I was out running errands on Tuesday morning, and while on my way back from the mechanic’s, I decided to stop by Jubilee Music Store, in Kill Devil Hills. As a regular customer, I parked in my usual spot, walked up to the front door and it was only then that I noticed the door was locked and the place was empty. That’s when I saw the sign that indicated it had moved to a new location. Luckily for me, it was just a few doors down in the same shopping complex, Seagate North Shopping Center.
I walked in and, as usual, was greeted by employee Amanda Williams, but was taken aback by how much larger the space was and the fact there was a stage — inside the store. I went to the rear of the store where owner Ronnie Swaim was working on repairing gear, exchanged pleasantries and moved on to look around the new digs.
Ronnie and Nancy Swaim are two of the nicest individuals you could hope to meet. I was heartened to see that, given their health issues of late, business was improved enough for this new expansion. Ronnie has had a few heart issues (he survived a major fall breaking his back several years ago),and he's making the best of it, following his regimens and keeping up on his doctor’s appointments. Nancy is currently in a major bout with lung cancer and fighting as hard as she can. Having dealt with the scourge of this disease in my own family, I can tell you it’s not easy. Given that there is probably nobody in our nation that hasn’t been adversely touched by cancer, and it’s heartbreaking effects, we all need to be soldiers in this war.
As a working musician, I know the value of a local brick and mortar operation that, in a pinch, on the way to a gig, I can get, in short order, my picks, guitar strings or whatever else I might need to ply my trade, such as it is.
In this age of huge corporations and giant Internet retailers forcing “mom & pop” operations into extinction, the Swaim’s success should be celebrated — and celebrate they will with a Grand Reopening/Benefit Concert on Sunday, Aug. 18. The event, which is from 2 to 7 p.m., will include a cookout from 3 to 6 p.m. (donation-only), two stages with live music, raffle items, and a silent auction. The event also serves as a fundraiser to help offset the cost of Nancy's rising medical bills.
As for the live music, some of the best musicians on The Banks will be doing their things beginning at 2 p.m., among are the legendary guitarist Joe Mapp, Drifting Sands Bluegrass, Seagrass, Govment Chezze, Manday Huge, and the future of the Outer Banks music community —the kids of the Mustang Outreach program — and more.
But, to show the kind of impact the Swaims and Jubilee have had on our local music scene, Zack Mexico, the OBX’s musical gift to the planet, are donating their time and talents to show their appreciation and support with a special performance. These are good guys and world class in ability and heart.
I should also mention that food and drink specials from Jubilee’s next-door neighbor, Two Roads Tavern, will also be available for the event.
So if you’re a local and you haven’t had a chance to check out Jubilee Music, come on out. If you’re just visiting, make your vacation just that much better with a free concert that’s for a great cause.