Derek Smith and New Day

Derek Smith and his band the New Day (Alex Clark on drums and vocals and Kevin Johnson on bass). 

Sunday, July 19; Wednesday, July 22

Derek Smith

Pick your Derek Smith, playing two no-cover, outdoor shows this week on the Outer Banks.

The Portsmouth, Virginia-based singer-songwriter performs solo on Sunday, July 19, at Jack Brown’s Beer and Burger Joint in Kill Devil Hills.

Then his band, known as the New Day (Alex Clark on drums and vocals and Kevin Johnson on bass) joins Smith on Wednesday, July 22, at the Tap Shack in Duck. The solo show will feature Smith finger-picking on acoustic guitar, re-imagining tunes by Jack Johnson, The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Brett Dennen and Jimi Hendrix, among others.

He’ll also showcase some new originals, which will be released on an EP (with the band) later this summer.

The New Day gig, according to Smith, will be a “rocked-up singer-songwriter thing.”

Citing influences ranging from Cat Stevens to Jason Isbell, Smith is very much a storyteller who explores life, love and growing up.

“I’m kind of opening up a little bit,” says Smith, 42, who’s a husband, father and full-time musician, about his recent songwriting. “Maybe getting some things off my chest.”

His melodies, best described as folk-rock and Americana, perfectly fit the more mature lyrics.

Asked to pick two of his favorite new tunes, Smith chose “Fight Sleep” and “The Best Years.” The former is a mid-tempo number that has the narrator thinking too much at bedtime. On the latter, a chugging rocker, the narrator is, “just trying to figure some things out,” according to Smith.

  • Where and when: Sunday, July 19 — Jack Brown’s Beer and Burger Joint, 800 S. Virginia Dare Trail, milepost 8, Kill Devil Hills; Tuesday, July 21 — Tap Shack (behind Coastal Cravings), 1209 Duck Road, Duck.
  • Time: 6:30-9:30 p.m.
  • Cost: No cover
  • Info:
OBX Ghost Tours

“If you don’t believe in ghosts, you’ll still learn about local history,” says OBX Ghost Tour's Matt Marberry. 

Monday, July 20, Wednesday, July 22, and Friday, July 24

OBX Ghost Tour

“If you don’t believe in ghosts, you’ll still learn about local history.”

That’s OBX Ghost Tour operator Matt Marberry talking about the thrice-weekly, nighttime walks in downtown Manteo and along the town’s boardwalk on Shallowbag Bay.

Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse is on the route.

The 90-minute, roughly mile-long guided tour touches on such subjects as the notorious pirate Blackbeard, the Lost Colony, the Graveyard of the Atlantic and the origins of the town names Nags Head and Kill Devil Hills.

There’s a team of guides that includes Julia Scheer, Lara Parks, B.J. Keefer, Penelope Carroll and Stephanie Harkles-Moxley.

“They tell the same stories,” says Marberry, who started the tour in 2015, “but just told a different way.”

And what about seeing ghosts?

“We can’t guarantee it,” says Marberry, laughing. “But you never know.”

  • Where: 105 Sir Walter Raleigh St. (in front of Downtown Books), Manteo
  • When: Registration starts at 7 p.m., with the tour kicking off at 7:30 p.m.
  • Cost: $20 for adults, $18 for children 12 and younger
  • Info: 877-359-8447;;

John Harper has been covering the local entertainment scene for The Coast and Virginian-Pilot since 1994. He’s also written hundreds of stories on subjects ranging from history to sports and food. Harper is longtime radio broadcaster and program director on the Outer Banks and can be heard from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday on the local Triple A outlet WVOD-99.1-The Sound. He’s the host of the popular Saturday morning flashback feature “10 at 10” and is also an award-winning wedding D.J.

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