Darin & Brooke Aldridge mural dedication

Thursday evening, October 5, a large crowd gathered at the Main Street Mini-Park in the western North Carolina town of Cherryville for the dedication of a mural of hometown celebrities, Darin & Brooke Aldridge. The ceremony was followed by a free concert by the couple and their band.

David Day, the Main Street Downtown Director for the City of Cherryville, shared a little history at the dedication. “The mural idea started about two and a half years ago. The town wanted to honor Darin & Brooke. We started working together with the city, found a muralist, got it all put together, and the city is excited to have this done. This is our first one for the bluegrass trail so that will start bringing more people into town, and we love Darin & Brooke. We’re real proud to have it completed, and proud of their concert tonight. They did awesome.”

Cherryville mayor HL Beam agreed. “Their mural was commissioned in our 2022 budget. (At the concert) I introduced the Aldridges. We are so proud of them. For a while, both resided in Avery County, but most of Darin’s youth was spent in Cherryville, and now they both live here. I’m very proud of the accomplishments they’ve made, and I see great things happening for them in the future.”

Darin expressed, “It is quite an honor. We appreciate all the folks, the mayor, the city council, the friends and family from around here that wanted to see it get done for a long time. We are very honored.”

Mural artist, Scott Nurkin, is also a North Carolina native. Though not present for the dedication, he had this to say. “I am very honored to have been able to celebrate these two incredible artists and include them on the North Carolina Musician Murals Trail. Also, I am very thankful to be asked to share this mural with Cherryville.”

The North Carolina Musician Murals Project began as a casual arrangement between Nurkin and the owner of Pepper’s Pizza in Chapel Hill. Nurkin created portraits of renowned North Carolina musicians to cover a blank wall in the restaurant in exchange for “free pizza for life.” Today, Nurkin’s murals are on buildings from the mountains to the Piedmont to celebrate the transcendent, influential, and groundbreaking musicians of North Carolina. Some of his other murals include Earl Scruggs and Don Gibson in Shelby, and Randy Travis in Marshville.

The masterpiece took only days to complete. The artist shared, “The mural is painted with spray paint. No brushes. There are 19 completed with many more to come. I am a musician. I play drums in the bands Birds of Avalon and Dynamite Brothers.”

Brooke said, “It is such an honor for our hometown of Cherryville to recognize us with the beautiful Scott Nurkin mural. Every time we come through town, we’re going to look over there and be so proud of that moment. It was really neat; we came up when Scott was drawing the picture. He said, ‘I’m not used to having the artists that I am drawing, stand here and watch me.’ We thought that was really special. A lot of his subjects have passed away. It was really special to be in that moment and see how he did it, and the final product. It took him just three days. He started on a Sunday night and finished by Wednesday morning. We are just very honored.”

The black and white mural depicts Brooke & Darin singing on stage. The image was actually taken from one of their appearances at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, TN.

Mayor Beam stressed, “Darin & Brooke have played the Grand Ole Opry Opry more than 50 times. I’m going to try to attend their next performance there on the day after Thanksgiving.”

Congratulations to this talented couple for receiving this honor in their hometown.

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About the Author

Sandy Hatley

Sandy Chrisco Hatley is a free lance writer for several NC newspapers and Bluegrass Unlimited magazine. As a teenager, she picked banjo with an all girl band called the Happy Hollow String Band. Today, she plays dobro with her husband's band, the Hatley Family.