Culture Watch

Nikki Talley Claims Carolina Stardom

Local singer/songwriter Nikki Talley recently won the Asheville-based, American Idol-knockoff show Carolina Star. Her win has already been announced on live TV, so this is somewhat old news. Then again, given how utterly lax the show’s promotional team has been, chances are they haven’t gotten around to doing much with the information yet. (In fact, as I write this, some two days after the announcement, the official Web site for the show is still hyping the semi-finals.) Talley takes home $10,000 and a so-called “recording contract,” the details of which remain unclear. (According to producer—and Andie MacDowell ex-fiancé—Kevin Geagan, the “contract” may end up being more of an artist-development deal.) Talley told Xpress she plans on using most of the money to record her third album. For more information, visit, which has been following the story. Also, feel free to visit , which may be updated by the time you read this.

Secret Lives Hints At A New Label

According to a MySpace bulletin the band sent out over the weekend, local “screamo” band Secret Lives of the Freemasons may be on the verge of breaking some big news. The band, now in the final stages of recording its second album, The Weekend Warriors, claims to be in “label talking mode” and in the process of weighing multiple offers. Given their reluctance to give hints and the success that the group found on their last label, Astro Magnetics, it’s reasonable to assume that Secret Lives may talking to players in the big leagues. For more info, visit

Robert DiMaio Clears Up The Mystery

While we’re on the topic of local rockers, it’s worth mentioning that local rock/funk/fusion guy Robert DiMaio recently released his second album, Robert DiMaio & The Beauty Junkies. While the album could be seen as a follow-up to his 2003 release Deepin The Mystery, it’s more along the lines of a reinvention, trading in mediocre jams with his pals for nitro-fueled tracks with DiMaio’s guitar driving the songs. (As a result, it can actually be listened to for periods of longer than 30 seconds at a time.) The album was recorded by local mono-name rocker Butch at Dragon Recording Studio. For more information, visit


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