There are certain cities that are known for their street musicians, like New Orleans, a city that changed my life 7 years ago. With music coming from every corner, songs on every street, the Big Easy has a beat all its own. There are other cities that have a history, like Chicago and Memphis, there are places like subways and tourist sites where buskers and professionals play for pedestrians, and I’ll always remember the guy I met at a St. Patrick’s Day celebration in Savannah, Georgia playing a drum set of buckets who told me he made $4,000 that weekend. Today, on the corner of 15th and Jacob Streets in downtown Wheeling, a sidewalk session ensued.
The East Wheeling Farm Market is every Wednesday from 10 A.M. – 7 P.M. An “urban farm,” the stand offers good, non-GMO, healthy produce and products as an alternative to fast food restaurants and convenience stores. A mobile market that will be on the move, this evening I was not only met by friendly faces, but music makers. Matt Smith of the band Black Slaney was the evening’s entertainment.
Matt played several solo songs during his three hour set, not only on guitar, but also on banjo. One gentleman even danced to an Irish jig. Accompanied on a few songs by Isa Campbell, it was a combination of food and fun, songs and sustenance, eats and entertainment. It was my favorite sort of sidewalk session – jovial and just, carefree yet causal, a community-oriented outing. Like several cities, Wheeling has its own musical history, welcoming all from Johnny Cash to Bob Dylan to Black Sabbath at the Capitol, West Virginia’s largest theatre. It’s also home to West Virginia’s oldest theatre, the Victoria, where the second longest running country radio program and variety show in the country after the Grand Ole Opry, WWVA Jamboree, was held. Matt Smith is carrying on the Wheeling history, and the East Wheeling Farm Stand is making their own. See them at a sidewalk near you!