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The Hinson Girls

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As a performer, your job is to entertain. No matter how much a virtuoso you are on your instrument it doesn't mean a thing if you are unable to entertain your audience.

The Hinson Girls succeed at both of these things. Playing a combination of bluegrass and gospel each member can hold their own in a room full of pickers. A young band, ranging from 15 to 20 years old, all sisters. Katelyn, Allison, Melissa, and and Kristin.

PJ Brunson

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When we think of "folk music", our minds wander to the past, to the vivid stories about the real characters that our favorite folk songs are about, and to those phenomenal artists who made those stories come alive! We think of Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Woody & Arlo Guthrie and Neil Young. 
When we think of singer-songwriters, we reflect on the poetic and heart-felt style of writers like James Taylor, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, Seals & Crofts, Jim Croce and the emotional wellspring of their songs. 
And when we our thoughts go to contemporary performer-songwriters, our favorite ballad and blues artistes materialize; favorites like Norah Jones, Sheryl Crow, Darius Rucker, Bonnie Raitt and Taylor Swift.

Buskin Blues is a feature length movie about street performing in Asheville, North Carolina. A look into the lives and performances of those that come to play there.

Buskin Blues
Charlotte Film Festival
September 27th, 2015
3:20 pm
Carolina Cinemas
9630 Monroe Road
Charlotte, North Carolina

More information about other films showing today and during the course of the festival is available here:


English: Example of a piano staff. Español: Ej...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Have you ever wanted to record or use a song but didn't know who to contact for the rights to distribute your copy on CD, stream it, or use it in a film? Not an easy  thing to do.

The first step it to check with a mechanical licensing agency such as the Harry Fox Agency. A mechanical license is what you will need to distribute a copy of your song on a CD or stream.  A syncronization license will be needed for TV or film.  You may also need additional rights from the publisher.

English: Fats Waller, three-quarter length por...

Fats Waller (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I've seen a couple of Broadway musicals in my time and more than a few musicals  and plays on stages large and small here in the south.  There's nothing I enjoy more than a small intimate theatre with a local production.  Why?  I guess it's recognizing the talent we have in our own midst. Another reason is I sometimes know the performers and am blown away by seeing them transform themselves into someone so different from their normal selves that I start to forget what they're like in real life.  That takes a lot of work I'm sure, and when it happens it's both beautiful and inspiring.

The other thing I like about small theatres is that I can see, hear, smell, and  sometimes even taste (smoke bombs for instance) what is happening on the stage.  All the while with my attention focused on that actor or interaction I'm most  interested in.  No camera leading me back and forth.  I'm in control of the viewpoint.

One such musical that I saw locally which really impressed me is Ain't Misbehavin'.  It's a story, almost 99% musical, about Fats Waller, a Tin Pan Alley songwriter and piano player that was popular in the 20's and 30's.
Aislin answers my questions as we talk about her acting and performing career both deliberately and thoughtfully. Better than you might expect from someone who is barely a teenager. You can tell she wants to get it right. Her poise is no surprise though as she has been active as a performer since she was 3 years old. That builds character.

The daughter of nature loving and artistic parents, her mother worked at a performing arts school for a time and her father is an art gallery owner in Asheville, North Carolina.  She grew up surrounded by talent and enlightened minds. Not to mention the support she has received from her parents and mentors along the way.  That can make a big difference in the formative years.

 You can tell a lot about a person by the people they regard as role models. For Aislin it is Emma Watson for being a down to earth actor that uses her celebrity to bring attention to the causes she favors and Malala Yousafzai for her bravery in standing up for the right to go to school and get an education in a country where young girls are discouraged from doing so. A refreshing outlook for someone to aspire to.

Photo Credit: Amanda Guy Studio
With the ability to sing, dance, and act Aislin's talents transfer easily to the movie screen where the key to a believable performance is to act but not overact. Here is what her director on several films, Kira Bursky of All Around Artsy, had to say about her.

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Resurrection After-party Album Cover.jpgResurrection After-Party is the latest album from Stephanie Wolfe.  It is being released on her Chipped Polish Records label tomorrow, February 14th, Valentines Day. 

This album is heavy into electronica.  My favorite song is Excited although Something Wicked is very popular too.

Chipped Polish Records is committed to female artists in the genres of pop, electronica, rock, and experimental music.

Thomas Lorenzo on acoustic guitar

 (Photo credit: Fgil65 via Wikipedia)

If you enjoy music and poetry and have never experience an artists in the round type of performance you should attend this one presented by The Charlotte Singer-Songwriters and Poets Circle.

Five performers present their songs and poetry, taking turns on stage, for your enjoyment.  Sometimes artists that are touring the country are booked to perform and at these in-the-round events.  So you never know what to expect.


One of Tweetsie Railroad's two steam locomotiv...

One of Tweetsie Railroad's two steam locomotives, 2-8-2 #190, on May 20th, 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tweetsie Railroad, located between Boone and Blowing Rock, North Carolina, is seeking entertainers for their 2014 season.

They are needing singers, dancers, actors, equestrians, magicians, and specialty acts.

2014 Local Auditions
January 25 & 26
9:00 am Registration / Auditions begin at 10:00 am
I.G. Greer Hall
Appalachian State University
401 Academy Street
Boone, NC

Crystal Tyler.jpgJade Castle Studios is an asset to the upstate area, the Carolinas, and beyond.  It is a place where actors, performing artists, writers, photographers, filmmakers, and artists of all kinds can meet and rub shoulders with one another.  You can attend classes or rent space for your projects such as a songwriter's club, writer's club or as a space where you could audition actors for your upcoming film.

Started earlier this year and operated by Crystal Tyler it is just beginning to take hold and needs your help.  If you are able to give just a small amount to assist with this well intensioned project it will help filmmaking and the performing arts thrive in the community and their will be some perks for you as well.

"Crystal and Jade Castle have been a great resource for me in connecting with other professionals. Whenever Other Vision needs to look for talent, I give Crystal a call. Through Jade Castle, she's already helped connect me with so many other great film professionals in the Greenville area." - Collins Abbott White - Other Vision Studios

If you can't afford to donate then please share this message with your friends so they can learn about Jade Castle Studios and how it might benefit them.

Learn more about Jade Castle Studios in the article below by The Greenville News and in my conversation with Crystal.


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KiraBursky by Abbey Sacks.jpg
Photo and Makeup by Abbey Sacks
Kevin Skinner America's Got Talent 2009 in Las...

Kevin Skinner America's Got Talent 2009 in Las Vegas at Planet Hollywood Casino (Photo credit: bcbusinesshub via Wikipedia)

America's Got Talent is a popular TV series featuring a variety of performers competing to be the winner with a Las Vegas show of their own.  

The finalist and many of the favorite and top acts will also appear in the America's Got Talent Live Tour  after the TV competition ends.  So this is a great opportunity to break into the big time.

Don't miss your chance when they come to a city near you.

Find the city closest to  you below.
Kira ABYFM1.jpgKira Bursky is a talented young lady, filmmaker, and musician.  I always look forward to finding out what comes next from her.  She splits her time between home in Ahseville, NC and Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan.  A boarding high school where she is in the Motion Pictures Arts program.

Kira has just directed and completed her short film Clean which was made for the Asheville 48 Hour Film Project and won the award for Best Cinematography.   Recently I had the opportunity to talk with her about the film and some of her other work.  Find out what what she has to say below.
Wild & Scenic Film Festival - Riverfest.pngThe Wild & Scenic Film Festival is a traveling show of films on the environment. It will be coming to Valle Crucis, North Carolina at the end of this month in conjunction with Riverfest.  There will be 10 short films along with music, food, a raffle, and a moonlight river float.

A climate of change is the theme for this years lineup.  The raffle will be for outdoor gear and there will also be a star party after the films to view the stars in the dark skies of Valle Crucis.

John Mellencamp (singer, songwriter, and guita...

John Mellencamp (Public domain photo by Peter Rimar. via Wikipedia)

What do you get when you put John Mellencamp and Stephen King together then add T-Bone Burnett for good measure?  A musical called Ghost Brothers of Darkland County.  

Conceived by John who enlisted the help of Stephen King as the writer, it's a southern gothic musical about a sibling rivalry that turns to tragedy.  John wrote all the songs for the musical.  After more that 10 years of collaboration they brought on T-Bone Burnett (music producer of O Brother, Where Art Thou? and many others) to help pull it all together.

The musical will have shows coming this October and November in Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Ohio, Michigan, and Iowa.  In addition it will be released as a digital and hardcover book.  The soundtrack which is available on iTunes includes Elvis Costello, Neko Case, Kris Kristofferson, Sheryl Crow, Dave Alvin, Phil Alvin, Taj Mahal, Ryan Bingham, Roseanne Cash, and John Mellencamp with Lily and Madeleine Jurkiewicz.   

See the promotional video for the musical below.

Broadway After Dark.jpg
Debbie's Angels Productions is holding auditions for its popular revue Broadway After Dark.  This is a racy, rowdy revue of some of Broadway's biggest hits including songs from Chicago, Rent, Gypsy, Smokey Joe's Cafe, etc.  They are looking for men and women. You will be performing songs, dances, scenes and monologues from various shows when you audition so please be prepared.

  • Must be 18 years or older.
  • 32 bars (a verse and a chorus) of a Broadway song.  If you don't know any Broadway songs, prepare a pop, rock, gospel or country song.  Bring sheet music if you have it but also be prepared to sing acapella.
  • If you are NOT a singer, please prepare a 1-2 minute comedic or dramatic monologue.
  • Bring a headshot and resume if you have it.   If you don't, no worries. Just come anyway!

Debbies Angels Logo.jpg

Debbie's Angels Productions is seeking a music director for their Spring theatre classes.  You must be able to read music, teach vocal parts and play the piano.  There is some pay.  Please email your resumes to  Looking for someone in the Onslow County or surrounding areas of North Carolina. 

A ball of fire singer out of Tennessee with an acoustic guitar, and a harmonica playing rhythm section of a fella from Texas punching out the beat.  That's what you get when you see Shovels and Rope.

Cary Ann Hearst
and Michael Trent now call Charleston, South Carolina home and have recently been touring the U.S. in support of their new album O' Be Joyful.

Check them out below in their recent appearance on The David Letterman Show.