July 14--With summer finally here, maybe on your next cruise through town or cookout, try bumping to some songs written and recorded by local artists with the Record's first Summer Playlist.
Sidney Barnes -- "Silence"
Sidney Barnes is a survivor. Based out of the Asheville area, he's been recording and performing R&B, funk and disco for more than 50 years. A former member of Rotary Connection, he's recorded with Parliament, worked with Motown Records and written songs performed by The Shangri-Las, Muddy Waters and The Supremes.
Barnes says his songs are "real life stories," and "Silence" is no exception, dealing with themes of loneliness and isolation. The songwriter has known people addicted to drugs or whom have lost their families.
"When they walk in the house, they don't hear those sounds around," Barnes said.
Barnes is 72 years old and still going strong. In recent years, he's been performing in England, where his songs found popularity during the Northern soul boom. By the end of the year, he also plans to release a new full-length album he's been crafting at Collapsible Studios in Asheville.
"I'm going to keep going 'til I drop," Barnes said. "I've got the Dorian Gray thing going."
Saddle Brown -- "Welcome to the Pits"
Saddle Brown is a country music singer who lives in both Lincolnton and Nashville. It hasn't been easy making it in Nashville, and that struggle is reflected in the song.
Brown said that while Nashville can be a place where dreams come true, it's also a vampire den full of con artists.
"To get to your destiny, sometimes you gotta deal with principalities that aren't legitimate," Brown said. "I think anyone in any career deals with it."
Lately, however, Brown said he has started meeting the right people and is gaining momentum on radio and touring. He has a music video on YouTube for another song "Look Around the House."
People often look at Brown differently because he's a black country singer, but Brown says he lives country through and through.
"I sing country music because it's in my soul," Brown said.
The Neighbors -- "Carolina"
Bob Henson was fresh out of college in 1980, and he thought that meant he was going to have the summer off, but his dad had other plans. So, that year, Henson took a job with Southern School Services, which built lockers and installed auditorium curtains, and traveled across the state.
"That's how I got to see so much of North Carolina," Henson said. "We were in a different town every week."
Henson's lyrics paint a portrait of the state's varied landscape, complete with three-part harmonies.
It has now been close to 20 years since the band members first started picking in each other's living rooms. Today, you can catch the band performing throughout the foothills.
Jerry's Bones -- "Movin' On"
Those who like raw or rootsy jam bands will enjoy Jerry's Bones from Hickory. Kendra Matthews says the band's name derives from the Book of Jeremiah 20:9, where he mentions God's word being in his heart as a fire shut up in his bones.
The four-piece band features husband and wife Cameron and Kendra Matthews, Elliot Noto, and Ed Williams.
"While we're specifically a Christian band, a lot of our songs are inspired by our relationship with God," Matthews said. "A lot of people think it has to do with Jerry Garcia."
With its bluesy lead guitar, "Movin' On" sounds familiar, almost like a jukebox hit from the 1970s.
"Those ones that are really radio friendly just come to me," said Cameron Matthews, who wrote the song. "It's like God gave it to me, like he downloaded it. Stuff like that just comes from the heart."
Leaving Venus -- "Destiny"
Michael Miller, singer and guitarist from Hickory band Leaving Venus, said playing indie rock means rolling with the punches. There was particularly the case at one gig in Raleigh. Four bands played ahead of them and their set didn't start until 1:00 a.m.
"We played for about 10 minutes, and the lights got cut out," Miller said. "We got paid about $10 for the night."
After playing through the Carolinas over the past couple years, Miller and his other bandmates, Thomas Grell and Chris Cornwell, are planning to focus on playing more locally, and their perseverance is evident in "Destiny," a song Miller wrote on the band's new album.
"It's the struggle of doing what you want, but you gotta pay the bills," Miller said. "[The song's] about putting what you want to do first."
Leaving Venus' debut album is available at www.leavingvenus.bandcamp.com [http://www.leavingvenus.bandcamp.com/].
Pan Jive -- "This New Day"
Few things are more associated with summer music more than steel drums, and Pan Jive has been providing Catawba County with island beats since 2000, when Rick Cline, band leader, wrote a grant for steel drums.
While the band does perform at some outdoor pool events, according to Cline, most of their outdoor concerts seem to happen in the fall months.
Today the band has six members: Cline, Christa Buff, Laura Greene, Emily Fox, Stephanie Wilson and Matt Decker.
Cline wrote "This New Day," and it was recorded by the full band. Cline, 41, has been drumming since he was 3, and he prefers to write songs on the computer.
"I'll play melodies from my head, and then I'll start to hear other parts," Cline said.
The song can be found on the group's album "Party in Our Pans."
Like what you hear?
Tell us about other local musicians and their songs for future HDR Playlists.
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