Making beautiful music together, among other things

Published 10:00 pm Wednesday, April 22, 2015

When I was living in L.A., I once had a conversation with a New York friend about celebrity sightings. Famous people are all over the place in both cities—eating out, picking up their dry cleaning, taking their dogs to the vet. Seeing them is so commonplace that they often go unbothered by the public.

My friend told me there was one celebrity he’d seen that impressed him so much that he had to ask for an autograph while waiting in line for the ATM. We knew this to be bad form, so I was curious who might have caught my friend’s attention.

When he said Warren Haynes, I was struck dumb for an instant, wondering if I’d heard him right, and asked, “Little Warren Haynes?” He was as puzzled as I was until I explained that that’s what we called him in school. I’m pretty sure no one calls him that anymore.

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When I was growing up in Asheville, my brother was a musician—still is, actually. Our parents never objected to the noise of his drum playing, and even let him and his friends play in the basement. That’s where I first listened to Little Warren Haynes play with my brother and other musician friends, most of whom were a few years older than Warren, which is likely how he got his nickname.

All those basement musicians grew up, some went on to study music, and many went out into the world to make their mark. Many also came back home to the mountains. My brother was one, and now he’s a part of the Asheville music scene again, reconnecting with old friends and making new ones.

I might be prejudiced, but I think Asheville’s musicians are unusually talented. That’s actually true of the musicians all over this area. Just like we’re rich in successful potters and clay artists, writers, and painters, we’re also rich in accomplished musicians.

But don’t just take my word for it. Clear your Saturday afternoon on April 25 from noon until 9 p.m., and head out to Harmon Field for the second annual Harmon Field Music Festival.

The band line-up includes Honey and the Hot Rods who perform rockabilly, country and rock from Greenville, The Deadfields, an Americana rock band from Atlanta, Bayou Diesel, an Asheville-based zydeco band (that’s my brother on drums!), and Tryon’s own much-loved 176, among others.

This all-day family-friendly event is a fundraiser for Harmon Field, and promises to be a fun one.

I know what you’re thinking: “But Susan, that’s the same day as the Lanier Library Poetry Festival!” And you’re right. Saturday will be one of those days where we’ll have too many great choices of interesting events, which is a pretty good problem to have.

April 25 is also the day Tryon Arts and Crafts School hosts their Honey and Herb Tea. Located on Harmon Field Road as well, Tryon Arts and Crafts will bring in three speakers to share their knowledge of herb-growing, beekeeping and creating herbal teas. This very special tea is in conjunction with the school’s “Celebrate Earth” gallery show, and reservations should be made by contacting the school.

Have I confused you enough? A music festival, a poetry festival, a special tea. These are just a few of your choices for Saturday.

Here’s something interesting to consider for tonight: Tryon Writers Spring Fever. You may have seen some of us read our original poetry and prose at TFAC’s Peterson Amphitheater before. On April 23, we’re doing it again, and this is a free event.

Lee Stockdale, Greg Lobas, David Riddle, Lee Mink, and I will read our work, and Tryon newcomer and award-winning playwright Catherine Gillet will present a one-act play starring Patti D’Arbanville, Tryon’s own resident movie star, and Elvin Clark, a favorite local actor with over 30 Tryon Little Theater credits.

When I moved here from L.A., I didn’t expect to have such a full social calendar in this tiny town, and I certainly never dreamed I’d be performing myself at such a beautiful amphitheater at TFAC, but here I am. Not only am I enjoying Tryon’s multitude of events, but I get to tell you about them as well.

It’s something I never imagined would happen to me growing up in Western North Carolina, watching Little Warren Haynes play in my basement, and discovering a wonderful mountain community that I’d return to later in life. I’m a lucky girl.