The Stories of the Upstate™ #299: (Johnny Ray) "Heavy metal, punk rock and George Carlin were the big influences in my teenage life."

                            Clemson podcaster from The Ratio Podcast, Johnny Ray brings story #299.

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"It's kind of like going into a teenage boy's bedroom with 4 rabble-rousers tickled to death that they can finally curse on air," is how Clemson podcaster, Johnny Ray describes his podcast, The Ratio Podcast.  With the goal of exposing artist that people need to know, Johnny interviews musicians, artists, actors, basically anyone stirring things up in a positive way; folks breaking barriers or pushing the boundaries.  Maybe it was all those childhood years running around with his Walkman and headphones or his teenage diet of heavy metal and punk rock that filled Johnny with a love of music and a desire to share that music that matters with everyone.  The Ratio Podcast provides the outlet for that desire.

                                        To learn more about Johnny Ray and The Ratio Podcast, click here
                                                                 and follow them on Facebook.

The Stories of the Upstate™ #298: (Kyle Rowland) "I've seen Wide Spread Panic in concert 28 times."

                                        Our 298th story comes from singer-songwriter, Kyle Rowland.

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"Fourscore and seven years ago," the words of Abraham Lincoln inspired one of the earliest songs, Kyle Rowland ever wrote,   He's not a bluegrass artist even though both his dad and 4th grade teacher were.  For Kyle, people are his greatest inspiration, in the many varied aspects of their daily lives.  Writing about other people and ideas, instead of focusing on his own personal experiences are key to his success in writing songs for his band, Four 14.

                                                        To learn more about Kyle Rowland, click here.

The Stories of the Upstate™ #297: (Will McCameron) "Growing up, I was a wild child playing in the woods."

                       The brewmaster and owner of Brewery 85, Will McCameron shares out 297th story.

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 The brewmaster and owner of Greenville's Brewery 85, Will McCameron explains to us the path for a construction worker turned engineer to becoming a brewmaster and open a brewery.  He tells us that his degree from Clemson University while officially entitled Parks and Recreation with a concentration in travel and tourism should really be called  PTM (party through May).  In other words, he did a lot of drinking and partying, perhaps useful experiences for his future career.  While in college, he made his own wine and after college, began playing around with home brewing.  He realized fairly quickly that engineering was not for him and one night, while home brewing with his wife and future business partner,decided to open a brewery.  It was then on to the World Brewing Academy, first at the Seibel Institute in Chicago and then on to Doemens Academy in Munich.   The rest, as they say, is history.

                                                        To learn more about Brewery 85, click here.

The Downtown Jam™ #30: Charles Hedgepath and Neil Brooks

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™ #296: (Tom Strange) "I raced dirt bikes as a teen."

Story #296 comes from Tom Strange, Senior Director of Research and Development with Abbott Laboratories

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Tom Strange told us that his goal in life is to turn his passions into something that can make people's lives better and he's done just that.  From his childhood, science was his constant companion.  He loved the Space Program and TV nature programs.  He explored his back yard and used a microscope he got as a kid to look for the secrets science had to offer.  But it was physics and something as routine as capacitors that would allow Tom to turn passion into life saving.  While working for a company on commercial capacitors, he tried to understand how they worked, what was the root principal and that led to him making a discovery that led to an invention that revolutionized the implanted defibrillator and the creation of St. Jude Medical, now Abbott Laboratories.  His passion definitely made people's lives better as nearly 1/3 of all defibrillators implanted today have his technology in them.  On a personal level, a defibrillator from his company saved his sister's life. 

The Stories of the Upstate™ #295: (Mary Norris) "Sometimes I communicate using animal noises rather than using English."

                                      Spartanburg singer-songwriter, Mary Norris delivers Story #295

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"I text myself lyrics," Spartanburg singer-songwriter, Mary Norris told us as she explained that she finds inspiration all over the place, often while she is doing something else, like driving.  She has a song about love inspired by watching birds with her Grandmother and thinking about the beautiful bird we put in cages.  The love of music struck Mary early.  Her parents recall that as a toddler, she insisted on watching the end credits of a TV show or movie because she was fascinated by the ending music.  These days she gives an outlet for that love of music through her solo singer-songwriting and being the lead singer of Hot As A Pepper.

                                                                     Follow Mary Norris on Facebook.

The Stories of the Upstate™ #294: (Stephanie Acker) "As a kid, I used to read the encyclopedia during the summer and wrote book reports on them."

             Story #294 comes from the founder of In The Know Upstate.com, Stephanie Acker

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Suppose you wanted to find a great Italian restaurant in Anderson and an art gallery in Spartanburg and you wanted to listen to some Blues in Greenville; where would you look?  Stephanie Acker has the answer for you.  In fact, she's the founder of InTheKnowUpstate.com, a site where you can discover what to do, eat and experience all over the Upstate, all in one place.  Stephanie found that the Upstate is rich in things to do, places to eat, events, movements, etc, but that most of us lose out on these great experiences because we don't know where to go to find them and sometimes we aren't even aware that events are happening.  So this closet nerd from childhood, who used to read the encyclopedia just for fun, created a brilliant website to let all of us in on the awesomeness that is Upstate South Carolina.  Stephanie's goal is to give us a tool that lets us live life locally and to connect with our community on our terms. 

                                                                              To learn more, click here.

The Stories of the Upstate™ #293: (Edwin Lashley) "The best way to describe my childhood is Calvin and Hobbes."

                               Seneca artist and sculptor, Edwin Lashley created our 293rd story.

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His favorite toy growing up was LEGOs.  His mind would be consumed all day building with them.  Knowing his childhood fascination with building things, it's no surprise what Edwin Lashley does today;  metal fabrication and sculpture.  He always loved making things, had a great sense for visualization and strove to understand materials and what they could do.  He started out as a painter, but always had a knack for three dimensions.  When learning sculpture, his focus rested longer on the armature or steel structure that would support is piece, then on his final sculpture and his professor gave him some life altering advice: "Keep working on the metal works, skip the clay."  Today, he creates what he calls 3-D contour drawing.

                                                  To learn more about Edwin Lashley, click here.

A Downtown Jam™ Exclusive Single: "Honest Abe"

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 March 14, 2018 Downtown Jam™ with Charles Hedgepath and Kyle Rowland

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™ #292: (Will Rutherford) "As a kid, I wanted to be a mad inventor."

           Story #292 come from Will Rutherford, creator and owner of Escape Artist Greenville

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First came haunted houses, elaborate, professionally staged haunted houses that took over his whole house.  Then, it was murder mysteries staged for others to solve.  Finally Escape Rooms, places where teams of friends or co-workers search for clues, solve puzzles and more to get out of a room, find a treasure, and the like.  All this, while Will Rutherford worked a full time job, an engineering job with GE.  After a year and a half of staging Escape Rooms as a hobby or side job, Will and his wife made the hobby, the job and opened Escape Artist Greenville and are loving every minute of the new job.  

                                              To learn more about Escape Artist Greenville, click here.

The Stories of the Upstate™ #291: (Patrick Michaels) "I thought I was going to be a dock worker when I grew up."

The President and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Upstate/Midlands South Carolina, Patrick Michaels shares our 291st story.

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So you donate some old clothes, a piece of furniture or some dishes to Goodwill and feel good about it, but do you really understand what your donation means to folks in your community?  You might think that you are helping folks who are struggling financially acquire much needed items at a price they can afford and you are, but your donations do much more than that.  According to Patrick Michaels, President and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Upstate/Midlands South Carolina, your donations help them accomplish their real mission: providing employment and training leading to job placement for people who have a barrier to employment.  Goodwill provides job training, job placement and workforce development for folks who struggle to be gainfully employees: people with criminal backgrounds, the long term unemployed, those with few skills; veterans, elderly and those seeking better jobs.  Last year alone, Goodwill placed 11,786 people into employment and your donations made that possible.

                                                         To learn more about Goodwill, click here.

The Stories of the Upstate™ #290: (Mark Webb Jr.) "I was an emo kid as a teen."

                                 Story #290 comes from Easley singer-songwriter, Mark Webb Jr.

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"I would take a timeless song over a hit song every time," Easley singer-songwriter, Mark Webb Jr. told us.  He also told us he was obsessive when it comes to music and keeps his ear to the ground for what is current in the music scene while being inspired by the timeless songs from legends like the Beatles.  His grandparents started him down this music road when the gave him a guitar and encouraged him to take lessons. It's taken years of studying music, practicing, performing, crashing and burning and learning from the failures to get him to where he is today.  He told us his favorite part of being a singer-songwriter is connecting to people through his music, emotionally and spiritually.

                                                To learn more about Mark Webb Jr., click here.