High County artist finds vibrant jazz scene

Staff reports

In another life, Pittsburgh native Maureen Renihan was a paralegal by day and a busy actress after hours. When she and her husband moved to the High Country around Boone, she faced the reality of having to re-establish her creative life.

But she was pleasantly surprised to discover an active jazz scene in a town better known for folk music and bluegrass. Before long she was singing with jazz bands in the area.

Things got quiet in the winter when many of the players decamped to Florida, so she took control of her own musical destiny and established herself as a headliner with the Maureen Renihan & Friends Jazz Band, a collective assembled from various veteran players from around Western North Carolina. Inspired by iconic artists like Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald, Renihan is become a fixture on the Boone music scene and has standing gigs at several venues.

The Maureen Renihan and guitarist Daniel Keller will perform at White Horse Black Mountain on Friday, May 20 as part of the venue’s ongoing Cabaret Jazz Series.

Keller, who lives in Asheville, has established himself as a versatile and sensitive guitar accompanist and a brilliant soloist. He’s adept at swing, bossa nova, blues, bebop, Latin funk and jazz standards.