Southpaw steals the show

Published 9:26 am Tuesday, September 13, 2011

If the opposite side of the brain controls an individual’s dominant hand, then those working behind the scenes to stage the 8th annual Ahoskie Heritage Day this past weekend must all be left-handed.

In other words, they made the “right” choice.

In case you missed it, and most of you did judging by the small crowd gathered near the Ahoskie Amphitheater stage Saturday afternoon, a young singer from the western part of our state stole the show at Heritage Day.

Personally, I never heard of Katelyn Marks before I set about my duties to gather information to publish in our annual Heritage Day tab. I scanned over her bio, discovering the usual jargon – she has “commercial potential”; “dreams of being a county music artist”; “wants to be a role model”; she fronts a “high energy band”; and is “receiving interest from record labels, casting directors, and music industry agents.” At the age of 19, she also made it to the fourth round of “American Idol” in 2008.

I remember thinking that Ahoskie Town Manager Tony Hammond had scheduled four hours of an unknown musical act to fill the afternoon void before the big dogs – Beach Music giant “Band of Oz” – hit the stage at 7 p.m.

After listening to Katelyn and her band, I vastly underestimated the enormous talents of both.

From the very first guitar lick of the initial number to the last verse of the final song uttered from her lips, I became a big fan. When she performed one of my all-time favorite songs – “When Will I Be Loved” (written by Phil Everly in 1960) performed by Linda Ronstadt – I was in love with Katelyn, not in a physical sense, rather with her vast talent as well as that of her stage sidekick, Derek Drye who is a versatile musician playing lead guitar, dobro, mandolin, harmonica, as well as sharing lead and back-up vocals.

I wasn’t alone in my thinking.

My longtime friend and newspaper publishing colleague Jay Jenkins, who served as the afternoon and evening DJ for Heritage Day, was also wowed by Katelyn and her band. Ditto for Ahoskie Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President Dan Joyner and others that were drawn to near the stage by what we all were hearing.

Unfortunately, there just wasn’t enough audience to really let Katelyn and her band know and feel that they were making an impact. It wasn’t until the band’s final set that some of the younger crowd finally made their way to the front of the stage. I closely studied those young faces and their movements to the music….they, like me and the other diehards at the stage for most of the afternoon, were really enjoying what they were hearing.

I ran into Tony Hammond on Saturday night and suggested bringing Katelyn and her band back for the 2012 Heritage Day. They need to be placed in a time spot more fitting for the high level of their talent…perhaps a 5-7 p.m. slot as the lead-in band for the night’s featured act. Better yet, maybe we can have a Katelyn Marks weekend. I’d pay to see that and perhaps others would as well.

And to top it all off I discovered Katelyn’s most enduring trait I observed while snapping a few photos of her signing autographs following the performance. She, like me, is left-handed. As usual, southpaws rule!

Cal Bryant is Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. He can be reached at or 252-332-7207.