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ENCORE: Country Crooner Perry Fowler On Owning Petra's, A Piece Of Charlotte Music's Heart

Daniel Coston 2.jpg
Daniel Coston
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Perry Fowler singing as part of country-folk duo Sinners & Saints with bandmate Marc Baran.

The hills are alive with the sound of music: not just from Perry Fowler's mountain music band Sinners & Saints, but also from Fowler's locally-owned and operated venue Petra's.

"We’re community first. You can’t pound your chest and tout yourself as this community establishment if you’re not allowing local bands to come in and showcase what the Charlotte music scene could be... I’ve traveled around, and Charlotte’s got a pretty good thing going."
– Country music singer and venue co-owner Perry Fowler

Interview Highlights:

On how he became a part-owner at Petra’s:

Like most great things in life, it was totally accidental. I was looking for some part-time work about four years ago, and we had played Petra’s several times and it’s such a cool vibe. I was new to the bar scene, so I started working the door there about four years ago. A few months later they started training me to be a bartender, [then] they made me bar manager.

One guy [named] Jerry Brown — he passed away last August. He’s the one who opened Petra’s, and he just asked me, “Perry, do you want some skin in the game?”

On Petra’s focus on local bands:

We’re community first, and you can’t pound your chest and tout yourself as this community establishment if you’re not allowing local bands to come in and showcase what the Charlotte music scene could be. I’m not saying it’s there yet, [but] I’ve traveled around and Charlotte’s got a pretty good thing going.

On advice he gives to bands trying to get booked for concerts:

Have some etiquette in your email, even though there might not be much money involved. This is a business. You should treat your music [like a business], unless you’re playing on the side of your bed, on your couch or in your garage. The minute you step out of your house, it becomes a business —whether you want it to or not. So treat it like a business, and have some courtesy and some etiquette in your email.

On why he’s so involved in Charlotte music:

There’s too many good bands in Charlotte to not give them an avenue to perform.

At the same time, this is where I live and I really love to put on shows and bring in bands. I mean there’s a little bit of an ego thing about it when I can say that a member of the Wu-Tang Clan played at my spot. That’s pretty awesome, and it’s not like we’re a big spot. I mean, we’re only 120 [capacity]. So, that’s kind of why I do it. It just makes me feel good. I guess I want to be an example for other people, too — this is how you do things. We’re not the only way to do it, but this is a good example of how to do it. Maybe other people can carry the torch, and keep this thing going.

Music featured in this #WFAEAmplifier chat:

Athenaeum - “What I Didn't Know”
Sinners & Saints - “Up Like the Sun, Down like the Rain”
Hoots & Hellmouth - “Why Would You Not Want to Go There?”
Sinners & Saints - “Promise Land”
Sinners & Saints - “Music Man”

Stay Connected:

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Click here to discover your next favorite Charlotte musician on our Amplifier Spotify playlist. Like what you hear? Let us know on social media!

Chat with Joni Deutsch and tag WFAE on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Joni Deutsch is happy to call Charlotte home as WFAE's manager for on-demand content and audience engagement, where she's led the first Charlotte Podcast Festival (named one of the “best podcast conferences” by Buzzsprout) and helped produce such podcasts as FAQ City, SouthBound, Inside Politics, Work It and the Apple Podcast chart-topping series She Says. In addition to being an NPR Music contributor, Joni is also the creator and host of WFAE’s Charlotte music podcast Amplifier, named “Best Podcast” by Charlotte Magazine and honored for excellence in arts and music podcasting by the local Edward R. Murrow Awards and The Webby Awards (called “The Internet’s Highest Honor” by The New York Times).