Open mike fills Melrose Inn porch with creativity

Published 9:35 am Monday, August 1, 2011

Jim “Brown” Anderson, center, performs some of his 65 self-written titles for the crowd filling chairs on the porch of Melrose Inn on a recent Tuesday night. Every first and third Tuesday evenings the stage, or porch, is open to amateur musicians, poets and storytellers. (photo by Samantha Hurst)

The talented fingers of songwriter Jim “Brown” Anderson strum across guitar strings as guests at the Melrose Inn in Tryon retire to the porch to leisurely sip tea and wine.
Anderson’s guitar picking welcomes visitors to the Melrose Inn for Open Mike Night every first and third Tuesday of the month.
“It’s relaxed, non-judgmental, supportive and fun,” Anderson said. “If you’re not a writer, but you’ve got entertaining life stories to tell, spend a little time honing them and come share. Virtually every Tryonite could do that. If not, just come listen and enjoy some front porch entertainment.”
Anderson recently picked through a lively song called “Hummingbird” and sang a haunting murder ballad called “Green River.”
In between songs, visitors and Anderson conversed about whether his lyrics come first or the music. They discussed what listeners would call his music and what songs they connected to personally.
“I want to write songs that I thought everyone would want to listen to, not just everything that’s on my mind,” Anderson said.
The guests on this particular Tuesday night found themselves drawn to upbeat songs – an encore of “Hummingbird” was requested before the night’s end.
“I love the organic nature of arriving and sharing,” inn owner Marilyn Doheny said of the events. “We are attracting musicians back to a familiar sharing and a friendly location… what I call bringing the old dame back to life.”
Doheny began considering the open mike nights two years ago when she was first looking to purchase the inn.
“I asked many questions around town – from the locals. I listened and heard many things,” Doheny said. “Music on the porch, free to the public, was one of the giving back events.”
Just last Tuesday, during the inn’s Friends of the Chef dining event, Doheny said she had seven people ask if they could bring keyboards, harps and “their voices or guitars.”
A hearty yes was given, she said, as the purpose of open mike nights is to invite others to come and share their own talents in song, poem or even short stories.
“We have had numerous additional persons join us and play or perform…. This will grow week by week,” Doheny said. “So far, we’ve had guitars, harmonicas and a poetry reading by a son for his mother. In fact, she sent her son early in the morning on Tuesday, to select her ‘chair’ for the evening.”
Doheny has many future goals related to the Tuesday evenings, including offering beer and wine for sale. She would also like to have the menu for Open Mike Night feature “sticks and skewers” – meats and vegetables threaded onto skewers, grilled and served on a bed of greens, with rice or potatoes.
“For now it is more than enough to be a gathering place for sharing musical and poetic joy,” she said. “Everyone can bring their own beverages and even their own picnics.”
The events are held on the first and third Tuesdays from 6:30 – 9:30 p.m.
Marilyn’s Historic Melrose Inn is located at 55 Melrose Avenue, Tryon. For more information, call Doheny at 828-859-0234 or visit

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox