Video Short Shots
Mountains, Moonshine & Music
My grandfather, Fred King and my great grandfather, Benjamin Thomas Wright both made bootleg whiskey in the mountains of Western North Carolina. Distilled behind the city incinerator in Hendersonville, NC, they called it the "White Mule" because it was clear in color and carried a kick. However, it was quite delicious, so you had to be careful when drinking it or you'd wind up crawling out the door on your hands and knees.
One Christmas, they noticed that some local restaurants had thrown out citrus that was over ripened (mostly oranges and grapefruit), so they tried it out in their mash recipe. What they wound up with was a deliciously fruity likker (spelled properly in the mountains) with an even higher proof than before. When cooked just right, the undeniable taste and strength of their “popskull” moonshine was truly unrivaled.
Unlike my ancestors, I never got into making moonshine. Instead, I've had a 20-year career as a music recording artist and writer in Nashville, TN.
A house filled with bluegrass and gospel music, coffee and raccoon hunters.
That’s all I had.
I had come to get a record deal, and I promised the apartment manager I’d have a job by Monday if she’d let me move in on Thursday. “Sure”, she said, “heard that one before.”
I did what I told her and came back 4 years later to thank her for giving me the chance. She said she had a strange suspicion I would get a shot.
After I left Atlantic records, I recorded an album that would forever change the course of my musical career. Paul Deakin, Robert Reynolds (of the band The Mavericks), and I started a band called "Limberjack." As I was writing for our project, Jay Joyce and I got together and recorded "Rube" which was a look into the darker side of Appalachian culture.
Thankfully, I’ve never had to ask, “what if?” because my life has been filled with unforgettable moments. These pictures are just a tiny example of the amazing journey I’ve had, and my gratitude for the ups and downs is deep and genuine.
I can’t thank The Grand Ole Opry, NYC band “Killing Streets” Texas band, “The Cutters” Paul Deakin and Limberjack, Patty Loveless, Ricky Skaggs, and Ray Wylie Hubbard enough for the encouragement along the way.
Now I get to share coffee with all of ‘em.
Like Johnny and June, it took me 20 years to cross paths with my bride.
We were both fans of each other’s music and had never met. I made a post of Johnny Cash with June Carter once and captioned it, “is this too much to ask?” Now my best friend and wife is the girl that wrote and performed “Johnny and June” how ironic is that?
I proposed to her at The Mother Church, the Ryman Auditorium and now we tour together, share homes in Nashville and North Carolina, and travel the world. She’s my rock and my muse; I walk without dragging my knuckles because of her!
Today, I spend most of my time split between Nashville and the mountains of Western North Carolina doing the two things I love the most: producing great music and roasting delicious coffee.
Musicians from across the country come to Nashville to pursue their dreams. They also come to the mountains to escape, create, and yes, drink coffee.
It’s instant gratification in a cup, it’s a writer’s best friend and companion in the wee hours.
It’s always been there when I was on the road and traveling through the night.
I tried coffees all over the world and almost quit music in 2002 to buy a coffee shop.
The timing wasn’t right back then. 20 years later it was. Now I get to roast and write, tour and taste test, and live out my life’s dream.