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About the Nocturna

Greetings from Myrtle Beach! First, you must understand, we are a tourist town. We have almost 100 golf courses. We have factory outlet stores. We have a sea of neon called "Restaurant Row". In a region rich in cultural heritage, we only go back to about 1920; the very ground beneath our feet was for years considered too worthless to bother developing (Not any more!). We have some great beaches, and our own orchestra.

In the early nineties, though, when our story begins (pre-House of Blues, pre-Barnes and Noble superstores, pre-Broadway at the Beach) we were still pretty much considered a cultural dead zone. A black hole. "The Redneck Riviera". That's how the coffeehouse at 801 Main came to be an icon. Created around this time by Jeffry Loy and his mom, Lauren, as "ibbys", it quickly became an underground Mecca for local artists, poets, musicians, and dreamers (not to mention a healthy horde of teenagers too young to hit the bars). I dropped by to play one night and "signed on" as a regular almost immediately.

After Jeff bailed to Atlanta, the ownership transferred to a couple of former patrons: Heather Lee and Jamie Murmann. The walls became purple, the "moon" logo appeared, and Nocturna was officially launched. It's kind of hard to explain the atmosphere: like "Friends", maybe, except younger, crazier, and without the alcohol. I knew many people who virtually grew up there.

The code of conduct was simple: "Thou shalt not be rude, thou must occasionally purchase beverage, and thou wilt, (on open mic night), perform original material only. (Jamie and I first played together at Nocturna for open mic nights). Several years later, one (literally) tear-filled evening, Nocturna folded. Happily, the Algonquin, courtesy of another former patron, Kristen Wilkins, soon arose to take its place.

By this time I'd built up quite a repertoire of my own material, and I've only now come to realize how important to the shaping of my music that scene was. I'd just begun to record the CD, however, when the coffeehouse doors closed for the last time, leaving only the building and the memories behind.

Shannon Thomas (who created the artwork for the album) and I sincerely hope our efforts will be seen as something of a tribute to a great place, some great people, and a great time in our lives.

2001-2002 Phil Fox
Art (this page) by Kate Phillips