Ben Folds has a new book several chapters of which are devoted to growing up in Winston-Salem.

“A Dream About Lightning Bugs: A Life of Music and Cheap Lessons,” will be released on July 30 by Ballantine Books.

Folds writes about growing up in Winston-Salem in the 1970s, going to Moore Labratory School, with its smell of mimeograph paper, and calls out several public school teachers for their encouragement including John “Chick” Shelton at Wiley Middle School and Chuck Burns, the music director at Reynolds High School.

The book chronicles the many twists in Fold’s musical journey, including breaking into the mainstream in 1997 with “Whatever and Ever Amen,” producing William Shatner and the break-up of Ben Folds Five. He also offers his commentary on today’s music, writing: “If I’m being really honest? ... I’m actually repulsed by overly computerized music, which dominates pop music now. It makes me feel ill.”

Folds recently performed with the Winston-Salem Symphony at An Appalachian Summer Festival in Boone. He is playing several dates with the Violent Femmes, including a show on Aug. 8 at the Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre.

Victoria Victoria returns with new song

Tori Elliott, who fronts the band Victoria Victoria, has released a new single and accompanying video.

“Sancutary” is a smooth pop-soul song that showcases Elliott’s enchanting vocals and Stephen Price’s layered production.

Similar to last year’s single “Body Body,” which explored body image, “Sanctuary” finds Elliott continuing a journey of self-discovery and empowerment in such lines as “I’ve got it bad/I’ve seen the light/I’m teaching myself.” It’s the sort of next-level song that, if there’s any justice, and there usually isn’t in the world of pop music, should make Victoria Victoria a break-out act.

Elliott’s friend, Beth Fletcher a graduate of UNC School of the Arts, directed the stylish video.

Victoria Victoria will be playing a hometown show at Monstercade, 204 W. Acadia Ave., on July 13. The Pinkerton Raid and Jim Joels Jr. will open the show.

Muddy Creek Sparta opens music hall

Fans of live music had reason to mourn and celebrate last week.

The bad news is that Muddy Creek Cafe & Music Hall in Bethania is closing after eight years. A new tenant is taking over most of the space inside the 12,500-foot mill that Muddy Creek has called home since 2011. Muddy Creek plans to close at the end of the year.

Days before owners Shana Whitehead and Bill Heath learned they’d have to shut down their Bethania business, they opened the music hall at Muddy Creek Sparta, 60 S. Main St., Sparta.

The couple opened the cafe in Sparta last year.

The music hall is about 2,500-square feet, a much bigger space than the intimate listening room in Bethania.

“We maximized the space there, so we were able to take the knowledge in that room and use it in the new space,” Heath said. “We used rough-cut pinewood to give it a rustic kind of feel and stained wood different colors.”

The music hall opened with two sold out shows from Matraca Berg and Mary Gauthier.

The plan is to have live music once a week, most likely on Saturday nights.

“It’ll be basically an extension of what we do here (Bethania),” Heath said.

In Sparta, Winston-Salem blues guitarist Big Ron Hunter will open for Ray Ickles and Trey Hensley on July 5. Magnolia Green will play July 6.

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Lisa O’Donnell writes about artists — visual, musical, literary and more — weekly in relish. Send your story ideas to or call 336-727-7420.

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