Michael BarylaHey, you’ve found my music blog! Unless you already know me, you’re probably here because you’ve gotten my name at a jam or open mic somewhere in North Carolina.  Thanks for your interest, and I hope you enjoyed whatever it was I was playing that night.


Don’t miss the next Songwriters in the Round at Patrick Janes in Cary NC

songwiters-in-the-roundI’ve not posted in a while because I’ve been too busy playing. Tonight I played a few tunes at Patrick Janes in Cary, NC and realized that I’ve not written anything since the last “Songwriter in the Round” event a month ago.  So much for keeping the blog current.

The “Songwriters in the Round” continues to be held on the last Sunday of the month from 6:00PM to 8:00PM, with an open mic immediately following that runs until 9:00PM.  These events are well run, and as I said in the previous post, the food is great.

So if you are looking for a fun acoustic event and open mic on a Sunday night, put a note on your calendar to stop by Patrick Janes on August 31.


Songwriters in the Round at Patrick Janes in Cary, NC — Sunday, June 29

songwiters-in-the-roundJust a reminder that the monthly Songwriters in the Round event is tonight at Patrick Jane’s in Cary, NC from 6:00 to 8:00 PM.  That’s followed by an open mic from 8:00 to 9:00PM.

I played this back in April.  It’s a fun crowd and the food is great.  Definitely worth a visit.

If you are up for a double-header, you can head up to the Hibernian, just a few blocks away to check out the jazz jam too, which runs until 10:00PM.

Jazz Jam — Sunday June 29 at the Cary Hibernian

246588_567368996614275_2123208966_nLooking to play jazz on a Sunday?  Drop by the Hibernian in Cary NC on Sunday, June 29 from 7:00 to 10:00PM.  The jam is organized by Gary Howell and the Shameless Commerce Division, and has been running for the last few summer Sundays. Also in attendance will be  Doug Bristol (trombone) Jim Long (sax) Chris Mervyn (bass) Scott Griffin (drums), the Church Street Band, and some other fine musicians. You are invited to bring your horn (or voice).

Gary says that, so far, everyone who has  come has gotten on-stage at least an hour and has had a good time. If you want to be sure we can play the tunes you want, bring a chart.  I think they have the Real Books on hand.

New originals-only open mic at the Maywood, Raleigh NC

open_mike_2014_smI’ve learned there’s a new open mic at the Maywood in Raleigh, NC.  Sign up is at 7PM every Wednesday.

The Maywood typically  features bands that are on the heavier side of things,  so I’m not sure how solo acoustic performances would fare there.  However, the open mic is open to artists and poets as well as musicians,  and the open mic description is decidedly positive, so it’s worth checking out.

The Maywood will provide a space for artists to work on/show their art and there will be amps, an old jazzy drum-kit, and a guitar and a bass for those who “forgot” their gear at home.

Open mics in Cary, NC

abbey roadLooking for a place to play in Cary, NC?  Here’s your weekly guide:

MondaysFortnight Brewing Company from 6:00PM to 10:00PM. Fortnight Brewing Company is a Craft Brewery and Pub. It’s Cary’s first and only brewery, reproducing the tastes of UK beer styles.  I’ve not yet played this open mic, but have heard good things from others who have.  It’s on my list.  And now I’m realizing most of the covers I perform are from UK bands…

Wednesdays – always a popular night for open mics, you can find two in Cary:

Abbey Road Tavern & Grill from 9:00PM to midnight.  As the name implies. this is a music-friendly venue, with guitars and amps adorning the walls, frequent live acts, and a great open mic. I’ve played this one several times. It’s always fun and it is very well run by Tom Teachout.  Most Wednesdays I play in downtown Raleigh, but will often close out the eve here if time allows. Some evenings impromptu jam sessions break out amongst attendees in the spacious outdoor area.

Mac’s Tavern from 8:00 to 11:00PM. This open mic is held outdoors through October, weather permitting (that is, if it’s raining outside, they don’t move the open mic indoors, instead it is cancelled).  I’ve never played here, always arriving very late in the eve.  So many open mics, so little time.

Thursdays – I’ve recently discovered the open mic at The Corner Tavern and Grill. I think this open mic is relatively new, but it is also well run.  I played there this past Wednesday and was not too surprised to find some old friends from Abbey Road in attendance along with some new friends. This open mic runs from 8:00PM until midnight. I’ll be back to this one.

Sundays – Yes, Cary has a Sunday open mic.  It’s the last Sunday of every month at Patrick Jane’s.  I played a songwriter showcase there in April.  When there is a songwriter showcase, the open mic immediately follows, with the entire event running from 6:00PM to 9:00PM. This open mic is also well run by Maverick Rose.

All of these open mics have an acoustic vibe with percussionists often in attendance playing cajóns.


Acoustic Guitar magazine focuses on nylon-string guitars


If, like me, you are a fan of nylon-strings guitars or  are considering adding the warm sound of these instruments to your sonic palette, pick up the July 2014 issue of Acoustic Guitar magazine before it disappears from the shelves or read the digital edition online.

The July issue has a special focus section on nylon-string guitars. As usual, Acoustic Guitar does an excellent job of mixing information and inspiration. The issue contains useful tips for buying nylon-string guitars and profiles of luthier Greg Brandt, Brazilian musician Badi Assad and guitar virtuosos Rodrigo y Gabriela.

Kenny Roby & Michael Rank at The ArtsCenter on Saturday, June 28th

bd4c1d29-4cf2-4bc3-bdf6-e0a311dec859Kenny Roby and Michael Rank, two of the Triangle’s finest band leaders, come together for an unforgettable evening of live music at The ArtsCenter in Carrboro, NC on Saturday, June 28th at 8:00pm.

Kenny Roby’s life in music has gone from a musical journey to an odyssey, an intellectual and spiritual quest in which he has explored a wide array of musical styles and genres, absorbing them all and incorporating them into his art. Charting the continuum of that journey takes us to “Memories & Birds,” Roby’s latest album, an ambitious vision of a Southern past littered with provocative characters and the dark and foreboding places they inhabit.

Engraved as “outlaw folk”, “damaged country”, “dead mountain music”, and “alternative Appalachian”, Michael Rank’s work under his Russian roulette collected band, Michael Rank & Stag, has been marked as many things by many folks. His three albums (Kin, In The  Weeds, Mermaids) recorded and released in a fifteen month stretch came to roost in numerous Year’s Best Lists and global inked posts. An impending 2014 release of his latest work, Deadstock, is next to be placed into his singular dust-fed landscape.

Tickets for this show are $12 General advance, $8 Friends/Student advance, and $16 Day of Show. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit or call the Box Office at (919) 929-2787. The ArtsCenter is located at 300-G E. Main St. in Carrboro.

Songwriter circle at The ArtsCenter in Carrboro

songwriters-circle-carrboroI recently attended a songwriter circle at The ArtsCenter in Carrboro, NC  It’s held every other Monday and is coordinated by Kirk Ridge and Jay Ladd of the North Carolina Songwriters Co-Op.

There were perhaps a dozen songwriters in attendance representing a wide range of styles.   Chairs are arranged in a circle, and each attendee can opt to play a song in turn.  Some attendees bring printed lyric sheets to hand out.  After playing,  a group discussion ensues about the song structure, chord progression, lyrics, and so on. In the session I attended, there was time to loop through the circle twice.

It’s a friendly, open-minded group, and worth checking out whether you are a new or experienced song writer. You’ll get helpful, supportive feedback, enjoy some original music, and meet like-minded individuals.

At this writing, the next session is Monday, June 16 at 7:30PM.



Open mic hopping in the Raleigh warehouse district

berkeley-cafe-open-micThere is no shortage of Wednesday night open mics in the Raleigh NC area.  But if you want to check out several in one night, the warehouse district provides a unique opportunity.  There you will find three open mics within a couple blocks of each other.

Brewmasters has been running one for a while.  A half a block away, the historic Berkeley Cafe recently reopened and started a new open mic.  And around the corner, Deep South is just a block away, running an open mic “light.” as they call it.

I’ve played at both Brewmasters and The Berkeley Cafe.  Their open mics are well-run and the venues are fun to play.  I’ve not yet played Deep South, but I understand the Wednesday open mic has more of an acoustic vibe, unlike their Tuesday open mic.

You can easily drop by all three to see which venue has an atmosphere you like before deciding where to play. It’s not practical to play all three, as the lists often fill quickly and sequencing time slots is dicey at best.  Besides, open mics are also about networking, meeting new like-minded people, and having fun.  I prefer lingering after my set and listening to others play.


Burning Bridget Cleary plays The ArtsCenter on Sunday, June 15th

Burning_Bridget_ClearyAugust_Wall_Promo16ea429Burning Bridget Cleary is a distinctive Celtic trad band with an unusual combination of high-energy charisma and tightly woven fiddle/vocal harmonies. Led by Rose Baldino and Deirdre Lockman, Burning Bridget Cleary will perform live at The ArtsCenter on Sunday, June 15th at 7:00pm in Carrboro, NC.

Art Menius, Executive Director at The ArtsCenter, writes of the upcoming concert, “Burning Bridget Cleary enjoyed the #13 CD on folk music radio in the USA and Canada for all of 2013! Small wonder given the excitement this American based Celtic music juggernaut can generate. Their fourth album, Pressed for Time, hit #1 on Roots Music Folk and Roots Country Charts, receiving 5 Star reviews. The Irish Music Association topped off their fabulous year with a nomination for BBC as top Traditional Act in a Pub, Concert, or Festival. We are bringing Burning Bridget Cleary to The ArtsCenter on Father Days since the band grew and expanded from the foundation of a father/daughter duo, Lou and Rose Baldino. Come hear and see why Burning Bridget Cleary is a long time favorite at the Western North Carolina Highland Festival and one of the two or three top Irish music ensembles based in the USA these days.”

Tickets for the show will be $12 General advance, $8 Friends/Student advance, and $16 Day of Show. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit or call the Box Office at (919) 929-2787. The ArtsCenter is located at 300-G E. Main St. in Carrboro.

For more info visit