Happy New Year!
Even in normal times – a phrase that most certainly doesn’t apply to present day – the post-holidays winter months are the “secret season” in Asheville and its environs. The tourists (who are both an economic engine for the region and the bane of many local residents’ existence) largely stay away for January and February, providing a gentle reminder to locals of just how quiet things used to be.
Add to that the curious mix of caution (there’s, y’know, a pandemic raging) and optimism (vaccines on the way!) and add to that a few selected live performances. For those who decide to venture out, here’s the best of what’s happening musically and locally in the next 30 days.
Artist: Chuck Brodsky
Venue: White Horse Black Mountain
Date: Friday, Jan. 8, 8 p.m.
Door: [check with venue]
As I wrote in a 2018 feature, “With the exception of a trio of records he released in the final years of the 20th century, Chuck Brodsky has long been the model of the independent, do-it-yourself artist. It’s just that now, the music business as a whole is catching up with his approach. He crowd-funded his last three albums, the most recent of which is Them and Us. He’s a singer/songwriter with a keen wit that sets him apart from the pack.
Artist: Hustle Souls
Venue: 185 King St.
Date: Friday, Jan. 8, 7 p.m.
Door: $14 and up
This Asheville quartet combines the Muscle Shoals feel with jaw-droppingly accomplished musicianship and a musically eclectic approach. They have a new album due out soon (which I plan to cover) but in the meantime, their 2018 album Color provides a good idea of what they’re about.
Artist: The Arcadian Wild
Venue: Grey Eagle
Date: Saturday, Jan. 16, 9 p.m.
The sole out-of-town act in this roundup, this Nashville quartet combines a schooled/classical foundation with the more folk- and folklore-rooted Americana stylings of bluegrass. Their second album, 2019’s Finch in the Pantry debuted on Billboard’s bluegrass chart in the #9 spot.
Artist: Derek McCoy Trio
Venue: Oklawaha Brewing
Date: Friday, Jan. 29, 8 p.m.
A sought-after guitarist and teacher, Derek McCoy has experience in a wide variety of genres including funk, jazz, improvisational, rock and more. My guess – I haven’t seen them live – is that his Trio will emphasize the more accessible, listener-friendly styles for this brewery gig.