interview Archive

Sam Lewis: Don’t Fence Him In

Sam Lewis is nominally an Americana artist. But a listen to any of his albums – most notably 2018’s Loversity and his aptly-titled 2020 release Solo – reveals a songwriter, musician and singer whose work transcends genre. His popular song “One and the Same” has as much to do with soulful blues like Boz Scaggs’

10 Albums That Changed My Life: Emilio “Mimi” Castillo

For more than 50 years, Tower of Power has been bringing its soulful brand of funk to hit records and energetic live shows. In 2018 the nine-man band – plus guest/alumni singers and players and a full string section – returned to where it all began: Oakland, California. There they played a two-night concert celebration,

Songwriter Stephen Evans: Making Sure the Songs Hold Their Own

A lifetime performing musician living in Asheville since 1996, Stephen Evans plays live with his band the True Grits, as part of a songwriters’ collective and as a solo artist. It’s one thing to perform as part of a group. But a solo show places all of the responsibility on you. How do you engage

The Voice of Michelle Lang

Vocalist and teacher Michelle Lang is the latest addition to the faculty at Hendersonville-based WNC Music Academy. Even during this pandemic, the Academy has found responsible ways – online lesson formats, privately archived videos of recitals, socially-distanced private instruction – to allow its students to continue their musical education and creative expression. Ms. Lang comes

Ryan Guerra: The Go-to Guy for Tributes

One of the most popular and enduring live music events in Western North Carolina was the Music on the Rock concert series. Though it ended before the pandemic, Music on the Rock featured a succession of tribute performances, each focusing on a popular music act. For many of those years, the program was coordinated by

Same Roots, Separate Sounds

New exhibit highlights Gospel’s role in our region’s music In 2020, the Tryon (North Carolina) Fine Arts Center launched its Illuminations Through Music and Heritage exhibit, shining a light on the region’s diverse musicians. The program is funded in part through the Communities Connecting Heritage grant administered by World Learning and the U.S. Department of

Hendersonville Symphony, Up Close and Personal

This feature appeared previously in Bold Life Magazine. Just over a year ago, the Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra launched a new program aimed at expanding its audience. The orchestra’s Director of Marketing and Special Events, Paul Conroy, explained at the time that the goal of its “HSO Presents” concert series was to “broaden our musical footprint.”

The JackTown Ramblers: Blue Notes and Bluegrass

To most listeners, the musical connection between jazz manouche (also known as “gypsy jazz”) and Appalachian bluegrass isn’t immediately obvious. But Western North Carolina sextet The JackTown Ramblers explore the region on the Venn Diagram where those styles intersect. The members of the group are well positioned to understand and explain the relationship between those

Vagabond Crowe: Balancing Roots and a New Direction

Hendersonville, N.C. band Vagabond Crowe began as an alternative American/folk band, and recently recorded and released its debut album, Fortune Teller. But as co-leader, songwriter Mitch Stewart explains, creativity often means change, and today the group looks and sounds different from before. Your website says that the songs on Fortune Teller were “written in the

Dialogue Now! Consolidated Returns From a Self-Imposed Exile

An edited version of this feature appeared previously in SF Weekly. Socialism is back. Though it was widely popular in the United States in the first half of the 20th century, the political philosophy endured years in the wilderness thanks to its vilification during the McCarthy era, the “me decade” of the 1970s, the Reagan