Dark Night, Bright Stars

From blues to rock to surf music, the Port City music scene offers some soul for everyone. WILMA asked local blues singer/songwriter Bibis Ellison about her local musical influences. And, it unfurled a web of earnest, talented songwriters and free-wheeling makers of music. Catch these song birds around town.




Resides: Wilmington and Chapel Hill

Style: Blues

Local influence: Fred Champion of Glow in the Dark Scars

“I was pretty intimidated by him when I first met him, but he’s just really smart and plugged in to what’s going on musically…Fred really pushed me to perform my own stuff and gave me the opportunity and venue to do that. He’s been doing this grassroots music scene in his apartment [and at his formerly owned] CD Alley. He’s been the guy to talk to. He’s inspiring to me because he plays this great music, but quietly. He’s just a kindred spirit for me.”


FRED CHAMPION, Glow in the Dark Scars

Songwriter/drummer/bassist/keyboardist/rhythm guitarist

Resides: Downtown Wilmington

Style: Anti-folk indie garage rock nerdcore

Local influence: Jamin Belmont and Hope Henderson of My Wonderful Machine

“Because of their work ethic, determination and integrity…They do what they love to do. Plain and simple. A little secret about Jamin: he is the master of catchy inspirational quotes. My current favorite one is, ‘If you’re hating, you ain’t creating.’ Ain’t that the truth.”



Fred on Brian: “He has a very good ear for what works and doesn’t work musically. His pop aesthetic is golden and I trust him to give honest and constructive feedback to me on my own recordings.”


Resides: Midtown

Style: Rock ‘n roll and indie pop
Local influence: Justin Lacy and the Swimming Machine

Hope on Brian: “His band has 12 people in the band with horns and back-up singers. It’s real intricate and has a New Orleans-feeling to it.”


HOPE HENDERSON, My Wonderful Machine

A  fairy on bass, keyboards and vocals.  

Resides: Midtown

Style: Romantic, western, psychedelic, rock n roll magic

Local influence: Paco Strickland

“I appreciate beautiful and romantic music and his music is very beautiful and romantic… He’s super talented and a real original in town.”




Resides: Historic district

Style: Mostly Spanish (flamenco and classical), Middle Eastern and Latin

Local influence: “As for guitarists, bluesman Jake Horton is my favorite local guitarist. He has made some of the biggest strides in making the local blues scene what it is today. I like how he plays—what he has to say. He has a great tone and sound. He’s the most telling guitarist; he makes his guitar speak. He tells it like it is and you hear what he says.”


JAKE HORTON, Ten Dollar Thrill and the Phantom Playboys


Resides: downtown Wilmington

Style: Old school blues and rockabilly based on the 1950s and 1960s

Local influence: Seth Moody

“I’ve played with him and he’s probably one of the best musicians in town overall. I appreciate the fact that he’s so versatile.”

SETH MOODY, The Noseriders, Da Howlies and The Carvers

Stand up bass, guitar, Moog synthesizer and theremin

Resides: Carolina Beach

Style: Late 1970s New Wave

Local influence: Tiffany Reece Forsythe

“She is a really good songwriter and great musician. When she’s playing, she might as well be folding clothes. She’s a really smooth instrumental musician and great vocalist.”



Vocals, banjo, guitar

Resides: Downtown Wilmington

Style: Straight up classic country, honky tonk

Local influence: Jimmy Phillips, Rural Swine

“As far as we’re concerned, they are local music legends. Somehow they can incorporate these classic country influences, but they are more of a punk band.”