This episode of the Life in the Carolinas podcast was recorded on location during the 2019 Kruger Brothers Music Academy in Wilkes County, NC. Carl spoke with Jens about his musical journey and the events that led to his moving from Europe to Wilkesboro more than 15 years ago. Jens and his brother Uwe began playing music at a young age, and by the time Jens was 17 in 1979 the two were performing on the streets of various European cities. They were signed to CBS Records based on their talent, and the rest is history.
Shay caught the “songwriting bug” at a young age, influenced by his father who was a songwriter, and has always gravitated towards the guitar. He doesn’t remember exactly which song was the first that he wrote, but he looks back fondly on those early songwriting days as formative to his continuing passion for music. Sometimes a song begins with an idea, a single lyric, or a melody, but Shay always tries to remain true to his creative flow and let the songs come together organically.
Well-known musician, songwriter and comedian Jim Stafford recounts his surprise encounter with Don Gibson and the pleasant afternoon they spent talking about songwriting. Jim writes unique songs that have humorous or unexpected twists. Jim’s songs have the exceptional capacity of captivating audiences young and old, and he has enjoyed seeing the sizes of the crowds grow over the years as more people come to appreciate his art.
Our guest is Stan Lowery, Executive Director of The Don Gibson Theatre in Shelby, NC. Originally a State Theater movie house which opened in 1939, this theater welcomed patrons to movies such as Gone with the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, and The Jungle Book before fa it had to close its doors in the 1980s. In 2007, a group of citizens came up with the idea to open The Don Gibson Theatre in the old State Theater location and breathe new life into the area by boosting tourism.
This episode of the Life in the Carolinas podcast began by pure happenstance: Carl was driving downtown North Wilkesboro one evening when an artist caught his eye. He stopped to see what she was painting and found that it was a set of angel wings inspired by The Global Angel Wings Project. Upon further investigation, he came across the story of this project and reached out to its founder, Colette Miller.
Paige Whitley-Bauguess, a local but nationally-acclaimed baroque dancer and musician was so intrigued that she immersed herself in the history and cultural practices of the 18th century, truly recognizing and understanding the emotions and motivations behind baroque music and dance.
She talks with Carl about her process as an artist and the energy which captivates the audience and also educates them about this particular art form.
Zack Brewer; attorney by day and band seeker/producer of Sounds and Grounds on nights and weekends. Zack is hoping to broaden the genres represented in the region and bring together the community to experience performances in a cozy atmosphere. Held once per month at Talia Espresso, Zack aims to secure unique and diverse bands to play in downtown North Wilkesboro. In fact, Jim and Kathy have been creating custom coffee drinks for each event, and this is a tradition they hope to continue.
Our guests on this episode of the Life in the Carolinas podcast are Jim and Kathy Kozak, owners of Talia Espresso on Main Street in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina. After a time of prayer, Kathy felt led to name the business Talia, which has roots that mean “lift me up.” To contribute to the musical community of North Wilkesboro and the region, Talia has begun hosting Sounds and Grounds events once per month, and they are excited to see the impact that these events can have on local culture.
On this episode of the Life in the Carolinas podcast, Carl joins his friend Francene Marie on her home turf to reminisce and discuss her career. Francene Marie has worked in the broadcasting industry for 23 years, and she is notably the first African-American woman to host a program not targeted towards African-Americans. She has dedicated her career to creating a show that is a comfortable place for people to share their stories and a consistent figure in the lives of her listeners.
Carl is joined by 16-year-old Liam Purcell, a talented musician with a passion for playing, writing, and creating music. Liam got his start at the age of 6 learning guitar through the Junior Appalachian Musicians Program. By the time Liam was in 3rd grade, his parents realized his talent needed to be nurtured. This region of the Appalachian mountains is an excellent place to learn about old time and bluegrass music from musicians whose skills and knowledge of music have been passed down for generations.