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Brett Barest on the Upstate Music Scene: Loving the Local Music Scene

Last week I used this space to talk about four big Upstate shows featuring nationally touring acts like Jason Isbell, Molly Tuttle, St. Paul & the Broken Bones, and Ross Newell. I felt like that list of names (and the venues that hosted them) was a fantastic illustration of just how good the local music scene is and the level of talent the community is able to support. By the end of the weekend I could personally attest to the fact that Molly Tuttle was amazing and I had heard nothing but rave reviews about the shows I was unable to attend.

I was proud to share this piece when it was released but, once I had, I realized I had made a mistake. My friend and local singer/songwriter Brooks Dixon was kind enough to point out that I had totally omitted any mention of the local artist opening up for Ross Newell at the Spinning Jenny last Friday evening – Brooks Dixon. Whoops.

Now, first and foremost, Brooks did not point this out because he was mad at me or has an ego that needs to be stroked by seeing his name in print. It is quite the opposite as he is about as nice and humble guy as you will ever meet and, combined with a good sense of humor, just wanted to give me a hard time, which is something I almost always appreciate. Tongue firmly in cheek, he accused me of hating local musicians and I in turn said they all suck. We had our online laugh, I apologized, and we went on our merry ways.

Except I really didn’t.

My oversight got me thinking about how much time I spend looking for new names and talent visiting the Upstate that I can listen to and write about for this column every week. The exercise is a satisfying one and even if nobody ever reads a word I write, the process helps me discover some seriously good music nearly every single week. The downside to this process, however, is that maybe I do not pay as much attention to the local names as much as I should. I mean, I do in real life as I love catching up with local artists that I appreciate and support but, for the writing part of life, perhaps I glaze over the names I know in search of ones that are bigger, shiny, and new.

With that in mind, I only looked for names I recognized when I perused the iOnGreenville music calendar for the week ahead. Local bands that do their thing right in here in Greenville week in and week out is who I wanted to celebrate and, thanks to how much talent we have here in town, I filled up a page of quality shows in my notebook in about ten minutes. I am not going to list them all here – you can visit the iONGreenville calendar easier than I can retype it – but I do want to do a quick night by night roundup of the local shows I would personally like to attend in Greenville this week.

Tonight is an easy one as Shannon Hoover lays it down on electric bass for Chicora Ally’s Wednesday Night Jazz. Thursday leaves you with some decisions to make as Brother Oliver performs an album release show at Horizon Records, Little Lesley & the Bloodshots host Honky Tonk Happy Hour at Velo Fellow, and Max Hightower (of Mac Arnold’s Plate Full of Blues) visits Rainer’s, an immensely underrated spot to catch a show on a Thursday night.

Friday sees another nice selection of local artists doing their thing and forcing you to pick which flavor you want to take in. My Girl, My Whiskey, & Me is always a pleasure and will no doubt be a great time at the Growler Haus in the Village of West Greenville. The Wife and I will be around the corner on Pendleton St. getting ready for the farmers market so I will no doubt sneak in for a beer for this one. Beers can also be had at Fireforge with the jam-grass stylings of Amongst the Trees and things will definitely be getting busy deep into the evening with April B & the Cool over at Aloft.

Saturday gets even more complicated with Rush Morgan at Mac’s Speed Shop (a spot I’d never think to catch a show), the Bad Popes at Saluda River Yacht Club, Vilai Harringotn & the Hamptones celebrating their own beer release at Golden Grove Farm & Brew, and the Matt Fassas Trip at Gottrocks. Special mention goes to 8th State Brewing Company who is putting together yet another eclectic four band lineup as they do every Saturday night.

Sunday the show times align where you can take it all in without missing a note. Shannon Hoover kicks things off for brunch at Birds Fly South, Wasted Wine takes the stage at Quest Brewing Company in the late afternoon, and Darby Wilcox & the Peep Show and Phat Lip open things up for the touring Hollywood Horses at the Radio Room that evening.

Overall, that is a seriously good lineup of musicians from right here in the Upstate and that is just the tip of the iceberg. Check out everything that is happening right here on the iOnGreenville music calendar and get out and celebrate some local goodness.

One last thing…

What about that Brooks Dixon guy? Well, he chose to take a week off leaving me no shows this weekend so I can make amends for my oversight last week. I just might have to go have a steak and heckle him when he makes his return to Hall’s Chophouse next Thursday, Friday, and Sunday (9/5, 6, & 8).

Weekend Concert Calendar

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