WANT TO GO?
WHERE: Haddad Riverfront Park
WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Friday
COST: FreeINFO: www.liveontheleveecharleston.com
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Acoustic Syndicate hung it up in 2004. After about a dozen years of performing, touring and recording together, Bryon McMurry and everyone else in the bluegrass and roots rock band thought it was time to call it quits.
"We were burned out, I guess," he said in an easy Carolina drawl. "And we thought that was it."
It turned out Acoustic Syndicate, which helps close out this year's Live on the Levee Friday night at Haddad Riverfront Park, wasn't finished, not by a long shot. They just needed to reconnect with their roots.
McMurry went back to farming.
"We're fifth generation farmers here," he said. "I was raised on farming."
So, for a couple of years, he helped run the family farm, which isn't huge by industrial farming standards -- just a few hundred acres of land with some greenhouses. Among other things, McMurry grew squash and green beans and raised flowers.
"But then the economy crashed, and at 40 years of age, I took a job with soil and conservation in Cleveland County, [North Carolina]," he said.
He worked at the conservation agency for three years, and then a few months ago, the USDA hired him. McMurry now serves as the county director for the Farm Services Agency.
His brother, Fitz, who plays drums for the band, took a job as a trail maintenance mechanic for a state park. Cousin and mandolin player Steve McMurry was hired on as a construction technician for the Department of Transportation.