Gathering ‘Round the Open Mic

Wednesday night at Liquid Roots about building community

By Michael M. Barrick

LENOIR, N.C. – Since the first European settlers put down roots in Lenoir and other areas of Caldwell County, music has been part of daily life. Neighbors have, do and will continue to gather on front porches with string instruments handed down through the generations.

However, musicians have always also been part of the community’s arts scene. With the opening of the Liquid Roots Brewing Project at 1048 Harper Ave. NW in Lenoir, a vibrant new venue has been established for this rich tradition to grow.

The Benson, a jazz/rock duo from Western North Carolina – consisting of A.J. Herrick and Daniel Reece – host the Wednesday evening open mic. Herrick is excited about the brewery’s future. “I recently moved from Houston where I was performing in the Houston music scene for four years. Having been away from North Carolina, I grew to miss my home and am now beyond excited to be able to do what I love in the state that I love, specifically Lenoir.” He continued, “I do have a vision and so do the other local musicians in Lenoir, and we want to help grow Lenoir through our music, and bring folks in. Since being back, I have a huge passion for seeing the potential that Lenoir has become a reality.”

He continued, “The open mic is a platform that Daniel and I are very fortunate to have, and we want to use it to bring in more talent from all over. We also encourage all age groups and all types of art, whether music, poetry, storytelling, comedy, etc. We just want people to come together and make the arts in general and build a community.”

It seems to be working. Below are photos from some of the musicians that were at last week’s open mic. At least one other person took time for story-telling.

The Benson open the evening with a short set, then open the mic to others.

A.J. plays.

Daniel demonstrates his intensity.

Dwight McGlynn plays one of his original tunes.

William Ritter, self-taught on the fiddle, came in from Patterson for the fun.

Patrick Crouch, seemingly everywhere, dropped by to share a tune or two.

The open mic is every Wednesday from 7 – 10 p.m.

© Michael M. Barrick, 2019. Note: This is part 2 of a 2-part story. Part 1, a feature about the owners of Liquid Roots Brewing Project, can be read here.

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