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Soul and Spice

By Frank Ruggiero (

Article Published: Jun. 5 | Modified: Jun. 7
Soul and Spice

Soul Benefactor, featuring, from left, Rusty Smith, Aaron Burleson, Beaver Robinette, David Brewer, Tim Salt and Chris Hice, will open the 2014 Summer Concerts at the Jones House.

Photo submitted

Soul Benefactor and the Spice Creek Ramblers take the stage—or porch, in this instance—when the Jones House Community Center presents its first summer concert of 2014.

Starting at 5 p.m. Friday, June 6, the show serves as a warm welcome for summer in downtown Boone, along with June’s First Friday Art Crawl.

“The concerts season marks the start of summer in downtown Boone,” concerts organizer Mark Freed said. “Soul Benefactor will bring the lively and soulful sounds to set the tone of a First Friday Art Crawl evening.”

Soul Benefactor has been a soulful staple in the High Country for seven years, featuring the multifaceted talents of David Brewer, Aaron Burleson, Beaver Robinette, Rusty Smith, Chris Hice and new member Tim Salt.

“Soul Benefactor started when a bunch of well-versed, veteran musicians got together to play party music for their friends,” Freed said. “The members are multi-instrumentalists with deep repertoires of classic American soul, rock, country and blues of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. These guys are performing the radio hits you will hear on classic rock and Motown stations. It is music people love, and it is music that makes you feel good.”

Soul Benefactor will perform from 5 to 6:30 p.m., when the music will move indoors for the Jones House’s First Friday festivities. As art crawlers enjoy photography by Trudy Muegel, sculpture by Rachel Ballard Bigley and paintings by Renea Reed, the Spice Creek Ramblers will perform acoustic numbers in the parlor.

“The Spice Creek Ramblers are new to the Jones House concerts series, but not strangers to downtown Boone,” Freed said. “Nate Harris and Jesse Wood cut their musical teeth picking and singing on the downtown sidewalks, busking and trying out material. They were frequently found picking with Edward, downtown Boone’s musical busking fixture over the past decade.”

Harris and Wood started incorporating the music of Townes Van Zandt, Bob Dylan and Doc Watson into their repertoire, Freed said, but nowadays, they mostly play originals that focus on life in Appalachia. The Spice Creek Ramblers are expected to play until 8 p.m.

Freed said the concert will take place rain or shine, and concertgoers are encouraged to bring their own chair or blanket. Drivers are encouraged to use the parking available on Queen Street.
Next week’s concert will feature the lively jazz stylings of the Mercury Dames and Swing Guitars, continuing the series’ theme of genre-spanning sounds.

“Mark Freed has worked tirelessly to help diversify the musical offerings at the Jones House,” Brewer said, “so that people are not just hearing bluegrass and old-time, but they can hear soul, reggae and a little bit of rock ’n’ roll, and we thank him for that.”

The Jones House Community Center is located at 604 W. King St. in downtown Boone. For more information, visit

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