Kim and I recently found a new place to enjoy ourselves.
Actually, it's not a new place at all — it's been around for at least several years and maybe even longer — it's just new to us.
The other evening we dropped by High Rock Outfitters (HRO) on Main Street, next to the square, to listen to a handful of musicians perform during open mic night. Oh boy. Freebies. This usually occurs on Wednesdays. And usually, they're playing in front of 30 or so customers who are sipping local wines or boutique brews from North Carolina.
But what a treat. When we got there the omnipresent Scott Gibson was performing with his wonderfully named backup band, the Side Effects. Scott plays acoustic guitar and usually has a harmonica braced around his neck. It's better than a tie — at least you can play a harmonica.
Anyway, Scott is a hip folk artist — maybe even eclectic — leaking out of the Woody Guthrie mold. He sometimes performs Guthrie tunes, and most times he does original compositions. Either way, the gravel in his voice lends an earthy, you-can't-beat-me-down truth to his art. (See here) I really like his stuff.
When he was done with his set, Scott yielded the mike to Old Dave Williams, another acoustic artist from Lexington. I don't know that he's actually old, but that's how he introduced himself. "Old" might be his first name, as far as I know. He did tell us that he helped produce a public television show several years ago about the decline of the local furniture industry and wrote some of the music for it.
I googled Dave Williams just to see what came up and got about 800 hits (I exaggerate only slightly) for the name. About 700 of them were for musicians, so I didn't bother to look any further.
Old performed three songs and gracefully gave way to Davis Tucker.
Keep in mind that, other than Scott, I have no clue about the other artists. I'm hearing them for the first time. But Davis, who really might be old, has been around. He's got a few CDs out there, and while his chest-length gray beard and shoulder-length gray hair makes him a genuine Santa Claus candidate, he's got a nice voice. I like to call it an acoustic voice.
Anyway, he had a female vocal accomplice with him whom he introduced as his ex-wife Shannon. I figured that had to be an incredibly amicable separation if they're doing free open mic sessions on Wednesday nights in small-town honky tonks in the Piedmont. That's cool. They do sound good together.
I googled his name and found out he has a relatively steady gig most Tuesdays at George's Pizza in High Point. He sometimes plays with a band called "The Geezers," appropriately enough. I think they all have gray beards. He also does fairly steady work at the Sagebrush Steakhouse in Kernersville.
Davis and his ex did a half-dozen original tunes, including my instant favorite, "I started out with nothing, I've got most of it left." (See here) Amen, brother. They were still performing when Kim and I left around midnight, because we had to go to work the next day.
My point here is that HRO gives Lexington some nice after sunset options. The place is booking groups left and right, including talent from Asheville, that little artist colony in the mountains. Sometimes you pay a cover charge for the bigger name acts, but that's OK. I'll pay $7 to listen to music every bit as good as the $75 or so that I pay to hear Alison Krauss or Martina McBride.
Kim and I might be a little late to this party, but we're still glad that we came.