Time to stake a spot on the Bynum General Store perimeter for the Front Porch Music series. The Chatham County congregation of music and socialization is turning the page on its fifth year with 35 weeks of performances by the area's roots, country and 'billy artists. The weekly series brings Friday April 1 with the honky-tonk soul of Two Dollar Pistols. Started as a project between Bynum's residents, Storage on Board Ltd., the Chatham County Art Council and the UNC Curriculum in Folklore, the Front Porch Music series' intent was to bring community interaction and economic growth around Jerry Partin's general store.
"We began the series for lots of reasons," said Molly Matlock Parsons, an organizer. "One was to attract more foot traffic into the Bynum General Store. It's the last of what used to be five general stores in Bynum. It's the only one that survived the mill closing, and it wouldn't be open if there weren't people like Jerry around to run it."
Since the closure of Bynum's mill in 1979, the town began a slow transformation into a bedroom community. The Front Porch series infused stability into the general store and community post office located within and signaled a new community effort.
"Our neighbor Virgile Johnson runs sound. Our neighbor John Winnecker helps sell CDs and merch for the performers, Debbie and Ken Tunnel help set up and break down at each show, Marchellina Waugh created our new logo and some signage for us and is laying out the liner notes for our upcoming compilation CD. The list of Bynumite helpers is long and illustrious."
As the matrix for the social groundwork in Bynum, the general store is literally the community pillar that brings the socializers, checker players and friends together.
"It's where I met and grew to know most of my neighbors here, and it makes this the most close-knit and unique community I've ever experienced," Matlock Parsons said. "So, it's important to us that it survives."
The Bynum General Store is at 950 Bynum Road. For a complete schedule and directions, visit www.carrboro.com/bynummusic.
Front Porch Music--a pass the hat affair--starts at 7 p.m. every Friday until Nov. 18, save for Partin's 35th wedding anniversary on Aug. 5. Here's the schedule for the next two months:
April 1: Two Dollar Pistols
April 8: Edsel 500
April 15: Bill and Libby Hicks
April 11: Gigi Dover
May 6: Alice Gerrard & Friends
May 13: Yellen Horsley
May 20: Saludos Compay
May 27: Abe Reid & The SpikeDrivers