Author Archive

Mike Mills’ Rock/orchestral Hybrid

Note: I’ve written a number of pieces ( links: [1] [2] [3] ) based on interviews with former R.E.M. bassist Mike Mills. Here’s another. — bk Mike Mills is best known as the bassist in R.E.M. From the band’s formation in Athens, Georgia in 1980 to its amicable dissolution in 2011, Mills sang backing/harmony vocals

Andrew Scotchie: All in the Family

At only 25 years of age, guitarist, singer and songwriter Andrew Scotchie has a thriving music career. A prominent fixture of the Western North Carolina music scene, Scotchie and his blues-rocking band the River Rats started out in 2011 as buskers on the streets of Asheville; today the group has released three albums of original

Single Review: Cameo — “El Passo”

In the world of funk and soul, Cameo reigned supreme. Between the release of the band’s 1977 debut album, Cardiac Arrest and 1990’s Real Men… Wear Black, the New York City-based group scored a Top 20 R&B chart position for every single one of its records. On the R&B singles chart, Cameo racked up an

Your Most Valuable Possession: Ben Folds Five’s ‘…Reinhold Messner’ at 20

North Carolina-based Ben Folds Five came on the scene in 1995 with their self-titled debut album. The Chapel Hill band had been together two years, honing their unusual (in a rock context, anyway) approach: a piano, bass and drum trio with no guitars. The sonic space customarily occupied by lead guitar was filled with Robert

Buzzing About Asheville: Queen Bee and the Honeylovers

Traditionally, concept albums have been almost exclusively within the rock idiom. But Asheville singer and songwriter Whitney Moore has breathed new life into the form by applying it to a very different musical style: jazz. Celebrating the release of the local history-themed Asheville, Moore’s band, Queen Bee and the Honeylovers played a show at Isis

Book Review: Bruce Iglauer’s ‘Bitten by the Blues’

Launched in 1971, Chicago-based indie label Alligator Records would grow to become one of the most significant forces in the commercial revitalization of blues. Founded by Bruce Iglauer (who remains at the label’s helm to this day), Alligator has been at the forefront of support for blues artists old and new. Iglauer’s new memoir, Bitten

Still Reigning King of the Twang Bar: Adrian Belew’s ‘Mr. Music Head’ at 30

By 1989, Adrian Belew was well into the high-profile phase of his career, one that continues to present day. The guitarist’s star had been in ascension since being discovered by Frank Zappa and added to his band, subsequently joining David Bowie’s band, and going on to work as a sideman for Tom Tom Club and

Live from Laurel Canyon: Songs and Stories of American Folk Rock

In the Hollywood Hills West district of Los Angeles, a mere two miles from Hollywood Boulevard, there exists a relatively secluded region called Laurel Canyon. Beginning in the middle 1960s and continuing for about a decade, the canyon became an incubator for a particular kind of music. Songwriters flocked to the Canyon, making homes there,

Album Review: Howlin’ Wolf — Moanin’ in the Moonlight

Though he had already been a performing musician for some two decades, Chester “Howlin’ Wolf” Burnett began his recording career in 1951, cutting sides for Sam Phillips in Memphis. By the next year he was under contract to Chess Records. As 1959 began, he had released no less than 22 singles. With the album era

Ryan RnB Barber: Persistence Pays Off

As recently as 2015, Ryan Barber was homeless. But through a combination of determination and talent, today the Asheville musician is realizing his life and music goals. The newest release from Ryan RnB Barber – today a ubiquitous presence in the Asheville music scene – is a solo album pointedly titled Rejuvenation. Backed by his