Alexa Rose: No Contest

Though she can attribute at least some of her success to doing well in songwriting contests, Asheville-based singer-songwriter Alexa Rose has mixed feelings about competition. But as she put the finishing touches on Medicine for Living, her album due in this month, Rose teamed up with a recent fellow competitor for a songwriter-focused show at

Andrew Reed: Putting Things in Order

In a world increasingly defined by fractiousness and divisiveness, the music and world view of Western North Carolina multi-instrumentalist Andrew Reed is a welcome restorative. Though Reed — who’s been releasing albums since the 1980s — works in a variety of styles including progressive rock, his most recent solo album, If All the World Were

Arrested Development: The Speech Interview, Part Three

Continued from Part Two … For decades it’s been the case that American artists – especially the more interesting ones – tend to do better in Europe and Asia. The list of blues and jazz artists who had to go to Europe to be make a living is really long. Why do you think your

Arrested Development: The Speech Interview, Part Two

Continued from Part One … Arrested Development has found success beyond the hip-hop fan base in a way that other acts haven’t always done, and you’ve done it without compromising your approach. What do you think explains the group’s appeal to listeners who might not otherwise be all that interested in hip-hop? The music was

Arrested Development: The Speech Interview, Part One

If you turned on your radio or tuned into MTV in 1992, you were familiar with Arrested Development. The Atlanta-based group did something that was quite unique for its time; standing in stark contrast to the gangsta rap of the era, Arrested Development made conscious, melodic hip-hop. For its trouble, the group scored early and

Arrested Development: Creating Their Own Lane

Hailed as creators of a new musical genre, Arrested Development scored a worldwide blockbuster hit with their 1992 debut album. The group’s unique take on hip-hop influenced an entire generation of artists, and by 2000 Arrested Development was making music on its own terms, operating largely outside the machinery of the music industry. The group

Book Review: A Voice of the Warm

Every so often, some of my Facebook friends and I engage in a little game. You might call it Dreadful Earworms: we try to outdo each other by rattling off the titles of some of the most annoying, saccharine, maudlin and just downright awful songs. If you’re a boomer (or perhaps even the child of

Backline’s Traditional Roots Meet a Modern Sound

Five-piece bluegrass band Backline came together in 2016, playing a style of the mountain music that bridges the gap between traditional and modern. The group’s rich vocal harmonies are a highlight; all five members sing. Based in Spartanburg, S.C., Backline has released two album: 2016’s Carolina and a brand-new collection, A Thousand Wishes. What’s your

Album review: Queen Bee and the Honeylovers – Asheville

On their debut CD release, Queen Bee and the Honeylovers pay tribute to their hometown with a collection of original songs in a warmly familiar style. Singer and songwriter Whitney Moore dug deep into the history of the mountain city, crafting 14 songs that have one metaphorical foot in the past, the other firmly planted

Black Joe Lewis: Avoiding Obsolesence

Black Joe Lewis knows that he musical path he has chosen is a difficult one. In the face of machine-generated pop and a society that seems increasingly afflicted with attention deficit order, the soul-funk-blues of Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears can seem out of place. But the Austin musician follows his muse wherever it