Brett Barest on Upstate Music

  • By cvbizz
  • January 8, 2019
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I have been a music lover all of my life. From my dad showing me the ways of the world through his vinyl collection that took up half of our living room to my first big concert in middle school (Bad Company and the Damn Yankees at the old Greenville Memorial Auditorium, I admit) to Manifest Records being the first place I ever drove myself when I got my license, there are countless life moments that have a pretty specific soundtrack ingrained in my brain. As far back as I can remember I was always seeking out the next new thing that nobody else was listening to, as if that somehow made the music better. Friends’ cooler older brothers were key to this in middle and high school and eventually the internet made the search for new things virtually limitless.

At no point in this journey, however, did it ever occur to me to write about music. That was for people who knew more about music or had more refined tastes – or so I thought. This all changed several years ago when, almost on accident, I took over the music column for the Anderson Independent Mail. The previous writer had moved on to a new job and my friend and editor needed a warm body to fill his slot. I was just warm enough, I suppose, and being physically incapable of saying “no” to things, I took over the role.

As it turned out, I found myself really excited about writing about music. I didn’t have to know all the bands in the world or possess an ounce of musical talent of my own. Instead, I just got to talk to musicians I enjoyed and tell the story of how they got to where they are today. Sometimes it was a just getting started kind of tale while others had a brink of stardom vibe. Each one was unique and fascinating and sometimes I made friendships beyond a story or show and that has been the most rewarding part of it all.

I told these stories for the paper and then for In The Know before they sadly closed up shop recently. I thought I was done writing about music until iOnGreenville’s Chris Bizzell reached out to me and asked if I wanted to continue this mission here. Saying yes did not require much consideration on my part as iOnGreenville is one of my most used apps on my phone and something I’m humbled to be a part of. I am, however, using this opportunity to switch things up a bit and approach this with a new vision that gets away from the “this is the show you need to see this week” pieces that I have been writing previously.

I want this new piece to be bigger than that.

Sure, I’ll spend plenty of time highlighting one of the 100 or so shows on iOnGreenville’s Féte Mobile Music calendar in the week ahead but I will also do other things like show and album reviews, venue spotlights, and talks with the people behind the scenes dedicated to supporting the artists themselves. I have learned that the local music scene has a lot of moving parts and a lot of great people with stories to tell and I hope to tell them here, one week at a time.

For me, that is what this whole writing thing is all about – telling a good story. There is no shortage of them to tell, especially in a town like ours, and I look forward to bringing them to iOnGreenville. Thanks to Mr. Bizzell for the opportunity and thanks to you for taking the time to read and share. Now let’s tell some stories…

Learn more about Brett at

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