Back Porch Stories

     Back Porch Stories was presented by the Anson County Writers' Club, South Piedmont Community College, and the Union County Writers' Club at the Ansonia Theatre in Wadesboro on Saturday, April 20 as a part of the 2013 Carolinas Writers Conference.

Back Porch Stories

Michael Reno Harrell
Featured storyteller

     Michael Reno Harrell is an award winning songwriter, storyteller and published author. His songs have been described as “Appalachian grit and wit”, but his self pinned material resonates far beyond his Southern roots. Because of his exceptional knack for description, fans have described his songs as “little movies”. Michael’s songs have earned both gold and platinum awards and his recordings have topped the Americana charts. Working over 200 dates a year, he has been a featured performer at the National Storytelling Festival, MerleFest, the Gamble Rogers Folk Festival, and the Walnut Valley Festival just to name a few. His combination of music and storytelling are based in experience, sometimes downright funny, sometimes just plain scary, maybe even with a message worth taking away, but always mesmerizing and entertaining. Don’t miss the chance to experience what those faithful fans keep returning again and again to enjoy.

My Roots Are Showing - Episode 27 from Michael Reno Harrell on Vimeo.

Back Porch Stories Moderator

Martha Reed Johnson

     According to her parents, Martha has been telling tales from the time she could talk. She is one of five children raised in New England and now residing in South Carolina. She shares with heart and humor stories of growing up in a family of crazy adventurers. Martha has firsthand experience of life in a tall tale. From Massachusetts to California, Florida to Nova Scotia, across three continents, on horseback, foot, a flying bus, and a bike, Martha's travels will leave you laughing and wanting more. Martha is a master at finding, creating and telling amazing stories from ordinary moments.

Tyris Jones

Tyris transforms himself into the characters he tells about in his stories using theater techniques such as wearing a turban and carrying a cane. At other points in his show he simply tells humorous stories about himself. His career had ranged from working in theater to touring with hip-hop artist Common. Returning to Laurinburg, he acted in local plays and begun his foray into storytelling. He has performed at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough TN. Whether telling about a talking mule, his neighbor Sweet Miss Clara when growing up to portraying a slave who finds freedom via the Underground railroad, Tyris brings his audience into the stories. “He brings a lot of passion and talent to his craft. He has wonderful body movement and a great voice. He definitely keeps your attention.”

Randy Rayfield

Self-described as a storyteller, writer and catfish cook, Randy brings an unique blend of styles to his work. “My style is a little Jerry Clower, a helping of Lewis Grizzard, some Will Rogers all mixed together with a pinch of Jay Leno thrown in. It’s a little more Decorative than a pound cake but not quite as fancy as a red velvet cake.”
Whether telling stories, writing or cooking catfish, Randy describes his style as back of the pickup – just talking between people with no format, no rules and no boundaries. Drawing upon experiences as a government worker, police officer, cold call salesman (who almost starved), training specialist, private industry employee and observer of human folly, Randy offer a distinctive view on this exciting journey we call life.