Michael BarylaWelcome to 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.


Interested in playing nylon string guitar?

AG_283_largeIf you are interested in playing nylon string guitar, pick up the July 2016 issue of Acoustic Guitar magazine.   The issue contains several articles that will be of particular interest to steel string players considering  expanding their sonic palette, including tips for playing nylon,  reviews of nylon string guitars, and a list of essential non-classical guitar albums.

If you’ve not been considering a nylon string guitar, listen to some of recommended albums.  You might change your mind once you hear how versatile the instrument is.

It’s a common misconception that a classical guitar is useful only for classical music or flamenco music.  I routinely mix genres when playing my classical guitar, recklessly hopping between classical, bossa nova, jazz, and rock.  I can’t  do that with the same subtlety of expression on a steel string guitar.

For a bit of inspiration, here’s Earl Klugh playing the jazz standard “Once Upon a Summertime” from the 1989 Solo Guitar album, one of recommendations from the Acoustic Guitar staff.


I hear loopers – again and again

Recently I attended an excellent Jesse Cook concert in Charlotte, NC and noticed looping was occasionally being used even though Jesse had a full band. Jesse even explained to the audience what it was and how he was about to use it before one of his songs. I’ve also noticed an increasing use of loopers by local guitarists when they need accompaniment for a solo and no other chordal instrument is available.

Being a bit of a purist, I’ve resisted the urge to experiment, instead sorting out how do chord melodies, which works well for the kinds of songs I perform. But here we have Jesse, swaying me to the electronic side with this improvisation he posted. Enjoy.

Open mics in the Raleigh, NC area

Here is a list of open mics in Raleigh and the surrounding area.  Thanks to April Anders for creating the list.

Sunday 2:00 Open Jam Carrboro Johnny’s Gone Fishing

Sunday 7:30 Open Jam Durham Triangle Blues Society (First Sunday of every month)

Sunday 9:00 Open Mic Carrboro 2nd Wind

Sunday 9:00 Open Mic Burlington Brewballs

Sunday 9:30 Open Mic Durham James Joyce Irish Pub

Monday 9:00 Open Jam Raleigh O’Malley’s Pub

Monday 8:00 Open Mic Carrboro Southern Rail/The Station

Monday 9:00 Open Jam Durham The Tavern (Blues/Jazz Jam)

Tuesday 6:30 Open Mic Raleigh Saints & Scholar’s Irish Pub

Tuesday 7:30 Open Jam Durham The Blue Note Grill (Blues Jam)

Tuesday 8:00 Open Mic Raleigh Deep South

Tuesday 8:30 Open Jam Raleigh The Pickled Onion

Tuesday 8:00 Open Jam Cary Mac’s Tavern

Tuesday 9:00 Open Jam Cary Abbey Road Tavern & Grill (Full Back Line Available)

Wednesday 6:00 Open Mic Raleigh Compass Rose Brewery

Wednesday 6:30 Open Mic Pittsboro Flat Tire Lounge (Inside the Pittsboro Road House)

Wednesday 7:00 Open Mic Burlington Wicked Mojo

Wednesday 7:30 Open Mic Wakefield Wakefield Wine Cellar

Wednesday 7:45 Open Mic Wake Forest Gatehouse Tavern

Wednesday 8:00 Open Mic Raleigh Amazing Ring Tones Music (Coffee Lounge)

Wednesday 8:00 Open Mic Pittsboro The City Tap

Wednesday 8:00 Open Mic Raleigh Deep South (Acoustic Night)

Wednesday 8:00 Open Mic Raleigh Berkley Café

Wednesday 8:00 Open Mic Durham 58 Fifty Bistro & Martini Bar

Wednesday 8:30 Open Jam Raleigh Brewmaster’s Bar & Grill

Wednesday 9:00 Open Mic Durham Skewer’s Bar & Grill

Wednesday 9:00 Open Jam Apex Rock Harbor Grill

Thursday 7:00 Open Mic Pittsboro Modern Life

Thursday 7:00 Open Jam Durham Plan B (3rd Thursay of every month)

Thursday 8:00 Open Mic Cary Corner Tavern & Grill

Thursday 8:00 Open Jam High Point After Hours Tavern

Thursday 9:00 Open Jam Raleigh Korner Pocket Sports Bar & Grill



Spend an evening with Josh Oliver & Josh Moore at The ArtsCenter on Friday, Jan. 16th

JoshOliverJoshMooreMark your calendars for an evening with emerging American songwriters Josh Oliver & Josh Moore as they share the stage with some special guests from Mandolin Orange! East Tennessee’s Josh Oliver has contributed his subtle, tasteful playing in a humble manner in the studio or on the road with acts such as Mandolin Orange, The Everybodyfields, Jill Andrews, Sam Quinn, Martha Scanlan, The Deep Dark Woods, The Black Lillies, and several others. Oliver creates a dynamic sonic landscape that features acoustic guitar, banjo, mandolin, piano, “spacey” electric guitars, organ, and a sparsely played Rhodes. Josh Moore was the former vocalist and guitarist for the much-loved North Carolina band Beloved. Returning with a solo project, Josh Moore retains the passion and emotion of his former days but this time he is accompanied by a beautiful acoustic backdrop.

On Friday, January 16th at 9:00pm Oliver & Moore will perform at The ArtsCenter in Carrboro, NC. Tickets for this show are $10 Advance, $8 Friends Advance, and $12 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 Street in Carrboro.

Solas plays The ArtsCenter on Saturday, Feb. 28

SolasSolas is the quintessential Irish-American band recording and touring in the US today. Fifteen years ago, in a manner befitting their name (Gaelic for “light”), Solas burst onto the Irish music scene and instantly became a beacon – an incandescent ensemble that found contemporary relevance in timeless traditions without ever stooping to clichés. Through fresh and unexpected arrangements of age-old tunes, compelling and topical originals and covers, and unparalleled musicianship, Solas continues to define the path for the Celtic music world and drive the genre forward. Paul Keating of Irish Central said “There is something very magical and harmonious about the way this band works nowadays that only enhances the thoughtful and sophisticated melodies and rhythms their music provides for their audience”.

You can enjoy an evening of fantastic music with this unique group on Saturday, February 28th at 8:00pm at The ArtsCenter in Carrboro,NC. Tickets for this show are $22 Advance, $18 Student/Friends Advance, and $26 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 Street in Carrboro.

More on Solas:
Solas is anchored by founding members Seamus Egan (flute, tenor banjo, mandolin, whistles, guitars, bodhran) and Winifred Horan (violins, vocals), Solas is rounded out by Mick McAuley (accordians, low whistle, concertina, vocals), Eamon McElholm (guitars, keyboards, vocals), and newest member and lead singer, Niamh Varian-Barry.