The Stories of the Upstate™ #283: (Matthew Kay) "To be me as a kid was weird."

                           Matthew Kay, singer-songwriter and guitarist for The Hustle brings Story #283

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He plays classical and jazz guitar. John Coltrane, Beethoven, Garth Brooks and Prince are inspirations for him.   The guitarist for The Hustle, Matthew Kay, tells us that his band plays funk because he sat with a friend down the street who played David Bowie's Fame.  When we asked him where he gets inspiration, he told us that  after spending a lot of time by himself, he came to the realization that other people are the point of existence and they are the source for his lyrical content.

                                                          To learn more Matthew Kay, click here.

The Stories of the Upstate™ #282: (Dan Hamilton) "As a kid, my family nickname was Prince Choosy."

            Story #282 comes from Keller Williams Upstate realtor, SC State Representative Dan Hamilton.

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You could say that Keller Williams Upstate realtor, Dan Hamilton was destined to be in public service since his interest and activities in the field of politics started early, really early.  Dan got involved in campaigns when he was in 6th grade.  He worked on Mayor Knox White's first campaign to Greenville City Council and on his mayoral campaign.  Dan worked on the campaigns of Bob Inglis and Jim DeMint.  He also served on Jim DeMInt's staff.  With influence like these Upstate public servants, it is no surprise that Dan is now, SC State Representative Dan Hamilton.

                                               To learn more about Dan Hamilton, realtor, click here
                                         and to contact SC State Representative Dan Hamilton, click here.

The Stories of the Upstate™ #281: (Stephen Grant) "I was a risk taker as a teen."

            The founder of The Chris and Kelly's Hope Foundation, Stephen Grant, brings our 281st story.

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Christopher Grant was a gifted athlete and was a genuinely warm person; never met a stranger.  Kelly Grant was more reclusive and was a gifted drummer and musician.  They were just two typical American teenagers; but in the space of 5 years,  Stephen Grant lost both his sons to accidental drug overdoses.  Thirty days after Kelly died, Stephen was in a three day boot camp for his work with Northwestern Mutual.  The last thing on his mind was charity or being charitable, but one of the speakers challenged the group with this question, "What will your legacy be once your gone?"  Stephen was inspired and determined to do everything he could to help adolescents who struggle with addiction and mental illness.  He put feet to his commitment by reaching out to the Community Foundation of Greenville, who helped him start The Chris and Kelly's Hope Foundation.  The Foundation has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in 5 years, as well as raising awareness of mental illness and addiction in children and adolescents; a fitting legacy for two young men loved and missed dearly by their father, Stephen Grant. 

                                  To learn more about the Chris and Kelly's Hope Foundation, click here.

The Downtown Jam™ #28: Charles Hedgepath and Keith Davis

Once a month, 3 to 6 local singer songwriters walk into a secret location in downtown Greenville.  They only bring their guitars, their stories and their original songs.  They play an entire free concert.  We record it and play it back for you on-demand 24/7 beginning the second Wednesday every month.  We call it "The Downtown Jam™" and it's another way to thank you for listening and subscribing to "The Stories of the Upstate™  #gvlmusic

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                                                Follow Stories of the Upstate™ on Facebook

The Stories of the Upstate™ #280: (Brittany Vanover) "I'm a poet, a singer, a songwriter and a goof."

            Story #280 comes from Brittany Vanover, the owner of Spartanburg's Union Street Coffee Bar.

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Spartanburg's Union Street Coffee Bar is a front!   It's true according to the owner, Brittany Vanover.  She tells us that the Union Street Coffee Bar is a front for artists.  Brittany says that the Coffee Bar is a place for artists to gather, relax, write, create and share their work with the public while enjoying a great cup of coffee and a homemade pastry.  Brittany tells us that she was just looking for another job, when her brother sent her a photo of the shop and the place looked so much like her living room and felt like the location was just waiting for her that she just said, "I'll take it."

                                                   Follow the Union Street Coffee Bar on Facebook.

The Stories of the Upstate™ #279: (Cory Harrison) "I didn't have a toothbrush until I was a freshman in high school."

                 Cory Harrison, Executive Director of the YMCA Camp Greenville shares our 279th story.

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Cory Harrison grew up poor, not owning a toothbrush until he was in high school, not always having running water and wondering often where his next meal was coming from.  What brought relief and hope for Cory was the one free week of summer camp he enjoyed courtesy of the Salvation Army.  He was able to be a camper for 8 years and one year, he was mopping the floors and the camp director told him that if he kept up the good work, he just might be able to work at the camp.  Sure enough, Cory spent 5 more years on the staff of the camp.  Cory knew at age 15 that he wanted to be a camp director.  Today, Cory Harrison is the executive director of the 4th largest YMCA camp, Camp Greenville where their mission is to leave no child inside, to help kids get in touch with nature and with themselves.  Ultimately, Corey tells us that the YMCA Camp Greenville's goal is help kids be better adults and they do that while having fun and being messy.

                                                 To learn more about Camp Greenville, click here.

The Stories of the Upstate™ #278: (Jeremy Brewer) "My childhood was bluegrass music being played on the front porch."

      Story #278 comes from Seneca singer-songwriter and member of Taught By Heroes, Jeremy Brewer.

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  Seneca singer-songwriter, Jeremy Brewer grew up with both sides of his family playing bluegrass music on his front porch all the time.  He learned to play several instruments out of necessity because when the family and friends where playing on the front porch, they would switch instruments every few songs, the piano player strumming the guitar, the singer playing the piano.  The front porch jam sessions are not just a nostalgic part of his childhood.  Jeremy tells us that when he's not working, or playing the Taught By Heroes, he's on the front porch and you never know who's going to stop by and join in music.  

                                                          Follow Jeremy Brewer on Facebook.

The Stories of the Upstate ™ #277: (Sara Bell) "Once, as a kid, I held my breath until I passed out and still didn't get my way."

                 The owner of The Gorge Zipline and Green River Adventures, Sara Bell beings story #277

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Ziplining into a Gorge, white water kayaking, white water rafting and waterfall rappelling; what kind of person would own businesses doing these things.  Someone who started white water kayaking right out of high school and has been doing it for 20 years.  Someone whose first job out of college was leading 21 day adventure travel trips in Costa Rica where ziplining was a major feature.  Someone who compares starting multiple businesses to childbirth.  Yes, that is what Sara Bell told us when she talked about starting Green River Adventures and The Gorge Zip Line, she said that after your first baby/business, you say "Never Again," but a few years later, you forget the pain, headaches and struggles and want to do it again.  Oh, and the kind of person who takes her family surfing for Christmas in Nicaragua and Barbados would be the exact person to show people the time of their lives zip lining into the Green River Gorge or kayaking/rafting down the Green River.

                                                  To learn more about The Gorge Zip Line, click here
                                               To learn more about Green River Adventures, click here.

The Stories of the Upstate #276: (Ryan Ross) "My childhood was lot of snow and lots of kids playing in the snow."

                           Story #276 comes from the owner of Ross Drone Photography, Ryan Ross.

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Lots of folks enjoy photography, but Ryan Ross takes to another level: photography with drones.  Ryan tells us that flying drones is a blast, but it takes a little time to master.  We're used to moving left and right, back and forward, but with a drone, you add up and down.  As the owner of Ross Drone photography, Ryan has to be conscious of where the drone is, what's around it, as well, as snapping a beautiful photo or impressive video. A quick look at the Ross Drone Photography website and we know Ryan Ross is pro with a drone.

                                                        To learn more about Ryan Ross, click here.

The Stories of the Upstate™ #275: (Geoff Wasserman) "I played trombone in my high school jazz band."

          Story #275 comes from the CEO and Chief Brand Officer of The Brand Leader, Geoff Wasserman

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Authenticity is vital for Geoff Wasserman, the CEO and Chief Brand Officer for The Brand Leader.  When he described what The Brand Leader does, he said that they champion the authentic voice, the authentic story, the true character of their clients and lead that authentic story through all their clients' initiatives.  Authenticity is not only vital for Geoff at work, but when we asked him about the secret of life, he told us that part of the secret of life is to be the authentic you, the one God wants you to be.

                                                               To learn more, click here.

A Downtown Jam™ Exclusive Single: "Queen"

On the second Wednesday of each month on Stories Of The Upstate™ we launch a free concert, the Downtown Jam, for your smartphone, computer or tablet with local singer-songwriters and their original songs.  #gvlmusic

Here’s a JAM Extra™ Bonus Exclusive from the January 10, 2018 Downtown Jam with Charles Hedegpath, Matt Kay and Mark Webb Jr.

Subscribe to “Stories Of The Upstate™ on iTunes.com or the Stitcher app to get free access to all episodes – interviews and free concerts known as “The Downtown Jam™” - from “Stories Of The Upstate™” now.

The Stories of the Upstate™ #274: (Sarah Lyons) "I would describe my childhood as wild and free-range."

                                     Greenville mother and artist, Sarah Rose Lyons shares Story #274

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"Art is innate to life," Greenville artist, Sarah Lyon tells us.  She says that her art is an expression of everything in her life, motherhood, her children, her partner, the landscapes she sees around her.  You can see these expressions, not only in what she creates, but the mediums she chooses.  Her very first art show, when she was living in Dallas, was called Bar Fly and it was a collection of drawings on bar napkins that she drew as she was out with friends at bars quietly listening to all their stories.  

                                                 To learn more about Sarah Rose Lyons, click here.