Art and music fill my days

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I was at the Evening Muse last Wednesday, watching The Corduroy Road, a really good band from Athens, Ga. that plays a blend of folk, rock and bluegrass. Termed the “bluegrass rockers” by the Athens Banner Herald, because of their rock 'n' roll edge, The Corduroy Road performs with a fervor that reminds me of acts like Paleface or the Avett Brothers.

After the show, I was talking to Drew Carman, singer and banjo player for the band. Drew has a master's degree in landscape architecture from the University of Georgia but left his blossoming career to focus on his passion — performing. I mentioned that the unpredictable income and heavy touring must be difficult sometimes but Drew quickly responded, “I wouldn’t change a thing. I love what I’m doing”.

It reminded me of how much my life has changed over the past few years since I opened my store. Like Drew, I too wouldn’t change a thing.

When I worked at Accenture and later at Bank of America, my job encompassed most of my time. I put in long hours every day, often working into the night. Sometimes I’d even work on the weekends. Work filled my life. Today, art and music fill my days. Effortlessly.

Seeing local art, for me, is no longer limited to the museums in Charlotte or crawling through NoDa several times a year. I’ve also discovered there are more than a handful of places to enjoy good music. I don’t have to wait for a good band to come to the Blumenthal, the Neighborhood Theatre or one of the arenas. I don’t have to settle for “live music” playing as background music in a restaurant while I’m having dinner. I don’t have to wait for big festivals to see a lot of good bands at one time. There’s good music playing somewhere in Charlotte every day — in small settings where you can easily talk to the musicians afterwards.

In the last three weeks, I’ve seen music at nine different venues (not counting my own): Prevue Music Hall, Snug Harbor, the Common Market, The Neighborhood Theatre, Philosopher’s Stone, Century Vintage, Petra’s Piano Bar, Smokey Joes, and the Evening Muse. Many of these are located one block from my store in Plaza Midwood, so it’s easy for me to walk to them after work. Others are just a few minutes away in the Elizabeth or NoDa. And there are many other small and mid-size venues throughout Charlotte.

Last Thursday, after watching the Altar Boyz at Spirit Square my friends suggested we grab some wine. I told them I had music I was going to go see; no time to waste sitting at a restaurant sipping wine when there was a good band to catch. The days of only seeing music several times a year or hearing it as restaurant background music are over for me.

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