked us on Memorial Day weekend. We didn’t know but a handful of songs from start to finish. We practiced for weeks to get up enough songs to fill 4 hours. I think we ended up with 2 hours and played those twice.”

Looking back on the past, Whitaker admits, “It’s been a fun ride. “

As for his hopes and the future, he said, “The plan is to start booking some travel to all of the wonderful places our country has to offer and play our way around the states as our retirement. Festivals, Folk series, concert series, etc.” Did you hear that, America? 4EverAll is coming your way!!!"

Andy Allen, Bass; Joshua Wells, Bongos; Allie Whitaker, vocals

Learning more about this band's history has been great because I now see more of how the other pieces fit and flow with other area bands. You see, around the time I was watching 4EverAll perform, I was also getting to know Will Baker. I was writing the blog, and he hosted a radio show on WHUP in Hillsborough, NC. The "Lunch Crunch" was a show he did during his lunch hour to support local music from around the state. Big Drink Music Co. was one of the many bands I booked at the Harvey Mansion in New Bern in 2017 and Persimmons in 2019. Baker formed another band with friend Tony Johnston, The Will and Tony Show.

15 years of music every Summer Sunday
Seaside Arts Council host of SwanFest

Baker, who still does more than his fair share for local music makers, retired from working for Hillsborough and moved to Swansboro. He volunteers for the Seaside Arts Council and more. If you have not seen Baker’s current band project, The Will and Tony Show is another Carteret County-based duo turned quartet. Joining Baker will be the bassists, Andy Allen, his namesake partner, Tony Johnston, who will be on offers percussion and vocals, and Garth Hass, who will be on saxophone. Be sure to catch them when they perform for Sounds by the Sound in two weeks, on Wednesday, July 21, 2024. If you haven’t heard them, you will likely enjoy them. Save the date. Music starts at 6:30 PM.

Will & Tony Show
Will Baker, guitar and vocals, MC and volunteer for Seaside Arts Council

Before we exit stage left, please take note that these players will first reunite next week when 4EverAll returns to the stage for the Seaside Arts Council and the “Sounds By the Sound Concert” in Cape Carteret on Wednesday, July 10, 2024. Music starts at 6:30 PM. Bring your chairs and come hungry. The Burger Bus will be there to serve you, and 4EverAll will delight you. If it moves you to support local music events in the community, bring an extra $20 or Ben Franklin for the Arts Council, who could not do it without the support of the local businesses and people who attend.

Dennis Wilson sound engineer
Need sound? Audio Plus!

Last but certainly not least, I would like to take a minute to shine a light on the man handling the production needs for the Seaside Arts Council fellow New Bernian Dennis Wilson, who offers professional sound engineering around the area. Audio Plus is the name of his operation. He

works hard each week to make the bands sound suitable for the Seaside Arts Council. He’s been working the stage from the crowd for years, and the SSAC President, Rich Wells, is grateful for his efforts. If you require sound assistance, give Wilson a call at 301-404-9288. He has quite an extended bio of sound experience that stretches around our nation.

Rockabilly Fun

Rockabilly bad boys, the Southern Hellcats from Oriental, NC, will be on stage for tomorrow's installment of SwanFest. Wear your dancing shoes and meet them at the pavilion. Please bring a chair and a tip to put in a donation jug if possible. The Arts Council really needs and counts on our support donations.


Singer Ed Profit Live at Willy Nilly

Backseat Romeo - Ed Profit

At the start of June, I ran into Backseat Romeo, guitarist, and singer Ed Profit. The New Bern player is such a talented solo acoustic act. When I caught him earlier last month, he was jamming on the stage of The Willy Nilly Warehouse in Swansboro, NC. It’s been a few years since I ran into the soulfully soothing Profit. He is not a big fan of social media but creates events for all his shows on Reverbnation. He has a show at 77 West in Emerald Isle, NC, for some Sunday Funday music at 3 PM on July 7, 2024.

Singer-Songwriter Solo Acoustic Act


John "Singer" Benson

John "Singer" Benson has been a staple on the stage at Backwater Jacks Tiki Bar and Grill since they opened the Pebble Beach stage for local musicians. That is where I caught the fun guitar player in early June when I stopped by with blog supporter John McClain for lunch. We both enjoyed the show and the familiar folk-infused rock and pop songs that Benson shared.

Since Memorial Day weekend, I've wanted to talk about this Navy Veteran who served our country in the late 1960s and was known by his fellow officers for his love of sharing music. I read an excellent article about Benson published a few years ago in the Daily Reflector. Writer Debbie Davis shared a picture of John Benson performing on the USS Midway off the coast of Vietnam.

I met Benson a few years ago when he performed with another area guitar player, Landy Spain. The two have a duo based in Greenville. John & Landy have some shows coming up at the end of the month for fans and friends who want to catch them in the act. They will share jams at Nash on Thursday, July 25, 2024. The music starts at 8 PM. They are also scheduled to perform at The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery for Farmville's Chamber of Commerce BBQ Fest on Saturday, July 26, 2024. The music plays from 6-8 PM.

Benson has a solo show next week at the Harbor District Market. He will be there on Saturday morning, July 13, 2024. The music starts at 11 AM. He will be back on stage at Backwater Jack's on Sunday, July 28, 2024. The music plays from 2 to 5 PM on Sundays.


Adam Musick Sets Sail

Another popular attraction on the Pebble Beach stage is Adam Musick, who sailed through the area last year and took a liking to it. Since then, Backwater Jack's owner, Laura Scoble, has been a big supporter of the singer-songwriter. When I met him a few weeks ago, he shared his fun jams at High Water Social, the other establishment that Scoble and her partner owned. Since the start of May, she has had him on stage each Wednesday evening. This past week was his last Wednesday night on the stage as he heads back down to Key Largo, a paradise the songwriter considers home turf. Musick has some boat repairs that need to be done before he returns to the area next spring. Those who want to keep up with him can follow him on Facebook via the link above.

This weekend, the one-man band will entertain readers for his final few nights under the pretty Carolina sky. If you’d like to catch him, come to see him on Saturday at The Pebble Beach Stage. The music starts at 6 PM. His last show in Carolina will be on Sunday. He plays at Queen Anne’s Revenge in Beaufort. Be sure to call if you’d like to verify the time for music.

I'm leaving you with an original he offered when I saw him on the Pebble Beach Stage on Sunday, June 23, 2024, to entice you to follow him. This is Adam Musick with "Fade to Blue."


Fast Forward to Last Weekend

Saturday Serenades

There was a fun little gathering in Fairfield Harbour on Saturday to celebrate Northwest Creek Marina’s Clean-up Day. Many businesses and local nonprofit services were out in the heat of the day.

The fun event offered an entire afternoon of entertainment, starting the MacGuinn Duo with Brian Mac and Dan Guinn. The local guitar duelers reside in the neighborhood where the event was hosted, Fairfield Harbour.

They offered residents and their guests a two-hour set to welcome them and thank the volunteers and community for their assistance in cleaning up the river. The two friends have been pairing up for gigs for nearly two years. Over the years, I've seen them jamming downtown at The Double Tree, serenading shoppers at our local Harris Teeter, and even rocking The Brown Pelican. They will unite again for more music fun on Thursday, July 25, 2024, at The Pointe Restaurant in Fairfield Harbour. The music starts at 7 pm. Reservations are recommended.


Joe Baes Music

Next to set the stage under the tent was Joe Baes Project with Tanner Jones on bass and vocals, Jonathan Toler drums and vocals and on guitar and vocals, the man, myth, legend and most importantly Donna’s husband, Joe Baes.

I have been watching this project evolve on our local scene since I started blogging in 2015. My opinion has not wavered in my devotions. Simply said, these guys rock. I love their original music the most when selecting tunes from their setlist. Yes, they take requests for anything rock, especially from the 90s to the early 2000s. I always request originals because they rock. Below is "I Want to Be," which was offered last Saturday at Northwest Creek's neighborhood event.

Check out their website, JoeBaesRocks, or follow them on all social media platforms to keep up with their live music schedule.

Tonight, Joe Baes will perform songs to those gathered on the deck at the Double Tree in downtown New Bern. If you have not been, consider going tonight, enjoying dinner from the kitchen of Confluence Restaurant & Lounge, and rocking to the beats of Joe Baes Music from 6 to 9 PM.


Another Saturday Night in Bear City

The Wannabees Rock Blackbeards Triple Play

Every few months, I make it a point to check in with one of the first bands I met on the New Bern music scene, the classic rockers known as The Wannabees. This New Bern-based rock quartet came out of the halls of high school together and has been delighting crowds around the area for decades. The only change in their rotation that I have known them to make is the bass player position. In 2020, their long-time friend and rhythm man, bass player Michael Bass, moved away, and Pee Wee Watson stepped in and has been rocking the role since, offering rhythms and vocal support. Watson hails from the famed PKM rock project out of Raleigh. The original rock trio had some success in the mid-'80s. They built a good following with the help of bands like late 1970s rockers Nantucket and '80s known rockers DAG. Speaking of the famed NC band Nantucket, I would be remiss to miss the opportunity to tell you that Wannabee's rhythm section is complete with drummer Jason Patterson. The beat keeper lends his mad skills to the 90's rock band Cry of Love and Nantucket. As for more current-day rock star shit, Patterson also tours with rockers Corrosion of Conformity.

Rounding out the rocking outfit, The Wannabees are two guitarists. Tod Stiley plays lead guitar and offers supporting vocals, and Larry Swinson plays rhythm guitar and mostly leads on vocals. Watching these guys jam familiar songs that make their friends and fans dance the nights away is always fun. Being from a small town and a part of the local scene for thirty-plus years allows them to know a loyal fan base that enjoys their shows in town and on the road.


Summer Nights with Sam Lewis Live Atop Captain Ratty's

It's funny how I might go years without ever meeting someone, but then, after we meet, we are subject to crossing paths often. This frequently happens in our music scene; Sam Lewis is an excellent example. I met the singer-songwriter at the end of my first run of the blog. Since my return in 2021 and again in 2024, we have connected often on the scene, and I got to know the music educator and therapist much better.

He incorporates music into his everyday life and finds much joy in sharing it with his community members. He plays for senior citizens at assisted living centers, sings in church, teaches music therapy during his daily walk from the stage, and shares familiar songs to fill people with joy. This family man and father welcomed a young girl on stage at Idle Hour Biergarten in Atlantic Beach, NC, on Father's Day.

Lewis offers everything from a show featuring local talents, which he bills as Big Sam & Company, to his solo act, billed as Sam Lewis. The busy solo singer has three shows over the next two days. Tonight, he heads to the beach to play Tight Lines Pub & Brewing Co. show to share songs from 7-10 PM. On Sunday, he has two appearances. You can meet him after some afternoon fun at 34 North in Cedar Point, NC. Music plays from 1-4 PM. If an after-dinner show suits you better, meet him on Sunday, July 7, at Homer's Point Marina in Salter Path, NC. Live music happens there on Sundays from 6-9 PM.


Joe Starr Jams on the Deck at Double Tree

I found another local rocker sharing his jams in town last Saturday, June 29, 2024. Acoustic jam man Joseph Starr was on the deck at the Double Tree. The young rocker has a hippie spirit and shares many less popular songs with great appeal. Starr shares his music around town regularly. Look for him at Poppy's Bites & Barrels, The Brown Pelican, The Double Tree, and many other local music places. I met the singer when he hosted a jam at the former Tonic Parlor on Sunday afternoons.


A Pause For The Cause at Turnage Theater

Rock the Pamlico is a local musicians support group based in Beaufort County that supports the Pitt and Beaufort County music scene. Created by Big Swamp Digital creator and music lover Jack Willard, Rock the Palmico has done many great things for our local music makers. A good case in point was the Rock the Turnage event they hosted on Sunday, June 30, 2024.

Rock The Pamlico Rocks the Turnage

Music supporter and event coordinator Jack Willard called on his closest friends to help make it through the day. Some might not realize that the event was supposed to occur two months ago. Initially slotted for Saturday, the 4th of May, but the show was canceled when we lost Willard's ride-or-die-on-the-scene photographer and music supporter, Andy Beacham. I got to know the two music promoters by showing up at events they were promoting or hosting themselves.

Beacham (below photo credit Jack Willard) explained to me years ago, at the last Bill Lyerly show, when telling me about Rock the Pamlico and his friend, Jack Willard, "We are just a couple of old-time rockers that love live music," he said, "and now that we are retired, we have more time to support it."