Wed 11/15 – 7-9 PM – WNC Songwriter Sessions returns featuring Peter Berglund, Mare Carmody, and Nikki Talley. Hailing from Colorado, Peter Berglund decided to take the plunge last year and trade one set of mountains for another. His style of Folk Americana is replete with tales of longing, regret, and lost love – not without a healthy shot of wry wit. Mare Carmody is a voice of southern songwriting, having lived in Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas and North Carolina. Playing music has always been a way of life throughout her travels. Mare is currently part of the trio Carver Carmody & McIntire. Nikki Talley is an accomplished singer-songwriter, accompanying herself on guitar and clawhammer banjo. She and her husband, guitarist Jason Sharp, spent a number of years traveling the country performing, and are now based out of Brevard. With hosts Mare Carmody and Charlie Wilkinson. Any questions contact: WNCSongwriterSessions@gmail.com
Thurs 11/16 – 4-9 PM – 1940s Cocktails – The 1940s in North Carolina, like the rest of the US, is the era when change on an international scale strikes, and when our domestic peace is shattered by World War II. But in the early 1940s, NC remained a collection of farms and small towns even though a faraway war in Europe is acknowledged. That is until the stunning attack on Pearl Harbor and the declaration of war, which brought anxiety, separation, uncertainty, and loss. (source: Our State Magazine, Decade Series). NC becomes the forefront of the war efforts. Fort Bragg (old field-artillery training ground slated for decommissioning) opens its gates to an influx of 100,000 soldiers (including all 5 Army airborne divisions. A new Marine Corps base, Camp Lejeune, hosts 42,000 marines. By 1942, NC with more than 100 military installations, is home to more soldiers, sailors, Coast Guardsmen, and Marines than any other state. More than 10 percent of the state’s population, 362,500 men and women, serve in the armed forces, and more than 9,000 never return home. With their heroic stoicism they became known as “the greatest generation.” In Wilmington, a new fleet of cargo ships sprouts on the east bank of the Cape Fear River where the Liberty ships are manufactured at the rate of one per week for more than 4 years. By the end of the 1940s, in Chapel Hill, Raleigh and other cities, returning veterans headed to campuses to take advantage of the G.I. Bill of Rights. New state colleges open in Wilmington and Charlotte. Black Mountain College, offering a progressive curriculum integrating academics, arts, and practical skills, remains strong.
Natural disasters, fights for workers’ rights, and disease take their toll on North Carolina throughout the decade. In August 1940, 5 days of torrential rain in WNC counties causes a great flood and 2,000 massive landslides on mountainsides clear-cut by timber companies. Entire communities at Grandfather Mountain, Deep Gap, and Mortimer are swept away. The railroad to Boone is washed out, never to run again. NC Highway 411 to Wilkesboro is cut. The French Broad wipes out the bridge at Marshall, and the Tuckasegee rampages. That same month, more than 21 inches of rain turned downtown Boone into a muddy lake. At least 16 people are killed. Hundreds of miles to the east, the coast is slammed by the Great Atlantic Hurricane of 1944, which damages or destroys almost 800 homes. Tobacco was king in the 40s as the greatest wealth generator in the state. The fall tobacco market at Wilson is the largest in the world. Automobiles are sleek and fast like the 1940 Ford Deluxe V-8 coupe favored by NC moonshiners with promises of speed and status. The gasoline they guzzle costs 18 cents per gallon in NC. Polio, the same scourge that attacked President Franklin Roosevelt in his prime, strikes NC in two waves: In 1944 epidemic engulfs Hickory, and, four years later, Greensboro. The twin ordeals lead NC to become the first state to require that all children receive Jonas Salk’s new vaccine.
The 1940s is also the heyday of Hollywood movie stars like Ingrid Bergman, Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Katharine Hepburn, and Clark Gable. Ava Gardner, a farmer’s daughter from Grabtown, NC joins the list. Traveling big bands play hotel ballrooms in the cities and small local auditoriums in the heartland, and the radio reaches into newly electrified farmsteads, an invisible network of voices and music: speeches, comedies, variety shows, swing bands, and the border music of high lonesome tenors and twangy guitars and fiddles. One of those radio stations broadcasting the music is WBT in Charlotte: the first fully licensed commercial radio station south of Washington, D.C. Beginning in 1922 as an amateur station broadcasting at four hours a day at 100 watts became by 1944 the only station in the Southeast on the air 24 hours a day. Big band swing, hot jazz, mountain music, country blues, and bluegrass form the soundtrack of this decade of restless movement, striving, and optimism. The music of the decade has deep roots in North Carolina: Rocky Mount gave the world the composer and jazz great Thelonious Monk, as well as famed bandleader and 1940s radio personality Kay Kyser.
1940 Big Band cocktails: Glenn Miller Moonlight Cocktail – CB Frost, gin, Cointreau, lime & lemon juice; Thelonious Monk – C & K Brandy, lime juice, bitters, topped with ginger beer; Count Basie – Lairds Applejack, fresh mint, simple syrup, topped with club soda; Duke Ellington – CB Frost, gin, lemon juice, honey syrup; Benny Goodman – Martel, Cointreau, sour mix; 1/2 price – Armagnac/Calvados flight