From Country to Blues, Highlands to the Lowlands music &art thrive

Published 9:22 am Thursday, August 14, 2008

Johnny Rawls Tonight The Purple Onion in Saluda is serving up a healthy Americana and Country mix with Stephen Simmons at 8 p.m. This Tennessee troubadour has three solid CDs and thousands of miles of road dust under his belt. His latest recording is packed with an all star line up of country&squo;s finest studio musicians. If you&squo;ve been craving the sound of a gritty country singer wailing out the woes of the world, Simmons will soothe that hunger. Listen to some samples for yourself at However, if your sweet soul needs some rhythm and blues to get right, be sure to catch Johnny Rawls at Elmo&squo;s this weekend. This master bluesman has about ten solo albums under his belt as well as a long list of producing, songwriting and guitar credits with other artists. He has also garnered such awards as the West Coast Blues Hall of Fame for RB Male Vocalist of the Year in 2006. Raised between the Delta famous for blues and the thriving jazz of New Orleans on the coast of Mississippi, the music seems to flow effortlessly through him as he plays and croons. With no knowledge of what he&squo;d done, I was pleasantly surprised the first time I wandered into Elmo&squo;s to hear him play. This weekend Polk County happened to snatch him for three days between gigs in Nashville, Tennessee and The Foothills Blues Festival in Ohio.&bsp; Thursday and Saturday night he&squo;ll be at Elmo&squo;s in Tryon and Friday night he&squo;ll be at Elmo&squo;s Too in Columbus. For more information about Johnny Rawls or to hear samples of his music please visit As you finish your work day Friday before heading out for dinner and music, stop by the Red Clover Gallery in Landrum from 5-7 p.m. to socialize and view the work of Linda Cheek at the opening of &dquo;From the Highlands to the Lowlands.&dquo; This Brevard Plein-Aire artist captures the magic of the southern highlands and Carolina coast in colorful oils that blend realism and impressionism. A graduate of the Ringling School of Art in Sarasota, Florida, her work can be found hanging in the permanent collection at New York&squo;s Salgamundi Club as well as many fine corporate and private collections. For more information on the reception or show please visit or call 864-457-3311. Continue your evening of artistic conversation with music at the Listening to Coffee Open Mic from 8-11 p.m. at the Gallery Coffeehouse. If you have songs, stories, poetry, or jokes to share please come prepared to take a moment in front of the mic. Mike Locke does a fine job of keeping the music flowing and this family friendly atmosphere welcomes performers of all ages. Visit or call 828-859-0207 for more details. Saturday Saluda turns up the festivity starting at 8 p.m. For over 20 years The Drovers Old Time Medicine Show has been mixing up some fine bluegrass and old time tunes with a bit of good natured comedy for the whole family. Visit their website and read the latest edition of the Prater&squo;s Creek Gazette to get a taste of their hillbilly humor or sample some of their &dquo;bare knuckles&dquo; bluegrass. If you feel like shagging the night away, Saluda Mountain Jamboree with Sound Factory is the place to be from 8-11 p.m. This band does a wonderful mix of Motown, Beach Music, R&B, Country and other dance favorites to keep you moving and grooving all night long. I have personally enjoyed listening to them while playing some pool at Elmo&squo;s, but the Jamboree offers them a chance to really work the stage while dancers have plenty of room to show their stuff on the floor. Visit or call 828-749-3626 for more information. This coming week the Tryon Fine Arts Center will be buzzing with activity as the hand delivered entries arrive for the 11th Biennial Western North Carolina Juried Art Exhibit. Painters and sculptors from around the region have been invited to submit work Tuesday August 19, from 10 a.m. ‐ 7 p.m. and Wednesday August 20 10 a.m. ‐ 3 p.m. Jane Allen Nodine is Juror for this exhibit presented by Tryon Painters & Sculptors. The exhibit will run September 5 ‐ October 2 at Tryon Fine Arts Center. For more information about eligibility, application, and fee requirements visit, or call Dick Neff 864-895-7945. Don&squo;t forget, both Twigs and Persimmons are serving up some fine jazz on Wednesdays down in Landrum. Check the music calendar listings for more information.

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