Cary Theater

The Cary Theater’s First Musician Returns Five Years Later

Cary, NC – Five years ago, Claire Holley performed at the Cary Theater’s first concert. Now, she’s back on the anniversary of that performance, promoting a new album of hymns.

Revisiting the Music

Holley performs at the Cary Theater on Friday, July 12, 2019 at 8 PM, in a show presented by Six String, who also presented the Cary Theater’s first show on July 19, 2014.

When Holley last played at the Cary Theater, she was crowd-funding for a new album – a follow-up to her 1999 album “Sanctuary.” That crowd-funding campaign was successful and Holley now has her new album “Every Hour,” which is a collection of hymns, just like “Sanctuary.”

“I didn’t want to try to replicate ‘Sanctuary,’ I just wanted to sing more hymns,” Holley said. “It was a four or five day recording session and it was mostly live recording.”

“Every Hour” also has the same producer as “Sanctuary,” John Plymale, and he will also be at the Cary Theater concert for a Q&A with Holley about making the albums.

“When you have someone you’ve know for 20 years and you can still work together, that’s pretty cool,” Holley said.

Holley and Plymale at Overdub Lane in Durham in 1998 (Photo by Ginger Chamblin)
Holley and Plymale in Leakey, Texas in 2018 (Photo by Wendi Poole)

Additionally, Doug Largent, who played bass on “Sanctuary,” will be playing with Holley at the July 12 show.

But one major difference between “Sanctuary” and now “Every Hour” is while Holley played nearly every instrument on “Sanctuary,” with her new album, she gave control over to other musicians.

“I wanted to invite more people in,” she said. “I’ve met a lot of people over the years and I wanted to feature a lot of players.”

Another difference is in the 20 years, Holley said she’s changed as a person, both with personal changes including becoming a mother and losing her parents to a change in her overall perspective.

“Life’s more complicated now,” she said. “The older you get, the more you want to celebrate the simple things.”

Cary Theater
Musician Claire Holley, performing at the Cary Theater

Five Year Anniversary

Holley performed at the Cary Theater’s concert five years ago, together with Jon Shain, another regular at the downtown venue. David Sardinha, founder of Six String, started the shows at the Cary Theater while looking for a new venue to run concerts.

“I used to have an acoustic club in Cary, the Six String Café, that was open for five years. I’d established a relationship with the town and would hold side stage shows at Koka Booth Amphitheater,” Sardinha said. “When the Cary Theater opened in 2014, I reached back out to my old contacts. Coincedentally, they had been looking for my name as well for the exact same reason.”

Since then, Six String has been presenting concerts at the Cary Theater, as well as the Cary Arts Center. With the Six String Café, Sardinha said he was trying to replicate the listening room atmosphere of the 1960s and there is a similar setting with the Cary Theater.

“The attention is always on the stage and the musician, which is what I wanted for a theater. They even set down café tables in the front to help give it that atmosphere,” Sardinha said. “And since the theater got its art house direction with the movies it plays, that fits our vibe too.”

Holley said Sardinha was a big help to her when she was first touring and performing in the Triangle.

“With David, it’s not just about the bottom line for him, and it’s nice to see someone like that who is down for the long haul,” she said. “It’s not always easy but I’m glad he did it.”

Sardinha said Six String has remained a popular and recognizable brand in the area because audiences have come to expect certain things from a Six String show.

“People expect quality and professionalism,” he said. “We have folks who’ve been coming to our shows for 20 years. They may not know the musician but they know it’ll be good.”

Claire Holley performs at the Cary Theater, 122 E Chatham St., on Friday, July 12, 2019 at 8 PM.

Cary Theater

Story by Michael Papich. Photos courtesy of Claire Holley, Ginger Chamblin, Wendi Poole and Hal Goodtree.