AUTRYVILLE — Anyone in need of some clean, family fun a couple of nights a month need look no further than Autryville. Pittman and Betty Horne, the owners of Pittman’s Corner Grill, host a musical bluegrass night on the first and third Thursdays at their restaurant in the heart of downtown.
A little over five years ago, Charles Carlisle and Robert Cashwell started coming in to play for tips — and it wasn’t long before the local hangout was formed.
“We have about 300 clientele that come by occasionally,” said Carlisle in an interview at the restaurant Tuesday afternoon. “We have 40 to 50 almost every time we play.”
Different musicians come and play, and Carlisle said that a good selection of music and musical styles are represented.
“We have bluegrass as our basic foundation, but also country and gospel,” Carlisle explained. “Sometimes we have guest singers.”
“You don’t have to go to Branson City, Mo. to get good food and music,” he added. They even have folks who go 45 miles out of their way just to stop in when traveling to and from Ohio. People even travel from Raleigh and Washington just to get in on the performance.
“It amazes me how we have so many from different parts of the state,” said Pittman Horne.
“Plus they get home in time to get the hogs fed and home before dark,” interjected Carlisle. “The performance has also been featured on the Tarheel Traveler,” a WRAL-TV feature.
“Come and have a good time,” encouraged Carlisle. “We play for tips.” He also encourages folks to come and grab a bite to eat while they are there.
“We really appreciate those that do come, and buy dinner,” said Horne. “But it’s not just about that. It’s something decent to do, and people enjoy it.”
On that first and third Thursday, the music fires up at 5 p.m. and continues until 7. With everything from country to gospel to bluegrass, Carlisle said there’s plenty to enjoy. He even said he might throw in some rock and roll from time to time.
“We’re doing it for fun,” Carlisle stated. “And you’re invited.” He said that the first time they did it they only had about four people and two of them left; however, the night has really grown since then.
“I can’t hardly wait until next Thursday,” he asserted.
“Customers come from all over the state, and we’ve even had some artists that have played in Nashville,” Horne added. “We have had a variety of people come and play.”
“We have two small kids that are around 5 and 7 come that are fiddlers,” Horne detailed.
“If someone pops up and wants to play, we let them,” said Carlisle.
And it is, the fellows said, good, clean family entertainment.
“We don’t have any problems with drinking because we don’t allow it,” asserted Horne. Autryville is a dry town and, he added, they wanted it to be something that the entire family could enjoy.
“Bring your kids,” said Carlisle. “We don’t do anything a preacher wouldn’t want you to do.”
“We have a lot of talent,” said Horne. “People playing the guitar, and Carlisle takes up time with them, and he’s sort of a mentor for them.”
“If it’s got strings on it I can play it,” Carlisle divulged, giving a grin. “It’s the Just Friends Band and Charles Carlisle.”
They even have a few that tip $5 just to hear one particular song played, with it adding up to over a hundred dollars a year, said Horne.
Carlisle said that when he was 13 he remembered coming into what was then a furniture store and seeing Tate Spell playing a guitar.
“I said that I was going to do that,” he recalled. Over 50 years later he is, playing in the same location, playing that same song that got him hooked, “Red Wings”.
“Here we are,” said Horne. “In the uptown corner of Autryville, right at the caution light.”
Emily M. Hobbs can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext 122. Follow us on Twitter: @SampsonInd