Four nationally-touring acts are among the live music highlights in Asheville in the coming 30 days. Go see ‘em, and support local artists as well.
Artist: Jonny Couch
Date: Friday, May 19, 8:30 p.m.
One of Asheville’s best under-the-radar spots for live music, Fleetwood’s can always be counted upon to book quality acts. The latest is no exception. Jersey City-based Jonny Couch makes original music that draws from proud traditions: glam rock and ‘80s power pop sensibilities figure into his work. There’s also a subtle electronic (‘80s new wave variant) character to some of his songs, but it’s delivered with a nicely crunchy guitar-oriented approach. 2019’s Mystery Man is his most recent full-length, and it’s recommended, as it’s full of concise and catchy rockers. Couch has also released a string of singles more recently; I’d expect those to figure into his live set as well. Also on the bill: the Whiffs, Rocky MTN Roller, Pleasure House.
Artist: Acid Mothers Temple
Venue: The Grey Eagle
Date: Monday, May 22, 8 p.m.
Combine the outré musical stance of bands form the Elephant 6 Collective, add a dash of krautrock, a bit of prog and a healthy dose of psych. Now make it Japanese. The result might be Acid Mothers Temple. Founded more than three decades ago, this revolving-cast collective makes The Flaming Lips sound like the Lemon Pipers. A dizzyingly convoluted discography (over 100 albums) and personnel roster are both very much in keeping with the out-there approach of this outfit. It might not surprise you to learn that the group has connection to another wonderfully whacked-out musical project, Gong. Their recent cover of Black Sabbath’s “The Wizard” is a must-hear, set aside 20 minutes for the experience. ST 37 opens.
Artist: Sierra Ferrell
Venue: Salvage Station
Date: Saturday, June 3, 7 p.m.
Door: $25 advance / $30 day of show
Perhaps just a bit more down-to-Earth than Acid Mothers Temple (I kid!), West Virginia-born Ferrell is a hero in the Americana and alt- scene. She comes form a bluegrass foundation but her music is informed by more modern (and more electric) forms as well. Ferrell has released three well-received albums, but her live shows are at the core of her appeal; her latest tour has been a sell-out most everywhere it’s gone. Keep that in mind as you consider whether to buy an advance ticket (in other words, do it).
Artist: Randall Bramblett
Venue: Ayurprana Listening Room
Date: Saturday, June 3, 8 p.m.
Door: $20 advance / $25 day of show
Not only is Bramblett a musician, songwriter and singer of the highest order, he’s a helluva nice guy. His music is the product of (shall we say) a life lived, and the passion, thought and care that goes into his artistry pays rich dividends. Bramblett’s résumé is filled with dazzling credits (work with Widespread Panic, Sea Level, Traffic) but his solo work is equally impressive. His most recent album, 2020’s Pine Needle Fire is another in an unbroken string of superb albums. In addition to enjoying him live onstage, I’ve has the pleasure of interviewing Randall Bramblett twice, once in 2013 and again just last year. He’s always a great interview.
See you at the show!