Celebrating the Winston-Salem Sound (Live at the Ramkat 2018)

Myra Holder Remembers

(Myra is a singer and songwriter who fronted several bands in NYC in the 80s and recorded a well-regarded solo album, Four Mile Road, that has recently been reissued digitally, remastered, also available at streaming services.)

I first saw FAYE HUNTER in 1968 on the playground of Dalton Junior High School. I was in the ninth grade and my family had just moved up from Florida.

Faye was unforgettable in her cool sexy minidress and bleached blonde hair. In 1968, girls in Winston-Salem were still wearing black-and-white saddle oxfords--and not ironically.

Faye and I were friendly enough by the summertime that we would hang out at my house on Ford Street and listen to the new Led Zeppelin album. Faye focused intently on the bass lines and scatted along with them. We alternately laughed and swooned to the music and the hilariously unsubtle lyrics.

Mac Chambers lived a half a block away on the corner of Jefferson Street. During the summer of 1968, we were just kids playing kickball in the street.

Michael Byrd, a drummer and apprentice violin-maker lived next door to me. Faye's sister, Jenny, scooped Michael up and they promptly skedaddled to England.

Faye was an incredible natural vocalist, holding a permanent position among my all-time top three female favorites: Chrissie Hynde, Dusty Springfield, and Faye Hunter.

There were a few other important people in my world in those days.

I hung out with SAM MOSS at his Burke Street guitar store--we talked about everybody and everything. He gifted me with a couple of Slim Whitman LPs and I know he got a real kick out of introducing me to the Ramones.

He knew the sounds would rearrange my world order.

One day my home phone rang and a crazily garbled voice repeatedly gave instructions that I couldn't for the life of me understand. Finally the voice gave over to a tone of exasperation: "Go up Ebert (Road) about 100 feet and look in the grass!" TED LYONS (drummer for Sacred Irony and a general mover and shaker of that era) had hidden a wooden recorder there for me. This cemented a lifelong friendship with this amazing, brilliant guy.

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree: Mr. and Mrs. Lyons were kind and welcoming. Their basement was a cool place where I could escape the often over-heated atmosphere in my own home. Ted enjoyed creating artistic/musical "happenings" for his friends. One night he instructed Faye and myself to sit on the couch in his already-dark basement. He threw a blanket over our heads, cunningly increasing the anticipation. Then we heard the timeless and otherworldly opening bars to "Rockin' Chair" by the Band. It was Ted's successful effort to take us someplace we had never been.

In late 1971 my friend BETH SHEPARD and I were hanging out in the basement with Ted when there descended comely Bible salesman LARRY CASON. Forty-eight hours later Beth and Larry returned to Winston-Salem from South Carolina, after having taken their vows. They rested.


In the early nineteen-seventies bassist Bruce Doub, guitarist Byron Hill, and I were Red Cloud, a three-person combo out of Winston-Salem's West End. Red Cloud had been the name of the famous Chief of the Lakota. Red Cloud's gig was to perform covers of popular songs of that time. I was the singer, along with Byron.

Audiences in Winston seemed to like us and, when asked, were pretty good about putting a few coins in a hat for us. The club owner might add ten or twenty bucks to that. Then, in the wee hours after, we'd be sorting bills and counting change at Byron's apartment.

Red Cloud was a sober and fun-loving trio. We once or twice performed at the Barnacle, a boat parked in the surf at Atlantic Beach. The stage was in the prow. Pretty cool, n'est-ce pas?

Bruce, a man of few words, as perhaps befits a bass player, was solid as a rock, a little mysterious, and a sweetie.

Byron was tall and really good-looking. He wanted to be a professional songwriter and had the talent for it. Long story short, he eventually did move to Nashville and became a tremendous success.

Success has not spoiled Byron Hill.

My early years--aged three or four, sitting on the sofa watching the radio play--left me hooked on "beautiful time." I moved to NYC [in 1978] and there discovered, among other things, that I'm a Yankee at heart.


© 2022 Yesterday's Tomorrow