This will be yet another busy week for local musician and concert promoter Dave Brewer. On Thursday, his band Soul Benefactor will kick off the Thursday Night Summer Concert Series at Tate-Evans Park in nearby Banner Elk and on Friday he will perform at the Jones House outdoors with two of his bands, Soul Benefactor and the Worthless Sons-in-laws.
Immediately following the early evening Jones House gig on Friday, Brewer will be wandering back up King Street where he will host his annual summertime Birthday Bash to Benefit the A.M.E.N. Corner. From 9 p.m. on in the basement of Boone Saloon, Brewer and an array of all-star local musicians will do a relaxed, fun and wide-open jam that will hopefully encourage music lovers of the area to show up, shake a tail feather and donate to the cause that is the A.M.E.N. (Area Musicians Experiencing Need) Corner.
The A.M.E.N. Corner is Brewer’s idea of giving back to local musicians who are sick, elderly, or just in a bad way and simply want to keep the electric on. Creative individuals who choose to bring music into the world often find themselves in difficult situations as the music industry is still in a state of flux in this digital age. Whether it is a great local musician who is in a battle with cancer or others who get caught behind the eight ball, the A.M.E.N. Corner is a way for us who enjoy live music here in the High Country to give back in a direct and caring way.
Originally from Winston-Salem, Brewer found himself in Boone about the year 2000. He was relocating westward with a hometown band he was in at the time and Asheville was their goal. Fate, however, stepped in and Boone became the detour.
“I moved to Boone with my old band Six Foot Groove,” said Brewer. “We all moved here together. I was trying to move to Asheville, but one of the guys in the band had a girlfriend who was in school here at Appalachian State. I was just trying to go back to school. I had been going to Western Carolina University for what I refer to as my first freshman year around 1998. But, I didn’t do so well there because I didn’t give a darn about school at that time.”
Still, Brewer did not give up on his higher education, even though music was his real goal.
“I was always trying to go back to school, though, so I spent a year working at various jobs,” said Brewer. “I was a cameraman and production assistant at a Winston-Salem TV station, working the morning show. I worked from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m., which is a bizarre time to work. We were the Bad News Bears of the local market and it was laughably bad at times, but it was a job. I also painted arrows on the streets that summer for the city. It was at intersections for the straight right or left turns, leaning off the side of a truck with cans of spray paint. It sure was interesting.”
Eventually, Brewer enrolled at Appalachian State University in Boone in the journalism program and set about forming and participating in many successful bands here in the High Country. Now, he is a Boone music veteran who recently started the Carolina Ramble Productions booking company with Ashley Wright. Along the way, Brewer has carved out time over the last decade or so to make these benefit concerts happen.
Brewer chose to host this summer’s A.M.E.N. Corner musician’s benefit in a basement bar because it creates an in-the-round, 1960s house party atmosphere to the event.
“We are going to do this in the basement again because there were positive feelings when we held it in the basement the last time around,” said Brewer. “I do like the vibe down there. I want the local musicians that I invite to feel like they can relax and just step up and jam and I think a more casual downstairs vibe lends itself to that. It is as simple as getting off of a stool and coming on up to play.”
The ultimate goal, other than throwing a hometown music party, is to collect money for the charity. A $7 donation is suggested, but it is up to the concert audience to give as they wish.
“The A.M.E.N. Corner is like an envelope in my desk and nobody takes a nickel from it, I don’t take a nickel from it, and I give the raised money, cash-in-hand, to those in need, every dollar,” said Brewer. “One of the best things about playing with so many ensembles locally, and the beauty of it, is that the need finds me with relative ease. There are known musicians here locally that have experienced health problems yet at the same time are the last people on earth to ask people for money. Sometimes I will hear about their plight and show up at their house and help them out, and they are humbled and appreciative and vow to pay it forward the best they can. They are always incredibly appreciative. Musicians tend to be at the mercy of whatever social safety net that exists or doesn’t exist, and there is certainly no musician’s union around in these parts. My goal is not to elicit an emotional response, but to simply let them know that the Boone music community cares for one another and we are here to support one another, both musically and financially.”
For more information on all of the concerts mentioned above, see the Nightlife Listings, page. 10B