Ahhh Folly Beach. It is its own Charleston way of life. My first visit here was about a week ago and I immediately fell in love with its Caribbean feel and people. After spending several years in south Florida I have become very attached to the beach life. While it is WAY off the beaten path compared to downtown Charleston it is worth the trek.
Now back to Chico Feo.
A locals beach bar at its best. All outdoor (at least all that I saw) it looks like an adult beach side city park with beer and kickass food. Filled with 25-50 year old regulars I felt right at home. The “WHITE LINE COWBOYS” set was long, interactive, and baddass.
The highlight for me was when Mike Martin asked an 8 year old boy what he wanted to hear and his response was “roll me up and smoke me when I die” during which he sat in on the drums. AWESOME!!!
It was a perfect night that I was blessed to be a part of.
Now I can’t wait for the next show in southern Indiana at the “HYPERION MUSIC AND ARTS FESTIVAL”
“I’ve been listening to live music for 30 years, and this is one of the most relaxed venues I’ve ever been to. And everyone actually seems to be listening to the music, instead of talking over it.”
This was one of the first things I heard when I walked through the doors of The Acoustic Room this past Saturday, and it sums up my experience very well. I walked in at 9:00 as the warm-up act, Drew Gruntle, was playing Sixth Avenue Heartache by The Wallflowers. Around 9:30, the music quieted down as the Indiana Ramblers prepared to take the stage, but you hardly noticed it as conversation filled the void.
The Acoustic Room may be a music venue, but it’s also a place for community. The walls are covered in artwork from local artists, and the letters from Doc’s Music Hall hang over the tables. But it’s not just the décor that gives The Acoustic Room life; it’s the people inside it. I watch as people jump from conversation to conversation, with PBR’s and Rolling Rock tallboys in hand. As I’m watching, I’m joined by a group of people who were visiting The Acoustic Room for the first time. After a few minutes of conversation, I know how they all met, and they’re asking me when my girlfriend and I are getting married and how many kids we’re having (not soon and none, just in case you’re wondering). In almost any other context, this would have been annoying, but something about the vibe of the room makes conversation seem more relaxed and sincere.
Before long, Indiana Ramblers come on stage. I’m not a bluegrass aficionado, but I can appreciate good live bluegrass, and it was delivered. While I’m drinking my White River Stout (beer brewed in Muncie at New Corner Brewery), I listen to original music and covers of other artists. Of course, what is a bluegrass show post-2013 without a cover of Wagon Wheel? Naturally, this becomes a sing-along for the whole crowd. After a few more songs, I call it a night. As I walk home, I hear the music fade away behind me, but Wagon Wheel is still rolling around in my head.
This past weekend was a long one- four shows in three days! As fun as these runs can be, they’re often tiring as well. This set of shows, however, was particularly special.
We started off Friday evening at Chico Feo on Folly Beach. It’s a beautiful little backyard bar- a few blocks from the beach, surrounded by trees, with a small stage at the back of the lot. A new friend of ours from Folly- Ricky- joined us on the mandolin for part of the set. His grandchildren were there, enjoying the music as well as just running around and being kids. At the end of the night, Ricky’s granddaughter, Aurora, joined him on stage to sing one last song- Worried Man Blues. As well as being downright adorable, it also seemed a hopeful statement about many things- family, community, the future of music.
Saturday we had another very similar surprise. We played at the Brickyard in Mt. Pleasant, a cool sports bar with an awesome stage. Some time into our set, a young boy- six or seven years old- comes in with his parents and sits at the bar. Mike asked him what he’d like to hear, and he threw several options at us- Marshall Tucker Band? Johnny Cash? We were pleasantly surprised. Then we learned he played the drums! We invited him to sit in on the snare for a few songs, and he blew us away with his rhythm and focus. When we talked to Gavin and his parents later, we learned that Gavin himself had chosen to come see us. His parents look for local bands that start early enough to accommodate a seven-year-old’s bedtime, and then let Gavin listen to their music. They had done that Saturday, and he chose us. To see such a love for music- especially live music- at a young age was amazing. They told us they’d be at our Sunday afternoon gig as well.
Sunday morning came early, but we got some coffee and water and headed back to Folly Beach. When you get to play music on the edge of America on a Sunday afternoon, how can you really complain? We set up outside despite the looming storm clouds and began our set. Soon enough, Gavin and his parents, his two sisters, and a few friends showed up. We had Gavin join us on the cymbals, and then we got the whole fam damnily! His sisters and one of their friends joined Mike on tambourine and found percussion (a stool from the bar- the brilliant idea of Mr. Hatfield). As the rain moved in, we moved inside for a pub-style acoustic set that was well-received.
Sunday night means Honky Tonk Sundays at Big John’s Tavern in Downtown Charleston. After a rough set last Sunday, we moved forward with positive attitudes and had a fantastic time. A friend of ours from the Holy City Confessionals at the West Ashley Home Team BBQ, Ripley, came up for a wonderful acoustic set of his original music.
What can we say? We’re blessed! Throughout the weekend, we saw the power that music has in everyone’s lives- from Ricky to his granddaughter Aurora- Gavin’s parents supporting his love of live music- and Gavin himself, thrilled to be on stage with us and excited about the guitar lessons he’ll be starting next month. We are reminded of what we want to build as a band- a community of people of all ages and from all walks of life, united by their love of listening to and performing music.
Look for us this upcoming weekend! We’ll be at Rosie O’Grady’s in Beaufort on Friday, and the Smoky Oak Taproom on James Island Saturday night. Then it’s back to Big John’s for Honky Tonk Sunday.
– Caryn “EV” Egan