Rolling with Stone

By Jessi Stone Guide editor | Jun 19, 2013
I snagged Nashville songwriter Kim Richey after the Songwriters in the Round show for a photo op.

In the round

I spent my weekend with my favorite guys — my husband who is celebrating his 29th birthday today (Happy birthday Matt!) and my dad (Happy Father’s Day).

To kill two birds — I mean to celebrate two events in one day, I decided to take Matt and my dad to Songwriters in the Round at Balsam Mountain Inn. They are polar opposites in many ways but if there’s one thing they both love, it’s good music. And Betty Jones at the inn has been graciously inviting me to come check out the songwriters event for months so this seemed like the perfect opportunity.

If you’ve never been to the inn, it’s amazingly beautiful. Near the Haywood/Jackson county line, the historic inn sits up on a hill overlooking the railroad tracks. I could imagine how bustling it must have been nearly a century ago when visitors would ride the train from down south to the cooler mountain weather here in Western North Carolina.

The buffet before the show was delicious — good food is also a common thread that ties my husband and father together. But the talent that is brought in monthly for Songwriters in the Round is unbelievable if you appreciate country/bluegrass music. These are the people mostly behind the scenes writing the hits for the country music stars.

On Saturday, singer songwriters Kim Richey, Irene Kelley and Thomm Jutz were supplying the music. The great thing about these three, besides their talent, is the fact that they’ve all played together before. They know each other’s songs and joined in with harmonies or added another guitar when the other was singing.

The Nashville-based singers sat in a small circle in the middle of the dining room and took turns playing their songs and telling the stories of how they were written. Irene, who has written songs for Trisha Yearwood and Loretta Lynn, told the story of how her song “A Little Bluer Than That” got picked up by Alan Jackson. Irene was singing it at the Grand Ole Opry one night and apparently Jackson heard it on the opry radio. He called her up and asked if he could record it. “You can’t make stuff up like that,” she joked.

I really enjoyed Kim’s voice and songwriting. She has received two Grammy nominations and People Magazine named her album Alternative Country Album of the Year. I couldn’t leave without her latest CD in hand. We all had a great time and I highly recommend getting a ticket for next month’s show with David Olney, Malcolm Holcombe and Marshall Chapman.



But if you want to hear some good bluegrass this weekend, head out to Maggie Valley Festival Grounds Saturday to hear great music from Balsam Range, Darren Nicholson Band, Eddie Rose & Highway 40, Mark Bumgarner and lots more during the second annual PlottFest.

The two-day festival will raise money for Head Start of Haywood and Jackson counties. I interviewed Bob Plott for a story this week all about the Plott hounds, which will be highlighted more during this year’s event. The music starts at 10 a.m. Saturday until 5:45 p.m. and will run from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. You don’t want to miss the dog shows or the bands.



Don’t miss the supermoon in the sky Sunday night. It’s the biggest, brightest moon of the year. It is the night when the moon will be closer to the Earth than at any other time during the year — in fact, the upcoming Super Moon will be the closest encounter between the Earth and the Moon until August 2014. If you get an awesome photo of the supermoon please send it to me.

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