rawk Archive

30 Days Out, July 2020 #1: Blake Ellege Band, Rocky MTN Roller, Life Like Water, Mr. Jimmy

Once again it’s time for a look at live music events in and around Asheville in the coming 30 days. And for the first time since early March (and those mostly ended up canceled) there are some actual live-and-in-person performances to spotlight. That said, caveats apply. (1) Will these shows actually happen? Who knows!? Best

Boxed Set Review: Mojo Nixon — The Mojo Manifesto

Years ago while watching some or other “madcap” comedy film, I came to a realization: drama is comparatively easy, but comedy is difficult. It’s a fairly straightforward affair to tug at a viewer’s heartstrings; it’s quite another matter entirely to make them laugh. The same is true in music; writing a weepy ballad –not to

Album Review: Aloud — Sprezzatura

When I reviewed Aloud’s debut single more than two years ago, I expressed my belief that the group had real potential. I had no idea just how right I would turn out to be. The blaring horns that open “Loving U’s a Beautiful Thing” (and the album) signal that Sprezzatura is going to be a

Album Review: Iron City Houserockers – Have a Good Time … But Get Out Alive!

There’s a gritty, heartland strain of rock ‘n’ roll that has persisted through the decades. Bruce Springsteen’s best material is an exemplar of the style; shorn of artifice and filigree, it’s about visceral emotions and musical muscle. Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes did the same kind of thing, as did the Smithereens, though in

Album Review: Be-Bop Deluxe – Modern Music

Be-Bop Deluxe was one of those bands that didn’t fit neatly into a genre classification. Variously classified as progressive rock, glam rock and art rock, in truth none of those labels sits comfortably upon their body of work. Led by highly regarded guitarist Bill Nelson, the band – which lasted a relatively short six or

Album Review: The Harmed Brothers — Across the Waves

Though it’s billed as rock/Americana, The Harmed Brothers’ fifth album Across the Waves is better described as heartland rock. There’s twang in the music to be sure, but the earnest and soulful presentation of these songs is truer to the rock ‘n’ roll spirit. “Skyline Over” benefits from a tight, concise and memorable melody, and

Album Review: Nat Turner Rebellion – Laugh to Keep From Crying

I’ve written of similar observations before; here I am doing it once again. It amazes me to no end that so many years after the fact, never-before-heard recordings surface, and the quality of the music is remarkable. So it is with Nat Turner Rebellion’s Laugh to Keep From Crying. Recorded in various sessions between 1969

30 Days Out, June 2020 #2: Hearts Gone South, Angel Olsen, Natural Born Leaders, The Get Right Band

If you’re at all like me, you may have noticed this phenomenon: when you take on a new task, you stumble as you learn your way through it. And by the time you finally figure out the most efficient and effective way to do it, you’re nearly done. Perhaps that’s the case with musicians and

Album Review: Willie Nile — New York at Night

Way back when Bob Seger finally broke through nationally, much was written about how it took him many years to become an overnight sensation. And he’s merely one example of highly talented artists who toil in obscurity for years. Some – most, actually – never break out. They might earn a measure of critical claim,

Brushfire Stankgrass: Making Up for Lost Time

“We’re not a bluegrass band,” insists Will Saylor, co-leader with brother Ben in Brushfire Stankgrass. Instead, the popular Asheville quartet uses bluegrass as the launching point for its musical excursions, venturing well into folk, jam and rock forms in the process. And while the group makes no claims to capture the essence of Asheville in