The grass is back! Feed & Seed, a popular live music venue in western North Carolina near Asheville, has reopened after having been on pause due to the global pandemic. The historic building offers bands a place to play, and attendees a haven to enjoy listening and dancing to good bluegrass music. On May 19, their first show in two and a half years, was held featuring Lynn Goldsmith & Jeter Mountain Band of nearby Henderson County, NC.
“It’s a great venue for bluegrass music,” stressed Goldsmith. “The atmosphere there takes you back to the feeling of earlier days when bluegrass was played throughout a lot of rural areas. We’re so glad it has opened back up after the long stretch of being closed. It’s definitely our favorite place to play because the crowd brings so much energy with their clogging and enthusiasm! We missed it so much and it felt like reuniting with a long lost friend!”
“120 people showed up. We’re back open, but with a different format,” explained Phillip Trees, pastor of Feed and Seed Church. “We had a good run. We used to have shows every Friday and Saturday night (before the pandemic), but with the onslaught of breweries in the area, offering live music on the weekends, we decided to change it up.”
Their new format will feature bluegrass music on the third Thursday of each month (7:00-9:00 p.m.), Gospel bluegrass events on Sunday evenings (6:00 p.m.), and Monday night jams (7:00-9:00 p.m.) where a host band performs, and then attendees are invited to play along. All events are free, open to the public with a donation box for the band located by the door. There will be ticketed events on select weekends that feature national touring bands.
“100 percent of the donations go for the band,” Feed and Seed’s pastor elaborated. “Our church (which meets in the building each Sunday morning at 11:00) supports it to reach the community.”
Held in a 100 year old feed and seed store built in 1920 and still owned by the same family, Trees and his congregation rented and renovated the building in 2007 to have a place to assemble for worship. After holding services there for a year, they realized with its high ceiling, hardwood floors, great acoustics, church pews, and theater seats that it was the perfect spot for live music. So in 2008, they held their first bluegrass show.
Their website states: “The building they call home is revived from its former glory and retains its history and local culture. The church focuses on community and brings the best of Appalachian Music to the area. The modern purpose of the building has redirected from Feed Supply to one of Feeding the Soul through inspiration and good music. This building is a place where all are welcome and culture, arts, and community come to life!”
“People call it the ‘Little Ryman of the Blue Ridge’ (after the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville),” shared Trees. “We get tourists. Folks come to Asheville to see Biltmore and hear bluegrass.”
During shows, Trees emcees, runs the sound board, and does odd jobs, “like making sure there’s toilet paper in the restrooms.”
“We have a bluegrass triangle,” Trees described. “You have the Earl Scruggs Center in Shelby, Doc Watson’s home in Boone, and Balsam Range in Haywood County. We’re right in the middle of it. ETSU students come here to perform. Our shows are 80% local bands, 15% regional, and 5% national.”
The air-conditioned building seats 165 and has been featured on PBS-TV and in Southern Living magazine.
Larry Cordle, Nashville-based singer/songwriter, has performed at Feed and Seed. He shared, “A great venue. I loved playing there. Just knowing it was old; I could just imagine the stories that must have been swapped there. The songwriter in me wishes I could have eavesdropped on some of those conversations. I reckon that’s why I felt so at home there. Great place to swap stories with other songwriters.”
“Our band members love playing at The Fletcher Feed & Seed. The sound system is excellent. The crowd truly appreciates your music with their enthusiasm. Man, can those folks flat foot,” shared Linzey Ham of the locally-based Catawba Bluegrass Band.
Upcoming third Thursday shows include: the Byrd Family Bluegrass Band on June 19, Liberty Road Bluegrass on July 21, and Junction 280 on August 20. Ticketed shows feature the Robertson Boys on July 16 and Caroline & Company on August 6.
“Hopefully, Larry Sparks will be coming in November for our grand finale of the season,” Trees stated.
The pastor and his flock are happy to return to hosting live music events. “It’s been a blessing for our church to help the community.”
Feed and Seed is located at 3715 Hendersonville Rd Fletcher, NC 28732. Call (828) 216-3492 for more information.