Archives for category: Music Maniac

Harrys9If you were to traverse the half-mile stretch of southern Glenwood Ave. between Peace and Morgan Sts., breezing past a number of excellent bars, restaurants and nightclubs, you’d find one edifice that sticks out from the crowd. This cream-colored, red-trimmed, stumpy little building occupying space at 616 Glenwood Ave. was once an eyeglass grinding factory, but now it houses one of Raleigh’s most famous shops.

Harry’s Guitar Shop opened on Nov. 5, 1985, and moved to its current location on Glenwood Ave. in 1988. For almost 30 years, the multifaceted business has served the music community’s needs in all things fretted.

Harrys2Owner Harry Tueting recounted the origins of Harry’s Guitar Shop.

“I was in an acoustic duo at the time and that wasn’t an era when acoustic music was very popular. But we were playing an awful lot and needed to buy some monitors. We were getting a hard time from shops around the state to do it. One night I just said to my partner, ‘I think I can do this better.’ He said, ‘I’m sure you could.’ And the next morning I started working on it.”


Harrys3Harry’s Guitar Shop stocks fretted instruments only, such as guitars, basses, mandolins and banjos, plus all the accessories it takes to drive them. Breeze past the built-to-order sinker redwood Taylor acoustic and the array of contemporary Guild electrics and you’ll find, among other things, amplifiers, tubes, cables, capos, strings and picks. To those who are looking to sell, Harry’s Guitar Shop buys used and trades. A guitar tech works on-site to repair and restore instruments.


Harrys4The shop may best be known for its lessons. Eight classrooms provide private teaching space for the 400 lessons given each week at a very reasonable $25/half hour.

Harrys8“The teachers who work in the building, that’s what they do,” Tueting said. “They’re not also working someplace out in the park and teaching lessons when they feel like it. They do this here all the time.”

Tueting does not charge the instructors for use of his rooms. He subsidizes them, giving something back to the community his store fosters.

After nearly three decades in business, Tueting attributes his shop’s success to stability. His employees are salaried, a move that promotes continuity and reduces turnover.

“The longer you do a job, the better you get at it,” Tueting explained. “We help people find the right teacher or the right guitar or the right help to make the guitar play correctly. There’re simple things that long-term musicians know about how to help other people move the ball down the field and we have that.”

Musicians and Music Maniacs, take a moment to visit Harry’s Guitar Shop and support Raleigh’s greatest music shop. The friendly, knowledgeable staff will help you in any way they can.

Visit its website to check out their inventory.

John Montgomery and his small staff of luthiers have been making violins, violas and cellos in Raleigh for more than 30 years. Nestled on a quiet edge of Hillsborough St., downtown, their unassuming storefront yields treasures beyond the expectations of most passersby.

P1160316The shop offers full restoration for violins, violas and violoncellos. As an instrument maker, Montgomery builds copies of historical pieces as well as contouring models of his own design from maple and spruce. Highly skilled craftsmanship–the shaping of the wood with planes and knives–takes time and precision. From design to proportion, violins and violas each require a month’s worth of meticulous care; cellos take twice as long.

P1160317Instrument and bow selection cover the complete scope of musician interest and range from antique to contemporary. Shop inventory includes violins, violas, cellos, bows, books, cases, strings, rests, sheet music and other accessories. Other services include bow rehairing, insurance appraising and buying and selling instruments from all over the world. And they have a nice sized practice room for trying out bows and instruments.

P1160324It was Montgomery’s passion for music and tinkering lead him to his calling. In the early 1980s, the North Carolina Symphony had not yet blossomed into the component of cultural life it is today. Budding musicians in the area needed someone who knew how to make and repair stringed instruments–and John Montgomery fit the bill.


P1160322Today, he’s worked on John Philip Sousa’s childhood violin, and maintains The Library of Congress’s Cremonese collection of Stradivari instruments. Fully trained in both instrument making and restoration, Montgomery has been working since 1977 when he began as a Watson Fellow studying hurdy gurdy construction in France. He attended the Violin Making School of America in Salt Lake City, trained under William Monical in N.Y. and has been a member of the American Federation of Violin and Bow Makers since 1987.

P1160320His instruments continue to be played by professional musicians. Recent projects include a violoncello based on a 1700 Goffriller, a copy of the 1690 Tuscan-Medici Stradivari viola and violins modeled on works from 1730 by Sanctus Seraphin and Guarneri del Gesu. An excellent luthier, Montgomery tries to build a quartet per year: two violins, a viola and cello. Out of all the locations he could have his shop in N.C. and the U.S., he’s happy with his shop on the quiet edge of Hillsborough St. He lives within walking distance, and now splits his time between repairs, dealing in instruments and building his own.

Written by Kristy Stevenson (who can be a Creative Genius or Lifelong Learner, depending upon the day of the week). Follow her online.

Schoolkids1 (3)In 1973, Schoolkids Records opened its doors to the music-hungry public on Hillsborough St. The vaunted business (lauded by both Time Magazine and embraced its role in the community, forever altering the musical tastes and lives of innumerable students and fellow Music Maniacs in the heart of the North Carolina State University campus district.

20140602_150641Forty years later, on Dec. 31, 2013, Schoolkids Records bid farewell to Hillsborough St., giving itself a special edition re-release at 2237 Avent Ferry Rd. The development of a new hotel resulted in the relocation. Though the old location will be missed, owner Stephen Judge and music fans, local and beyond, are excited about the new location.

“I saw the move as an opportunity to do what I want to do,” Judge said.

Judge’s vision included draft beer, a larger space, a sleek stage and a massive, easily accessible parking lot.

In Oct. 2013, we profiled the Hillsborough St. location and discussed the history of Schoolkids Records. Let’s take a look at its newest incarnation.

The Bar

Schoolkids1 (2)Beer and music form a natural partnership. For years, Judge wanted to sell beer at the store.

“That’s always been on the periphery here,” Judge said. “We’ve always had that kind of opportunity, but this move forced it to happen. It’s awesome.”

Judge sees beer as a way to loosen people up and promote camaraderie.

“You get people sitting around, talking about records, talking about music, talking about the music scene here and national bands that are coming through,” Judge said. “You can feel this magic happening. Other customers feed off it – the whole bar filled with people, blasting music, drinking beer.”

Schoolkids Records offers four draft brews, including local standout Big Boss Brewing Company, and a few cans. Judge plans to expand the draft selection and wants to keep local beers in constant rotation.

Schoolkids1The bar itself contains a bit of Judge’s own history. He decorated the counter with band photos and ticket stubs from concerts he’s attended.

The Stage

Schoolkids1 (5)The old Hillsborough St. location had a stage, but the new stage is more visible throughout the store.

The Avent Ferry Rd. stage, like the rest of the store, gives insight to Judge’s life. Band posters he collected over the years and old Cat’s Cradle schedules advertising Nirvana and Pearl Jam playing in the same week dot the wall behind the stage. His décor helps facilitate conversation among shoppers who might see a poster or ticket stub from a show they also attended.

Schoolkids Records hosts live music (local and national acts) quite frequently. Check the website for a full list of upcoming shows.

The Space

Schoolkids1 (6)Schoolkids Records now occupies about 1,600 square feet, a significant increase from their previous address. The expansion gives shoppers more selection, in addition to freeing up the stage and bar area.

The shop sells a wide variety of new and used vinyl and CDs. Vinyl accounts for an astounding 70 percent of sales, a nationwide trend that Judge expects to continue.

“The people who bought vinyl before and now buy vinyl again are elated that it’s back. The kids who are buying it for the first time, it’s the coolest thing in the world. It’s not just collecting. It’s not just a fad. They’re spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars on turntables. So we’re seeing major growth there.”

The Parking

20140602_150703You get the picture.

The Future

Five months after the move, Judge and his small staff feel at ease in their Avent Ferry Rd. location. The future is bright for Schoolkids Records.

“I started working here in 1990, and I started shopping here in 1985 when I was old enough to drive,” Judge said. “This place has been important to me, and it’s always been on Hillsborough St., but if I were to dwell on what used to be and not look to the future we would have been out of business a long time ago.

“For me, it’s about looking forward to what the next 40 years are for the store, and Hillsborough St. doesn’t quite fit into that equation. It’s a shame, but I’m very happy here. This is a great opportunity.”

Schoolkids Records is located in the Mission Valley Shopping Center, sharing a building with Waffle House and Planet Smoothie.

It’s open 10am-9pm, Mon.-Sat. and noon-7pm, Sun.

May 1 was another beautiful and quiet spring day. Downtown Raleigh welcomed summer skirts and polo shirts. Tir na nOg bustled with activity for its Local Band – Local Beer series. The iconic acorn sculpture provided more photo ops for outgoing university seniors. The sun began to set, creating a fiery collage of color against the darkening blue sky. Oh, and international touring sensation Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars snuck into downtown Raleigh to play The Pour House Music Hall.

Pour House barDespite a documentary, appearances at massive music festivals (such as Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival and New York’s Central Park SummerStage), an interview on The Oprah Winfrey Show and opening for Aerosmith in front of 12,000 screaming fans, this roving band of African musicians arrived with little fanfare to promote their most recent album, “Libation.” They were joined on the bill by Pittsboro-based Diali Cissokho & Kaira Ba.

For those unfamiliar with The Pour House Music Hall, you’ve been missing out. The Pour House Music Hall boasts the greatest draft beer selection I’ve ever encountered in a concert venue. The club lives up to its name by offering 30 drafts, including Big Boss Brewing Company, White Street Brewing Company, Crank Arm Brewing and Lonerider Brewing Company. Its liquor selection’s not too shabby either.

Pour House tapsAs we’ve recently written about the perks of The Pour House Music Hall on the blog, I won’t go into detail here. Click here for more information regarding this amazing concert venue.

Diali Cissokho & Kaira Ba began the show shortly after 8pm. Hailing from Pittsboro, N.C., this two-year-old band is one of the few N.C.-based bands specializing in West African music. Diali Cissokho, a Senegalese griot , fronts the band. He’s backed by a fellow Senegalese percussionist and four talented North Carolinians.

Diali 1Cissokho plays the kora, a 21-string harp/lute hybrid well known in West Africa. His delightfully intricate jams were accentuated by the snarling yet jazzy riffs played by electric guitarist John Westmoreland. Their overlay, punctuated by a strong bass line and rollicking rhythm section, produced high-energy African dance music influenced by funk, soul and American rock ‘n’ roll. Their 40 minute set ended far too quickly for my taste, but the growing crowd fed on their vivacity. The aforementioned quiet evening faded out of memory, replaced by an African party full of joie de vivre.

Diali 2Readers, I implore you to take advantage of Diali Cissokho & Kaira Ba’s N.C. roots and see them live. Without question, they are one of the most talented and powerful bands in the area, unique in our vast music scene. They next play locally during the Downtown Raleigh Fourth of July festival called The ‘Works!.

Born in the midst of a bloody war engulfing their home country of Sierra Leone, the members of Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars fled for their safety and found each other in refugee camps in Guinea. United by an obsession with music and a strong desire to bring a sliver of happiness to their fellow refugees, the band moved from camp to camp. Their sincere traditional folk music and uplifting attitude gave life to their fellow displaced Africans.

SLRAS 2For 13 songs on this night in Raleigh, the band mixed the traditional Sierra Leone styles of highlife, maringa and palm wine with funk, gospel, reggae, soul and rap. Nine of the songs came from the 2014 release “Libation,” their fourth album which mostly sheds electric instruments and harkens back to their acoustic and experimental roots.

SLRAS 3One of their best tracks of the night, “Rich But Poor,” questions whether or not Sierra Leone learned anything from their most recent blood-letting. “We live in it / Yet we never know / What a rich rich country,” sings bandleader Ruben Koroma over a banjo-laden reggae beat. Other highlights included the salsa-tinged “Maria” and traditional “Gbaenyama.” Singer/percussionist Black Nature spent the night drinking Big Boss Brewing Company’s Bad Penny Brown Ale and professed to drink only local beers. He took lead on “Treat You Right,” one of the night’s odder songs which mimicked simple contemporary R&B.

SLRAS 1The crowd danced and swayed to the eclectic tunes. The band played on, pausing only to ask the audience simply to be happy and enjoy the moment. On this night in Raleigh, I lived in the moment with no distractions, and I couldn’t have been happier. A night of wonderful music ended with a full band harmony on “Gbara Case,” emphasizing the fact that we’re all stuck on this planet, and look at what happens when we join together.

Music Maniacs taking in concerts at PNC Arena will be stoked to find out about the great selection of N.C. craft brews on draft. Not only can music fans experience big-name artists live, such as Bruno Mars and Tom Petty and The HeartBreakers, this summer and on, but can also enjoy a N.C. brew while doing so!

Craft brew at PNC ArenaThere’s something about live music and craft beer that goes together so very well. I pin it on the fact that great-quality live music deserves to be enjoyed with great-quality brews, which Greater Raleigh breweries offer.

Natty Greene's Pub & Brewing PNC Arena offers Natty Greene’s Pub & Brewing beers, on tap, including year-round beers Buckshot Amber Ale, Wildflower Witbier, Guilford Golden Ale and Southern Pale Ale. If you’re new to craft brews and want to try one out, the Guilford Golden Ale is a good beer to start with, with a low amount of bitterness, a full body, slight tartness and a delicious wheat flavor. (On another important note: Though its closed during concerts, the Natty Greene’s PUBDECK is a must-visit during Carolina Hurricanes NHL hockey games. The area features a 2,000-square-foot sports bar, pub-style food, waiter/waitress table service and more. The deck screams craft beer, with information and artwork all throughout the section from Natty Greene’s Pub & Brewing.)

Carolina Brewing Company is one of Greater Raleigh’s oldest breweries, and you can bet that its Carolina Pale Ale can be enjoyed at concerts, on draft and served in four different sections and also in bottles on the 200 level. Taste of one Greater Raleigh’s staple beers, an American-style pale ale using three varieties of American-grown hops to create a “pleasing bitterness, aroma and lingering hop taste,” as the brewery describes it.

Carolina Brewing CompanyGreater Raleigh’s Aviator Brewing Company continues to rise in popularity and is constantly offering unique and innovate beers. On tap currently are Devil’s Tramping Ground Tripel, Hotrod Red, Saison de Aviator and HogWild IPA. I suggest the Saison de Aviator, available until Sept. 30, 2014, right through the summer. The brew is a Belgian-style made with pilsner malt, mid-kilned malts, coriander and sweet orange peel, offering up a refreshing and celebratory taste. Hops fans will absolutely love the HogWild IPA!

Aviator Brewing Company tapsAlso on tap are Foothills Brewing (Winston-Salem) beers, also a N.C. favorite! Taps can be found throughout the arena, with a dedicated section for Foothills Brewing, complete with a bar and a great selection of brews.

So, if you’re a Music Maniac and a fan of delicious beer, you’re all set when you rock at shows at PNC Arena! When you see your favorite artist, give the Greater Raleigh beers a try, and if you’ve already tasted what our area breweries have to offer, you already know you’re in for some good offerings. Have one to go along with the mouthwatering food PNC Arena offers, including Carolina barbecue, grilled sausages, fresh charbroiled burgers and much more.

Concerts coming up this summer at PNC Arena include Bruno Mars (June 14), Katy Perry (June 22) and Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers (Sept. 18).


Written by Tyler Cox, Music Maniac.

Despite fifteen successful years of bands and booze, Slim’s Downtown maintains an unobtrusive profile. In search of the small bar late into the night, I nearly walked right by its white brick frame and double window off S. Wilmington St. A passionate outburst of rock ‘n’ roll had laid waste to the sign that previously signified the existence of Raleigh’s oldest music venue.

Once inside, I found myself at a long bar that stretched half the length of the ground floor. Slim’s offers an extensive liquor collection and two dozen bottled and canned beers, including local brews from Aviator Brewing Company and Big Boss Brewing Company, and they offer them at surprisingly affordable prices. As I gazed down the length of the bar toward the small stage and the quaint patio out back, I immediately felt at home in this place. I hadn’t even discovered the small lounge and pool table upstairs yet.

The Wed. night that I visited Slim’s was ladies’ night. A trio of bands took the stage, each of them fronted by a female singer/songwriter. The lineup was a welcome change to the stereotypical male-dominated rock scene. More points for Slim’s.

Tracy Shedd opened the show, backed by her husband James Tritten. The husband/wife duo’s 30-minute set fit the atmosphere of Slim’s perfectly: stripped down and simple with an offbeat, yet earnest elegance. Touring in support of her new album Arizona, the couple performed beautifully soft acoustic melodies that channeled Kings of Convenience (“Broken Arrows”), Laura Veirs (“Sing to Me”) and Mark Kozelek (“Hardest Part of Good-Bye”).

Good Graces 4.23.14Atlanta-based duo The Good Graces followed, performing, as they put it, “minimalist, catchy folk pop tunes of heartbreak and hope.” A perfect act to follow Tracy Shedd, this charming band reminded me of Kathleen Edwards and The Mountain Goats. As I listened to the highlights of their set, guitarist John McNicholas’s “Warm in Wisconsin” and singer Kim Ware’s response entitled “Cold in California,” I was struck by how the venue’s layout could make a gathering of 30 or 40 people feel almost like a packed house. With Slim’s capacity set at a mere 100 people, you’re guaranteed a good view of the bands and a very personal concert experience.

The second most impressive part of my Slim’s experience, behind the perfect sound quality, was the five-minute set changeovers. I’m accustomed to milling around for 20-45 minutes, waiting for the next band to go on, but I barely had time to get a drink before the next act hit the stage. Raleigh-based See Gulls hit it hard.

See Gulls 4.23.14The ferocity of the grungy power pop rock act See Gulls nearly made me drop my drink in surprise. Following two acoustic duos, this four-piece garage band with their heavily distorted guitars and ‘50s style pop roots caught everyone’s attention and quickly transformed a quiet night at the bar into a bouncing, head-banging party. See Gulls ripped off anger-fueled songs about heartbreak and lies. They alternately screamed and crooned into microphones, backed by power chords and basic, but heavy, drum beats. On this night, the band bid farewell to rhythm guitarist Jacki Huntington. Despite this loss, guitarist/singer Sarah Fuller and the Gulls seems poised to make a lot of noise in the local scene, and you should start to pay attention.

I saw three sides of Slim’s in my visit. One was the relaxed and welcoming atmosphere at the bar. You’ll feel comfortable sipping your fine local brew or a cocktail, surrounded by an eclectic mix of locals. The second side was the coffee house feel where every vibrating guitar string could be heard across the room. The third was the wall-shaking, hard rock, high energy bar that any socialite or live music fan will appreciate. You’ll be hard pressed to find a better music bar in the Triangle. Don’t hesitate to drop by and see this gem in person.

FB IMG_0825 - photo ccc fotographie
Written by Tyler Cox, Music Maniac. Photo credit: ccc fotographie

Acoustic indie pop band Morning Brigade recently completed their second full length album, “Grow Around the Bones,” released on Apr. 26 to wide acclaim. They kick off May with a Greater Raleigh album release show tonight at Kings Barcade, the first of four dates (and counting) in the area this month. Be sure to check out Morning Brigade tonight at Kings Barcade, May 3 at Gizmo Brew Works, May 24 at The Pour House Music Hall and on May 30 at Lonerider Brewing Company. I spoke with Nathan Spain, their drummer and manager, about their upcoming shows and live music in Greater Raleigh.

How did your band come together?
It was kind of a process, getting the entire band together. I’m not entirely sure about the details of the initial meeting. Peter Vance, the lead singer from Washington, D.C., was playing some open mic shows around the Franklin St. area [downtown Chapel Hill]. Our keyboardist Gabriel Reynolds was in the area. Through [Peter] playing the shows, they talked about putting a band together. Gabe and I had been in a band in high school. When they asked about getting a drummer, Gabe suggested me. Peter had the initial idea to have a string section. One of them asked Christian Adams [who plays cello] to be involved. They asked Eli Howells to play violin. Most of us met on the first day of practice. I’m pretty sure Gabriel was the only one who knew everybody. Mary Koenig we added after the first couple shows, recognizing we might need a female vocalist. She was hesitant to officially join until she played a few shows with us and she started to feel a little more comfortable with us. Then she officially joined us.

What’s your relationship with Raleigh?
It’s kind of multifaceted. Most of us stem from around Raleigh and Cary. Eli and Peter are not from Raleigh. The other four of us are from Apex, Cary and Raleigh and a lot of us went to school in the Raleigh area. Gabe and I were involved in Raleigh and played shows at The Brewery on Hillsborough St. before it got torn down. If it weren’t for Raleigh fostering friendships between us, if it weren’t for the music scene, we certainly would not have formed, at least in this incarnation of the band. I think Gabe and Mary met at a piano bar Gabe was playing at downtown when they were younger and I think Mary approached him. They started talking and became friends.

What’s your favorite venue in Raleigh to play?
Morning Brigade has played Deep South The Bar, Kings Barcade, Tir na nOg, Berkeley Café, Lonerider Brewing Company, The Pour House Music Hall and Slim’s Downtown. We’ve been together two-and-a-half years so I’m probably forgetting a few. We have a top three–it sort of cycles in and out according to the season. Deep South The Bar has a great administrative [team]. Dave Rose runs the place well. He’s responsive to bands’ needs, which is very helpful. Kings Barcade–we have a personal relationship with Michael there. They are easy to work with–great sound and space–100-percent geared to music. Tir na nOg has such a great thing going with Local Band – Local Beer. Craig Reed who books that show is great to work with. It’s so easy to work with all three of those venues.

You have three more shows planned in Raleigh this month. Tell me about them.
We’re playing Gizmo Brew Works on Sat., May 3. This type of gig is one we very much enjoy. We’ve played Lonerider Brewing Company a couple of times. We love going to craft breweries and mixing two different types of art in craft brewing and local music. I think the crowds we see at craft breweries are the type that are there to support local art. All around, always a good time when we play a local brewery. The lineup that was put together for this show is something special. We’re very excited to play with Birds & Arrows and Embers End.

We’re playing the The Pour House Music Hall with Matt Phillips & The Philharmonic and Rebekah Todd & The Odyssey [on May 24]. We’re playing Lonerider Brewing Company again on May 30.

What should we expect from a Morning Brigade live show?
I would say, after talking to fans after they see their first Morning Brigade show, you can expect to be surprised by what you’re gonna’ hear. When we sat down in the studio for this last record we wanted to capture what it’s like to be in concert. We’re loud, dynamic, orchestric at times and sometimes restrained and deliberate. However we set up a set list, the end result is a rollercoaster of dynamic music that gets people’s attention.

Finally, let’s talk about your favorite local bars.
In Raleigh, I point to places like Raleigh Times Bar, a great hangout spot. Foundation is a cool place–love going there. We like to have intimacy, places where we can sit outside and places that have local beers on tap. There are a lot of those in the area. Considering how many local breweries in the area [16 in Greater Raleigh, total!], it’s easy to find places like that in Raleigh. It’s such a great scene.

1a8a3857The Hibernian Restaurant and Pub has two locations in Wake County: one location in North Raleigh and another in Cary. Both locations have events and live music during the week. I took a trip to the Cary location to take in live music in the warm, cozy atmosphere that the venue offers. The venue is a comfortable place to sit down, enjoy great food and beverages and listen to fantastic local bands, and especially in the fall and in the winter to warm up.

1a8a3851Check out live music at the Cary location on the weekends, featuring music from talented local bands (playing covers and originals). The layout has an intimate feel with private booths, tables around corners and plenty of seats to enjoy the live music from. Wherever you sit, the music is always at a comfortable volume. Be sure to check out the “library” section with a fireplace while you’re there!

1a8a3845The Hibernian Restaurant and Pub has a large variety of draft brews to choose from and specials every day, along with a late night menu to attend to your late night cravings. Lonerider Brewing Company and Aviator Brewing Company brews have been spotted on draft at the pub! The dinner menu features Irish fare that includes corned beef and cabbage, shepherd’s pie, bangers and mash and more. The late-night food menu features mouthwatering items such as “cattleman’s nachos,” a pub burger, black bean burger, bacon cheddar pub chips and more. See full menus here.

1a8a38251a8a3834Both locations have many events every month, which you can find here! For a full schedule of Greater Raleigh live music events, check out the music calendar at! With so many events going on at so many music venues, Greater Raleigh has the most live music out of any destination in North Carolina.

All photos in this post contributed by Kristen Hill of Kristen Abigail Photography.

BBSignEvery second and fourth Mon. of each month, Busy Bee Cafe in downtown Raleigh hosts the PineCone Bluegrass Jam in its event space called The Hive.

hiveThe Hive is the bar above Busy Bee Cafe. It offers local craft beers from Carolina Brewing Company and Big Boss Brewing Company to enjoy while you listen to the various musicians that are featured there.

hive2The PineCone Bluegrass Jam is an event organized by the PineCone, Piedmont Council of Traditional Music. PineCone is a downtown Raleigh-based non-profit organization dedicated to preserving, presenting and promoting all forms of traditional music, dance and other folk performing arts. Since the organization’s founding in 1984, it has hosted concerts, jam sessions, a bluegrass radio show on the 94.7 QDR radio station, youth music camps, workshops, consultation services for emerging artists among other events to help make the community aware of traditional music. The organization is sponsored by the City of Raleigh Arts Commision and the North Carolina Arts Council.

hive3The Bluegrass Jam runs from 7-10pm and is open to musicians of all levels and ages. PineCone developed the event to offer a practice mechanism for musicians (of all skill levels) and to entertain the customers in local restaurants. The Bluegrass Jam was originally formed in 2006 and was held at Big Boss Tavern, but moved to Busy Bee Cafe a few years ago. The Bluegrass Jam is lead by Doug Pratt, who primarily plays dobro, and David Hedrick, who plays acoustic guitar. For more information and to learn how to sign up for the Bluegrass Jam group, you can visit PineCone’s website here. If you’re not a musician, be sure to hear great bluegrass music at these jams. You’ll hear some very impressive and talented musicians play!

hive4PineCone, Piedmont Council of Traditional Music, hosts many events, which you can find here! For a full schedule of Greater Raleigh live music events, check out the music calendar at!

Written by Kristen Hill. All photos in this post contributed by Kristen Hill of Kristen Abigail Photography.

1a8a0587Schoolkids Records, was the first indie record store in Wake County and remains an active part of the music scene, even in this age of digital music.

1a8a0566Owner and manager Stephen Judge has seen the store become a historical business throughout its 40 years of operation. Stephen, a North Carolina State University grad, worked at Schoolkids Records while he was in college, and after spending some time managing bands he returned to the store due to his love of the area and to help support the local music scene.

1a8a0569Schoolkids Records keeps about 50 percent of the store stocked with vinyl records. More people are buying digitally, but a demand for vinyl records has recently been growing. On Record Store Day this year, the store had about a two-hour wait line full of customers waiting get into the store to shop for albums and to celebrate the day. Schoolkids Records stocks the largest selection of vinyl records in Wake County. They support music of many genres, including alternative rock, indie, bluegrass and metal, with as many albums as possible coming from local musicians. The staff is knowledgeable about new music arrivals, performances in the local area and what to recommend to fans of just about any genre. Their friendliness also makes you feel at home as you browse the large selection of music.

1a8a0576A large handful of local musicians, such as Once and Future Kings, Jack the Radio and Chatham County Line, stock Schoolkids Records with their albums, so the store is a great place to find great local music. Throughout the store, there are many places to sample new music and give bands that you may have never heard of a listen before you buy an album. 

1a8a0570“Well-known musicians such as Robert Plant, The Avett Brothers and Mutemath have made Schoolkids Records a stopping point if they are touring in N.C.,” says Stephen. Bands such as Delta Rae (Raleigh natives), Best Coast and Bad Veins have played on the stage in Schoolkid’s Records as the store hosts in-store performances.

1a8a0581Schookids Records has been around since 1973 and has seen cassette tapes, vinyl records and cd’s come through its store. Schoolkids Records is a contributor to the first successes for well-known bands such as Superchunk, Ryan Adams and Ben Folds. Schoolkids Records is also one of the founders of The Coalition of Independent Music Stores.

1a8a0575The store also buys used CD’s and vinyl records. When they receive popular albums, it is common for them to post online about the record being in stock. Stephen mentioned that he has seen some used albums sell as quickly as 10 minutes due to the power of their Facebook page.

1a8a0594Schoolkids Records is proud to sell tickets to some concerts that will be at local venues such as The Ritz, Lincoln Theatre and King’s Barcade. They also list new albums that will be coming to their store and local shows coming up.

Written by Kristen Hill. All photographs contributed in this post by Kristen Hill of Kristen Abigail Photography.


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