Breazeale’s Grocery Bluegrass near Pendleton is a toe-tapping good time
The Grascals, Willie Wells & Blue Ridge Mountain Grass and The Little Roy & Lizzy Show all have played there. But the real stars at Breazeale’s Grocery Bluegrass are the local guitar, banjo, bass and mandolin musicians who circle up every Saturday night for bluegrass picking from 6:30 until 11.
One of the few picking parlors remaining in the Upstate, Breazeale’s offers a free toe-tapping good time where anyone is welcome to play or just sit and listen.
“You never know who’s going to walk in that door and pick,” says Breazeale’s owner Don Acevedo. “Great talent comes in here. We probably have the best musical place in the Upstate, by far.”
As the name suggests, Breazeale’s Grocery Bluegrass is housed in a former grocery store built in the 1930s along Liberty Highway between Anderson and Pendleton.
“This was the Wal-Mart for this community,” said Acevedo, who opened Breazeale’s Grocery Bluegrass with his wife, Jane, 14 years ago. “They sold meats, canned goods, Cokes and they had two gas pumps outside. There’s a pond out back with a natural spring, and I’m told that people in the community used to sit around out there and tell stories. There’s a lot of history here.”
Breazeale’s is still a gathering spot, and not just for bluegrass picking. Cowboy Church meets there on Tuesday nights, and banjo, ukulele and guitar lessons are taught there three nights each week. The picking parlor has instruments for sale and even markets its own brand of coffee, with flavors such as Banjo Blend, Guitar Hazel, Fiddle Me Crazy, Bass Kahlua and Mandolin Pecan. There’s even a luthier shop where Acevedo builds and refurbishes bluegrass instruments.
Whether a novice player or a pro; young, old or in between, all are welcome at Breazeale’s.
The Sweet Potato Pie Kids, a traveling band of the Young Appalachian Musicians in Pickens County, drop by regularly to do their showcasing, Acevedo said. And it’s not unusual for a professional group to stick around after the show to jam with the locals.
“What I like about those folks is that when they’re done with their concert, they sit around and play with the young kids and teach them,” Acevedo said. “It really enhances their playing just sitting around and talking with professionals.”
And while COVID-19 has limited the number of attendees at live shows due to social distancing, Saturday night picking at Breazeale’s hasn’t missed a beat.
“It’s been a real blessing, this place,” Acevedo said. “I always look at it as a mission field. It’s about the people, especially today with the pandemic. I think it’s a great place for people to come and listen to music.
“Where I get my payback is when I’m up there playing and I see people that this might be the only place they have to go for enjoyment, especially some of your elderly people. I see them out there smiling and tapping their foot, that’s my reward. This is a place where you can enjoy good music, good fellowship and good people, and that’s what it’s about.”
Want to visit?
There is no cover charge at Breazeale’s and no alcoholic beverages are permitted.