Author Archive

Asheville Improv Comedy Fest: Planning to Improvise

Improvisation is performance without a net: there’s no script and no direction. The actors onstage succeed or fail on the strength of their quick wit and ability to work together. And when improvisation works, it showcases creativity in its rawest, most spontaneous form. With a goal of getting Asheville on the map as a destination

Album Review: Big Star — In Space

To those who followed Alex Chilton’s musical activities in the 1980s and beyond, the thought that he would ever revisit his Big Star-era music – much less put the band back together – seemed extraordinarily unlikely. So when it finally happened, with original drummer Jody Stephens plus the Posies (Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow), it

Album Review: Mavis Staples — We Get By

When it comes to African American roots music – for that matter, any American roots music at all – the Staples name is royalty. Led by Roebuck “Pops” Staples and wife Cleotha, the Staple Singers made music that did more than just transcend genres; it erased the divisions between them. The group’s anthemic, soul-stirring songs

Book Review: The Show Won’t Go On

Popular culture has long held a fascination with death. The old “death and taxes” saw about it being one of life’s inevitabilities speaks to the importance we place upon it. And that fixation – mixed with fear and dread – has manifested itself in all forms of artistic expression. Against that backdrop, a book that

Album Review: Michele D’Amour and the Love Dealers – Heart of Memphis

For musicians, one upside of the internet and its associated technological innovations is that the old barriers to entry are largely gone; anyone can make an release an album. Unfortunately, that reality is also a downside for the listening public: anyone can make an album. As such, self-released albums are greeted with a certain skepticism.

Album Review: Hollywood Fats Band — Blues by the Pound Vol. 1

Hollywood Fats (Michael Mann) was a West Coast blues guitarist who died in 1986 at age 32; as the liner notes for Blues by the Pound Vol. 1 assert, he left this earth before earning the fame he deserved. Those uncredited liner notes do lay it on a bit thick, wanting readers to believe that

Diana Krall: Here to Stay

While she is popular the world over, contralto Diana Krall got off to a modest start. Her official debut release, 1993’s Stepping Out earned positive reviews, but it didn’t initially sell in large numbers. Yet that release did bring her to the attention of producer Tommy LiPuma. He produced her second album, Only Trust Your

Album Review: DJ Audio — ‘Hottest in the City, Vol. 1’

When we last checked in on the work of DJ Audio, the Asheville hip hop artist born Ethan Conner had just released an EP, Shut it Down. That collection of tracks drew from a wide range of influences that extended well beyond the confines of hip hop, but because of its relative brevity, the EP

Ex Hex is Bigger and Better Than Ever

It’s best not to read too much into the fact that eclectic musician and songwriter Mary Timony’s band Ex Hex took its name from a solo album she made back in 2005. “Honestly, I just saw Ex Hex as a cool name for a band a long time ago, and since I didn’t really have

Book Review: “Echoes” by Glenn Phillips

For nearly fifty years, guitarist Glenn Phillips has been making music that defies classification. First with the Hampton Grease Band, and later as a prolific solo artist and active contributor to the works of others, Atlanta-based Phillips has continued to confound those who would apply labels to his music. And now with the release of