Heart And History Influence Artist
Caroline Noel Beverley
Heart and soul is what Caroline Noel Beverley’s music is all about and this is best evidenced by her solo album “Elkin & Alleghany Line: stories of the foothills” which is now available at the heArt & Soul of the Yadkin Valley gallery. “I never really wanted to (make my own album). It never really crossed my mind,” stated Beverley in an exclusive interview with heArt & Soul.
Full of local stories as well as the renowned sounds of the Appalachian region, “Elkin & Alleghany Line” is full of local stories and history. “I just started writing a lot of songs about Elkin,” explained Beverley revealing that some stories came from Matthew and Ann Mayberry along with other local artists.
“That first track on there, Dutchman’s Creek, that was my first story about Elkin,” described Beverley who was clearly excited about the inspiration for the track. “I thought, this is cool: these three women lived out in the woods by themselves forever and they survived it. And all these little boys back in the 40s had crushes on Aurora Swan so they’d sneak out there, miles out into the woods and spy on her.”
After reading the story by Harold Click Beverley was inspired to write a song. “Then it turned out Matthew Mayberry had also gone out there and spied on her,” according to Beverley who shared even more details of the Pegram legend.
Of three sisters who lived a few miles from downtown (in the general area of where the Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital now stands) the youngest, Aura Swan, was considered a wild but gentle beauty. Her older sister Molly was wilder yet with an attitude to match. “Her older sister was mean,” claimed Beverley speaking of the fiery redhead known to carry a gun and travel in the company of an even angrier dog.
Beverley revealed that Matthew Mayberry and his friend had traveled the distance to catch a glimpse of the beauty when they encountered the beast, or so they thought. “’One of the women came out,” related Beverley sharing her friend’s words like the true storyteller she is. “She caught us and my friend ran off and I couldn’t move.” After pausing for effect and with great myrth in her eyes, Beverley finally blurted with a great guffaw, “so she brought me inside and she made me cookies!”
“You think she’s going to end up being a witch or something and put you in the oven and then she ended up being so sweet. OK that is a song right there,” stated Beverley revealing as much about her personality as about the album.
I never really wanted to be a solo artist,” confided Beverley. “I mean I don’t mind doing solo shows, but I really enjoy playing with other people. I really like that camaraderie of playing with your friends and hearing what they do on your songs. I just love that.”
“I don’t mind doing solo shows, but I really enjoy playing with other people. I really like that camaraderie of playing with your friends and hearing what they do on your songs.”~Caroline Beverley on working with other artists
Beverly works with other artists in several ways including playing with Gap Civil, New Ballad Branch Bogtrotters, Klezmer Local 42, and teaching with Alleghany Jam and the Reeves Downtown School of Music’s Elkin Jam. “It is so great to be back teaching oldtime music to kids again,” exclaimed Beverley who reflects the kinds of instructors who have touched her life.
“I grew up in New York City,” revealed Beverley crediting her teacher for influencing her musical career. “I had a great piano teacher named Margaret Waldman who went to Juilliard. She was just an incredible teacher. She published (my first song) for me and taught it to the other kids.”
Even with the diverse opportunities available it was the call of family and home that brought Beverley back to the Yadkin Valley. “I used to come and visit Grandmother in the spring and summertime every year. My whole family would sit around and sing together,” recalled Beverley. “So It was kind of like Andy Griffith in that way. We really did play banjo and guitar and sit around the living room and everybody would sing harmonies. That was great, growing up surrounded by music.”
“Then Grandmother died in 2008 so Mom was by herself,” stated Beverley who also lost her father the same year. “It made me realize I didn’t want to take my mom for granted. I wanted to spend some years just getting to know Mom and living next door.” Next door is a house built in 1870 which required significant upgrades but provided a comfortable nest for COVID confinement.
With several songs about the Elkin area, Beverley decided she had an album. “I had about six songs written about Elkin and I was like, you know what? I’ll just take this time for the next year and try to finish up this album.” Highlighting historical events and locations as well as the sound “Elkin & Alleghany” may be another new beginning for Beverley.
“I’ve got more songs about Elkin so I’ll probably do a second album,” revealed Beverley who is seeking more local stories for future projects. “If anybody has a story that you want to see turned into a song, let me know.”
If you have a story to share with Beverley, would like to hear more of her story or would like to purchase her album “Elkin & Alleghany Line: stories of the foothills” visit heArt & Soul of the Yadkin Valley at 113 East Main Street in Downtown Elkin, North Carolina or go to heartandsouloftheyadkinvalley.com.
Discover more about Caroline Noel Beverley on the Artist Feature at heArt & Soul of the Yadkin Valley by clicking here.