Last night the Dixie Bee-Liners played at the beautiful Mast Farm Inn in northwestern North Carolina. The drive through the mountains after you get off the interstate at Johnson City, Tenn., is one of my absolute favorites (route 321). Winding, but not dangerously so, there are lakes, rivers, and river valleys that reveal themselves around every turn of the two-lane road. As I crossed the North Carolina line I couldn’t help but think (especially since I had Diana Gabaldon’s An Echo In The Bone in my car CD player), “This is near where Jamie and Claire’s cabin on Fraser Ridge must have been!” (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, don’t worry about it, but you really should read Outlander and the books that follow it.)
The Inn is idyllic and since I forgot to take pictures yesterday, and it’s raining this morning, I’ll just link to their website. My room last night was the Blacksmith’s Shop, which is a lot more luxurious than the name might suggest. Take a look at these pictures. See that chair? I’m sitting there right now.
Henri Deschamps and his family own and run the Inn and are kind enough to occasionally host all-acoustic shows for about 25 people (that’s a sell-out!). Henri also runs the Bluegrass Legacy Facebook page, which has amassed a following of over thirteen thousand fans. This was the first time the Bee-Liners had played here and we (along with every other band who does this gig) now want to move and become the house band.
They moved all the tables out of one of their dining rooms, moved in rows of chairs, and we stood in front of our very attentive, very appreciative crowd and played two sets. That was after they fed us a stunningly good supper of Fire-Roasted Chunky Tomato Soup, Caesar Salad, fancy Corn Bread, white bread, and herbed butter. They brought Brandi some of their own honey to put in her coffee and it was wonderful—light and flowery tasting.
Playing for such a small, close crowd is fun, and we were able to get a nice rapport going. Jason Burleson (banjo player for Blue Highway) and his wife and son came to watch and were sitting on the front row. Every mistake I made I thought, “Jason’ll hear that” even though I knew no one else would be able to tell. It was a bit disconcerting.
Our bass player Sav, who is a powerful singer, sang, “Walls of Time” in the second set and just killed it. He actually got a standing ovation. When he was done Brandi turned to me and said, “Why don’t you sing one?” I answered, loud enough for the crowd to hear, “Seriously? You’re going to make me follow THAT!?” It got a laugh.
Soon there will be YouTube clips of our performance up, and I’ll try to link to them when they appear. The Mast Farm Inn truly treated us like royalty, and this is definitely a gig we’ll jump at the chance to do again. I just hope they