Doing it for the Smiles

Etowah musician spent years in the film industry

MAKING THE (HENDERSON COUNTY) SCENE
Myron Hyman
Portrait by Karin Strickland

After years living in Venice, California — where he split his time between playing music and working behind the camera on films like Steve Martin’s Father of the Bride II and the 1997-2002 TV series Ally McBeal — Myron Hyman relocated with his wife Laura to Etowah, in Henderson County, to be closer to family. When he moved, the guitarist and singer/songwriter brought his experience with him, applying it to his original songs and his arrangements of the rock, blues, and country classics he shares in Western North Carolina.

You were involved in the live-music scene in Los Angeles, playing famous venues like Madame Wong’s. Did you experience the pay-to-play phenomenon, in which performers played for “exposure,” paying the venue instead of the other way around?

That came right after me. I didn’t experience it, but I heard about it. The venues hired us, but we didn’t really play for that much money. I played a lot at Club 88, which became famous after we played there.

In addition to your work as a musician, when you lived in L.A. you worked extensively in the film industry. What lessons did you learn doing that that you’ve been able to apply as a performing musician?

The work ethic. Just like working in film, being a musician is a profession. Take it seriously, and get as good as you can at your craft.

You’ve put together solo arrangements of songs that were originally performed by groups. What are the advantages of playing solo?

The main advantage is that I’m never late! Believe me, I love playing with groups. But playing alone, if I want to go off time on something, it’s a lot easier to do that without having to rehearse with anybody.

Your set also includes original material. When you’re writing songs, do you have a specific goal in mind?

Each song kind of tells me what it’s about; they’re all stories. The last song I wrote was about my dad, so I had to get my facts right on that one. Most of my songs are stories of what I’ve learned in life.

You have an extensive repertoire. But is there one song in particular that seems to go over especially well?

It all depends on where I’m playing. A lot of people love Led Zeppelin. And a lot of people like Jimmy Buffett’s “Margaritaville”: They love singing, “Salt! Salt! Salt!” There are so many great songs.

… I play at a lot of places that have “regulars.” And people are always asking me to play certain songs. If I don’t know a song, when I go home I’ll figure it out, [transpose] it into the key I want it, and then come back and play it next time. It’s great watching the smiles on their faces after I do that.

Myron Hyman plays Appalachian Ridge Artisan Cidery (731 Chestnut Gap Road, Hendersonville) on Sunday, Feb. 6, 2:30-5:30pm; at Bold Rock Hard Cider in Mills River on Friday, Feb. 11, 5-8pm; at Sawyer Springs Vineyard’s Valentine’s Day celebration (124 Sandy Springs Lane, Hendersonville) on Sunday, Feb. 13, 2-5pm; and at Downtown Bold Rock in Asheville on Saturday, Feb. 26, 7-9pm. For more information, see “Myron Hyman Music” on Facebook. 

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