In Local Musicians

Band playing under colorful lights on stage

So, tell us about yourself. Are you a full-time musician?
I’m a retired fire marshal. Music is what I do now. I teach guitar lessons from the studio in my house twice a week, and Wednesday through Sunday I play out.

Are you in a band or do you play alone?
I play in a band called Dark Horse (Johnny Howington – Pedal Steel, Tommy Thompson – Bass and Vocals, Dean Caulder – Drums and Percussion). We play traditional country music. It features a pedal steel guitar, which is basically unheard of now. We have a great following. I also step in with other bands if they need someone for vocals or guitar.

Where are you from originally, and what brought you to this area?
I was born in Rockingham. Now I live in Pinehurst. I have a lot of family here, and I like the area. There’s so many places that offer live music, and it’s so much more conducive to what I’m doing.

Describe your sound.
We play traditional, old-school country music. I call it outlaw country, which is a form of country music that’s more edgy and rocking.

Who are your musical influences/inspirations?
I like to describe Dark Horse’s sound as a cross between Merle Haggard and old-school country. He is one of my biggest influences — period. I try to emulate him more than anybody.

Man playing guitarFavorite local spot to play?
I love playing at Broad Street. I do open-mic at Broad Street every Wednesday night. I also really like The Bell Tree. It’s always elbow to elbow when we play at both of those venues, and you never know what kind of people will show up.

Do you have any goals for the future?
I think we mainly want to expand our fan base and keep on promoting this old-school music. One of the TV shows on Discovery Channel, “Moonshiners,” called me recently to do some meet and greets with them. Getting national TV coverage like that was definitely one of our goals and a way for us to get our name and our music out there.

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