The hills of western North Carolina seem to be one of those areas that attract and harbor musicians from all over the rest of the country, and a happy musical blend often results when different backgrounds come together in geographic proximity. Sure Thing is such a concoction, the result of some casual picking get-togethers in a small-town western North Carolina setting by people who all arrived here from somewhere else.
Karen “Sugar” Barnes has been an afficianado of vintage blues styles for decades, and has created her own engaging persona as a result of singing (and writing) in the genre she loves most. She divides her time between music and operating a pottery shop with her husband, Brant, and has been performing in the WNC area for many years since arriving here from the Washington, D.C. area.
Ron Smith is a unique instrumentalist, who manages to make a six-string electric guitar sound like a pedal steel guitar. It’s like magic. He does this with no other mechanical aids than a metal bar, and an incredible technique. Schooled in jazz, country and western swing he is the King of the Slidey Thing.
Dave Magill is one of those musical chameleons who blends in with whatever genre is currently on the playlist. He is equally adept on the guitar, piano and bass guitar. After roaming around Texas and the Southwest for several years, he was attracted to the Smoky Mountains because he was tired of being hot and sweaty all the time (and because he likes living in a place that could be thought of as the North of the South and the West of the East).
Uptown & Down Home is a compilation of some of our favorites, both new and old. Featured is Karen’s wonderfully expressive voice, alternating between tender ballads, earthy blues and rollicking old tunes like You Can’t Tell The Difference After Dark, a song popularized by Alberta Hunter back in the early 1920’s. There’s also plenty of tasty soloing by Dave and Ron to round out the tunes.