For the past couple of years Jay Brown’s “Mountain Made Music” series at the White Horse Black Mountain has spotlighted Western North Carolina songwriters.
The show at 7 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 18 is subtitled “The People’s Choice”, since Jay’s special guests, Dylan McGonigle and Old Sap, both made big impressions at this year’s Brown Bag Songwriter’s Competition in Asheville.
Although he’s a recent North Carolina transplant, McGonigle’s music was shaped by his years living and working in Kansas City. He was drawn to the Asheville area by the natural beauty, as well as the quality, quantity and diversity of the music scene. He works in the folk tradition mapped out by ’60s icons like Bob Dylan and Phil Ochs with an emphasis on observant lyrics and sharp word play.
As sound man for the White Horse, he also has the opportunity to learn from a wide variety of other talented artists. For example, one recent performer, bluesman Roy Book Binder, has personal roots in the Greenwich Village folk scene that nurtured some of McGonigle’s heroes. Dylan is quickly making his mark on the local scene, having won the People’s Choice Award at the Brown Bag Songwriter’s Competition.
Old Sap’s roots are even farther west, Montana to be precise. Billing himself as “at least a bearded man with a banjo”, he fuses his rhythmic clawhammer stylings with folk, Americana and blues to tell stories of joy, loss, adventure and uncertainty. He recently traded the rugged Rockies for the Appalachians and, like McGonigle, opened a lot of ears to his talent at Brown Bag with his life-affirming songs.
Ketch Secor of Old Crow Medicine Show calls “Mountain Made Music” host Jay Brown “the most authentic songster to come out of the Carolina High Country since a man named Doc Watson."
A singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, he has hundreds of classic songs in his repertoire as well as a hundred-odd originals. Brown’s musical tastes and talents are wide ranging, as evidenced by his membership in the Boone-based roots band The Lazybirds, Indian-flavored world music group Shantavaani and early-jazz cats Swing Guitars. In 2007 he founded The Jay Brown One-Man-Band, in which he deftly handles vocals, guitar, harmonica, percussion and piano.
If you choose to see the People's Choice at the White Horse:
What: Jay Brown's "Mountain Made Music" series
Who: Brown hosts songwriters Dylan McGonigle and Old Sap
When: 7 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 18
Tickets: Available at whitehorseblackmountain.com, $10 in advance or at the door