MUSIC TO YOUR EARS March 6: Genesis’ ‘The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway’

with special guest Jeff Santiago

ABOUT THE DISCUSSION SERIES
Music to Your Ears is Bill Kopp’s monthly discussion series hosted by Asheville Guitar Bar and sponsored by AshevilleFM. On the first Wednesday of each month, music enthusiasts gather to discuss an important album, artist or musical movement. An interactive evening, Music to Your Ears isn’t a lecture; it’s a discussion led by experts and designed to enrich the listening experience. The character of each session is defined by the participants (that’s you). The conversation goes where the attendees take it: the person seated next to you might have attended Woodstock or seen The Beatles in concert. The insights of everyone in the room are what make each and every Music to Your Ears a unique experience.

ABOUT BILL KOPP
With over 500 bylines in Western North Carolina publications (Mountain Xpress, Bold Life, WNC Magazine and more), Asheville-based author and music journalist is an acknowledged expert on popular music. Author of two books – Reinventing Pink Floyd: From Syd Barrett to The Dark Side of the Moon and Disturbing the Peace: 415 Records and the Rise of New Wave – Bill Kopp writes for publications across the country and abroad. A contributing editor at Goldmine Magazine and contributing writer at GRAMMY.com, he has authored more than 30 album liner note essays and conducted more than 1000 interviews. He regularly hosts lecture/discussions on artists and albums of historical importance, and is a frequent guest on music-focused radio programs and podcasts.

WHAT: Music to Your Ears Discussion Series
WHO: Discussion led by music journalist/author Bill Kopp with special guest Jeff Santiago
WHERE: Asheville Guitar Bar, 122 Riverside Dr., Suite D, Asheville
WHEN: Wednesday March 6 7 @ 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. (doors open 6:30) $10 at the door / SEATING IS LIMITED


PREVIOUS EVENTS

MUSIC TO YOUR EARS Feb 7: The Music of Linda Ronstadt

Linda Ronstadt is a renaissance woman of popular music. The Arizona-born interpretive singer is best known for her prominent role in the folk-rock and country-rock movements of the 1960s and ‘70s, but her artistry has always been too expansive to fit neatly into the confines of those scenes. Her chart success underscores Ronstadt’s genre-spanning commercial appeal: more than 20 Top 40 hits on the US pop chart, nearly 30 on the Adult contemporary chart, 10 on the country singles chart and 5 on the Latin singles chart.

But chart success and raw numbers only tell part of the story. Ronstadt has made compelling and critically-acclaimed forays into Cajun, jazz, rock, opera, roots, traditional pop and other styles. A 13-time Grammy winning artist (with at least 16 additional nominations), Ronstadt’s myriad accomplishments include her status as the most successful female singer of the 1970s.

A 2019 Kennedy Center Honoree, Ronstadt retired from music in 2011, but her importance endures. A Grammy-winning documentary, Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice premiered in 2019. She remains busy today: her memoir, Feels Like Home: A Song for the Sonoran Borderlands was published just over a year ago.

In 2017 – with longtime friend and musical collaborator Paula Hanke – Asheville-based singer Peggy Ratusz launched a popular concert series, Women Who Make Music History. The two vocalists – both of whom have musical careers in their own right – chose the life and music of Linda Ronstadt at the subject of the first entry in that series. Describing the concept in an interview at the time, Ratusz said, “We want the subtleties of our message in each song to be heard, because we tell the story of these women while we’re singing.”

Join host and music journalist Bill Kopp for an evening in discussion with Peggy Ratusz about Linda Ronstadt. We’ll listen to key tracks and encourage questions from the audience. The evening is the latest installment of the popular “Music to Your Ears” discussion series, hosted by Asheville Guitar Bar and sponsored by AshevilleFM.

MUSIC TO YOUR EARS December 6

Paul McCartney and Wings’ Band on the Run

Featuring special guest Erik Mattox

The December 6 event is a listening party and discussion focusing on Band on the Run, the classic, Grammy-winning 1973 album from Paul McCartney and Wings.

The fraught circumstances under which the album was made stand in contrast to the power and accessibility of the music. McCartney endured the sudden departure of nearly half his band, armed robbery, accusations of cultural appropriation and – though he didn’t know it at the time – the potential of contracting cholera. But along with wife Linda and band mate Denny Laine, he rallied, creating what today is looked upon as a height – possibly the pinnacle – of his post-Beatles creative output. The album featured three hit singles: “Jet,” “Helen Wheels” and the title track, but the rest of the album is superb as well, showcasing the qualities that have made McCartney one of the most successful songwriters of all time.

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Paul McCartney and Wings’ iconic Band on the Run album, Bill Kopp’s Music to Your Ears takes an opportunity to explore this groundbreaking and massively successful album, one that helped get McCartney’s career back on track, setting him up for the globetrotting Wings Over the World Tour just a year and a half later.

Joined by special co-host (and fellow McCartney fanatic) Erik Mattox, Bill Kopp will play key tracks from Band on the Run along with other relevant recordings, helping to place the album in its historical and pop-cultural context. The evening is the latest installment of the popular Music to Your Ears discussion series, hosted by Asheville Guitar Bar and sponsored by AshevilleFM.

MUSIC TO YOUR EARS November 1

Joni Mitchell’s Court and Spark

Featuring special guest Eleanor Underhill

ABOUT THE DISCUSSION SERIES
Music to Your Ears is Bill Kopp’s monthly discussion series hosted by Asheville Guitar Bar and sponsored by AshevilleFM. On the first Wednesday of each month, music enthusiasts gather to discuss an important album, artist or musical movement. An interactive evening, Music to Your Ears isn’t a lecture; it’s a discussion led by experts and designed to enrich the listening experience. The character of each session is defined by the participants (that’s you). The conversation goes where the attendees take it: the person seated next to you might have attended Woodstock or seen The Beatles in concert. The insights of everyone in the room are what make each and every Music to Your Ears a unique experience.

ABOUT BILL KOPP
With over 500 bylines in Western North Carolina publications (Mountain Xpress, Bold Life, WNC Magazine and more), Asheville-based author and music journalist is an acknowledged expert on popular music. Author of two books – Reinventing Pink Floyd: From Syd Barrett to The Dark Side of the Moon and Disturbing the Peace: 415 Records and the Rise of New Wave – Bill Kopp writes for publications across the country and abroad. A contributing editor at Goldmine Magazine and contributing writer at GRAMMY.com, he has authored more than 30 album liner note essays and conducted more than 1000 interviews. He regularly hosts lecture/discussions on artists and albums of historical importance, and is a frequent guest on music-focused radio programs and podcasts.

WHAT: Music to Your Ears Discussion Series: Joni Mitchell’s Court and Spark
WHO: Discussion led by music journalist/author Bill Kopp with special guest Eleanor Underhill
WHERE: Asheville Guitar Bar, 122 Riverside Dr., Suite D, Asheville
WHEN: Wednesday Nov. 1 @ 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. (doors open 6:30) $10 at the door / SEATING IS LIMITED

MUSIC TO YOUR EARS October 4

Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy

Featuring special guest Chris Everett

MUSIC TO YOUR EARS September 6

Carole King’s Tapestry

Featuring special guest Dulci Ellenberger

Carole King was already a remarkably successful artist when she recorded her second solo album, 1971’s landmark Tapestry. On her own and as part of a songwriting partnership with Gerry Goffin, King was responsible for some of the most enduring pop music of the early sixties: her extensive credits include writing or co-writing “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” “The Loco-Motion,” “Up on the Roof” and scores of other classics.

King’s Tapestry was an exemplar of the burgeoning singer-songwriter movement, featuring remakes of two of her classics (originally cut by other artists) and a batch of top-flight new songs like “It’s too Late” and “You’ve Got a Friend.” Close friend, musical associate and like-minded artist James Taylor contributed to the album as well. Tapestry was met with universal critical acclaim and massive sales worldwide, reaching the #1 spot in the U.S., Canada, Australia, Japan, Spain and elsewhere. Tapestry’s influence and sustained impact are staggering: worldwide sales of the album have exceeded 30 million copies.

Announcing an opportunity to enjoy and appreciate Tapestry with fellow music lovers. The latest in the popular Music to Your Ears discussion series will explore Carole King’s second solo album, as well as its context and enduring importance. Bill Kopp will be joined by singer-songwriter Dulci Ellenberger for an evening of listening and conversation about Carole King’s Tapestry. Dulci may even sing and play a song or two. The evening is the latest installment of the popular “Music to Your Ears’ discussion series, hosted by Asheville Guitar Bar and sponsored by AshevilleFM.

Join host and music journalist Bill Kopp for an evening in discussion with Dulci Ellenberger about Carole King. We’ll listen to key tracks and encourage questions from the audience.

MUSIC TO YOUR EARS August 2

Tom Petty’s Greatest Hits

Featuring special guest Damon Goldman (guitar, vocals – Somewhat Petty)

Led by noted author and music journalist Bill Kopp, this monthly discussion series takes a deep dive into important records, artists and movements in music.

Tom Petty was a giant of American music. Petty released more than a dozen studio albums with his band, three solo albums, two records as a member of supergroup Traveling Wilburys, and more. Along the way Petty and the Heartbreakers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and earned a star on Hollywood Walk of Fame. Seven of the band’s albums went Gold (5000,000 units sold) and six went Platinum or multi-Platinum. Biggest of all, their Greatest Hits album – released three decades ago this year – sold a staggering 12 million copies.

It’s easy to forget just how many hits Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers landed on the charts. For a generation, Petty’s brand of straight-ahead, tuneful and heartfelt rock ruled the airwaves. From the band’s first breakthrough 1976 single, “American Girl” through the posthumously-released “Leave Virginia Alone,” Petty and his band created a long string of songs that were classics in every sense of the word, earning both critical acclaim and chart success.

The music of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers served – and continue to serve – as part of the soundtrack of modern life.

Now there’s an opportunity to enjoy and appreciate Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ Greatest Hits with fellow music lovers. In celebration of their body of work, the latest in the popular Music to Your Ears discussion series will explore some of the group’s biggest hits, as well as Petty’s inspirations, influences and collaborators. Author and music journalist Bill Kopp will be joined by Damon Goldman – leader, guitarist and vocalist with tribute group Somewhat Petty – for an evening of listening and conversation about Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Damon may even sing and play a Tom Petty song or two. The evening is the latest installment of the popular “Music to Your Ears’ discussion series, hosted by Asheville Guitar Bar and sponsored by AshevilleFM.

Join host and music journalist Bill Kopp for an evening in discussion with Damon Goldman about Tom Petty. We’ll listen to key tracks and encourage questions and comments from the audience.

MUSIC TO YOUR EARS July 5

David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars

Featuring special guest Mark Casson (The Cheeksters, Wham Bam Bowie Band)

Led by noted author and music journalist Bill Kopp, this monthly discussion series takes a deep dive into important records, artists and movements in music.

David Bowie was already some eight-plus into his career as a musician and recording artist when he created the landmark album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. The 1972 LP – his fifth – represented an artistic breakthrough. Though he had already scored hit albums and singles in the UK and the United States, Ziggy Stardust brought him to prominence globally. The album’s loose concept centering around a cosmic rock ‘n’ roller gave rise to a compelling stage show, with Bowie adopting the first of a succession of onstage personae. And the music on Ziggy Stardust – from the hit single “Starman” to beloved tracks like “Suffragette City” and the album’s title track – influenced glam rock and the punk movement that was soon to come.

More than a half-century after its release, Ziggy Stardust continues to amaze and inspire listeners. Most recently, D.A. Pennebaker’s concert film from Bowie’s 1973 tour in support of the album has been re-released to theaters, renewing interest in the million-selling music. A timeless album, Ziggy Stardust sounds as fresh and vital today as it did 50-plus years ago.

Now there’s an opportunity to enjoy and appreciate Ziggy Stardust with fellow music lovers. Author and music journalist Bill Kopp will be joined by Mark Casson – singer, musician and songwriter for The Cheeksters as well as long-time leader of tribute group Wham Bam Bowie Band – for an evening of listening and conversation about Ziggy Stardust. Casson may even sing and play a song or two from the classic album. The evening is the latest installment of the popular “Music to Your Ears’ discussion series, hosted by Asheville guitar Bar and sponsored by AshevilleFM.

Join host and music journalist Bill Kopp for an evening in discussion with Mark Casson about David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust. We’ll listen to key tracks from the album, and encourage questions from the audience.


MUSIC TO YOUR EARS June 7

Led by noted author and music journalist Bill Kopp, this monthly discussion series takes a deep dive into important records, artists and movements in music.

Perhaps more than any other group, the musical outfit known as The Band bridged rock ‘n’ roll with what today is know as Americana. From their earliest days as Levon and the Hawks through their work with Bob Dylan to their string of acclaimed albums, the Canadian-American group captured what was special about both forms, blurring the lines between them. And a high point of The Band’s catalog is the 1972 double album Rock of Ages, a live document of their residency at NYC’s Academy of Music.

A discussion of Rock of Ages will serve as the starting point for a lively conversation with Western North Carolina’s own Bob Hinkle. Founder of the White Horse Black Mountain music hall in Black Mountain, Hinkle is a longtime music industry figure whose experience reaches most every corner of the business, including working closely with The Band during the era that yielded Rock of Ages.

But that’s merely one of many historically significant pieces of Hinkle’s work in music. He got his start as a musician here in WNC, eventually forming a group; recording an album; going solo and releasing another album; working for Dylan’s notorious manager Albert Goldman; serving as head of A&R for a record label; becoming an artist manager himself, and managing several high-profile artists including Harry Chapin, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, The J. Geils Band and more. And even all that is only part of the story; Bob Hinkle went on to a VP position at a major label, overseeing one of its popular divisions.

After he did all that, Bob Hinkle could have moved back to the mountains and taken a quiet retirement. Instead he did half of that – leaving New York City – and soon after settling in WNC, he opened White Horse Black Mountain, hosting some of the most compelling local, regional and nationally touring musical artists and developing a solid reputation as one of the Carolinas’ best venues to play and hear music.

Those who have met Bob or seen him onstage introducing shows at White Horse may know bits and pieces of his background. But this special installment in the popular Music to Your Ears presents an opportunity to hear much more about Hinkle’s fascinating life in music, from Black Mountain to The Band to beyond and back again.

Join host and music journalist Bill Kopp for an evening in discussion with Bob Hinkle about his life in music. We’ll listen to key tracks that figure into his story, and invite questions from the audience.


MUSIC TO YOUR EARS May 3

Led by noted author and music journalist Bill Kopp, this monthly discussion series takes a deep dive into important records, artists and movements in music.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Asheville, N.C., April 2022 – Hosted by the Asheville Guitar Bar, a discussion series provides deeper understanding and greater enjoyment of music forms including rock, soul, blues and jazz. Led by Asheville author and music journalist Bill Kopp, Music to Your Ears is an interactive experience that shines a light on important music. Music to Your Ears is a 90-minute conversation, held at the Guitar Bar, a music magnet in Asheville’s historic River Arts District. The May 3 event features special guest Jody Carroll

Delta blues is one of the richest and fascinating strains of American music. From the muddy Mississippi Delta comes this primarily acoustic, deeply soulful and historically significant style. Charley Patton, Robert Johnson and Big Joe Williams were important figures in the music; more than a century old, Delta blues remains vital thanks to current-day practitioners like Jody Carroll. (jodycarroll.com).

Carroll combines his interpretations of Delta blues classics with his original material, stories and an engaging presentation that showcases his fingerstyle guitar work. His music draws from other genres – rock, jazz, country and more – creating something unique in the process. Carroll is a traveling musician, though for a time he set aside his itinerant ways and was based in Asheville. During that time he was a regular and beloved fixture at Asheville Guitar Bar. He has since returned to the road, but Carroll is making a special and long-awaited return for a performance at AGB on Thursday, May 4.

And this month’s Music to Your Ears is a special entry: it provides an additional opportunity to see, hear and meet Jody Carroll. On Wednesday, May 3 – the evening before his concert – MTYE host Bill Kopp welcomes Jody Carroll for an evening of conversation and music. We’ll explore Carroll’s musical roots and inspirations, learn about his creative process, and enjoy some up-close-and-personal music. As always, Music to Your Ears is a discussion, and the active participation of attendees is what makes the evening an experience far beyond a talk or a mere concert.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Asheville, N.C., March 2023
Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon was and remains a landmark album. Released 50 years ago this month, at the height of the rock era, DSOTM is both an exemplar of studio technique and a cohesive musical statement that resonates with listeners to this very day. One of the most critically acclaimed albums of all time, The Dark Side of the Moon is also one of the most enduring: the record famously clung onto the Billboard album charts for an astounding 969 weeks (more than 18 years). Certified 14x Platinum (15 million units sold) in the U.S. alone, DSOTM was a worldwide smash. In 2012, Pink Floyd’s eighth album was recognized by the Library of Congress as a work of historical, cultural and aesthetic significance.

But the road to making DSOTM was an unlikely one. Just five years earlier, Pink Floyd had lost its leader. Singer and guitarist Syd Barrett founded the group, and for a time was its leading light: he wrote nearly all of the band’s music, sang the songs, and was a charismatic front man. But when he was unable to continue – kicked out of the band he started due to a combination of mental illness and copious intake of psychedelic drugs – the band’s very future was in doubt. The story of how Pink Floyd embarked upon a five-year journey from a group without mooring to the band that made The Dark Side of the Moon is the subject of Asheville author and music journalist Bill Kopp’s 2018 book, Reinventing Pink Floyd.

In celebration of the half-century anniversary of The Dark Side of the Moon, Bill Kopp presents the latest edition of Music to Your Ears. This monthly discussion series sponsored by AshevilleFM and hosted by Asheville Guitar Bar digs into the backstories of important artists and albums.

For this special Dark Side discussion, Bill Kopp will share rare, unreleased recordings that illustrate the creative path charted by Pink Floyd as they developed the monumental work. You’ve heard The Dark Side of the Moon before, but never like this.

Join host Bill Kopp as he leads a discussion of The Dark Side of the Moon. We’ll chat about the background, creation and legacy of the album, and listen to some key tracks that demonstrate the innovation and creativity of Pink Floyd. And as always, we’ll facilitate audience discussion.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Asheville, N.C., November 2022 – Hosted by the Asheville Guitar Bar, a discussion series provides deeper understanding and greater enjoyment of classic albums from rock, soul, blues and jazz. Led by Asheville author and music journalist Bill Kopp, Music to Your Ears is an interactive experience that shines a light on important music. Music to Your Ears is a 90-minute conversation, held at the Guitar Bar, a music magnet in Asheville’s historic River Arts District. The December 7 event explores the groundbreaking 1972 debut album Can’t Buy a Thrill by Steely Dan.

One of the most critically and commercially successful groups of the 1970s, for most of its time in the spotlight Steely Dan wasn’t really a band at all. Co-led by singer/songwriter/musician duo of Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, Steely Dan crafted a sophisticated, urbane and oddly inscrutable musical character that found a wide audience. Retiring early from live performance, Steely Dan became a studio project. To realize their ambitious and idiosyncratic musical goals – deftly combining witty and oblique lyrical concerns with elements of jazz, soul and rock into something that sounded like no one else – Becker and Fagen drew on some of the top session musicians.

But at the start, Steely Dan was a conventional band with a firm lineup and a conventional concert touring schedule. And it was in that period that the group released its debut album, 1972’s Can’t Buy a Thrill. Featuring the smash hits “Do It Again” and “Reelin’ in the Years” plus a bounty of top-notch album tracks, the Platinum-selling Can’t Buy a Thrill showed that the unique sound and character of Steely Dan was in place from the very beginning.

Before Can’t Buy a Thrill, few musical acts had successfully synthesized jazz, swing and Latin music elements into a rock or pop context. And those who did wouldn’t enjoy anything like the success that Steely Dan achieved; their debut album has been named among Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Albums of All Time.” Steely Dan’s first record was released 50 years ago this fall, making now the ideal time to take a look (and listen) at this landmark album.

Join host Bill Kopp and special guest Jake Wolf of Steely Dan tribute band Dirty Logic as they lead a discussion of Can’t Buy a Thrill. We’ll chat about the background, creation and legacy of the album, and listen to some key tracks that demonstrate the innovation and creativity of Steely Dan. And as always, we’ll facilitate audience discussion.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Asheville, N.C. October 2022 – Hosted by the Asheville Guitar Bar, a discussion series provides deeper understanding and greater enjoyment of classic albums from rock, soul, blues and jazz. Led by Asheville author and music journalist Bill Kopp, Music to Your Ears is an interactive experience that shines a light on important music. Music to Your Ears is a 90-minute conversation, held at the Guitar Bar, a music magnet in Asheville’s historic River Arts District. The October 5 event explores a retro phenomenon of the late-late 1960s.

Thirty-two acts performed at the legendary Woodstock Music and Arts Fair, August 15-18, 1969. All but one of those acts had recording contract with record label. One was an unsigned band that had only formed a few months earlier. But thanks to being championed by a high-profile artist who insisted that they open for him, that group earned a prime spot at the festival.

That band was Sha Na Na. The rock ‘n’ roll/doo wop group from New York City would indeed open for their famous friend, and clips from their performance would feature in both the Woodstock soundtrack album and the motion picture documenting the festival. Sha Na Na soon landed a record deal. They’d go on to release several albums, open for John Lennon at a high-profile benefit concert, and (in later years) be featured in theatrical films and their own TV series. How on earth did all of that happen? Sha Na Na’s founding guitarist Elliot “Gino” Cahn will tell that story and many others (including – believe it or not – his work with The Offspring, Rancid and Green Day).

Join host Bill Kopp and special guest host Elliot Cahn as they lead a discussion on Sha Na Na. We’ll chat about the background, creation and legacy of the group, and listen to some key tracks from their catalog. And as always, we’ll facilitate audience discussion.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Asheville, N.C. September 2022 – Hosted by the Asheville Guitar Bar, a discussion series provides deeper understanding and greater enjoyment of classic albums from rock, soul, blues and jazz. Led by Asheville author and music journalist Bill Kopp, Music to Your Ears is an interactive experience that shines a light on important music. Music to Your Ears is a 90-minute conversation, held at the Guitar Bar, a music magnet in Asheville’s historic River Arts District. The October 5 event explores John Lennon’s Rock ‘N’ Roll LP and the legal battles (with a known mobster) in Federal court that surrounded its release. The discussion features guest host Jay Bergen, author of the new book Lennon, the Mobster & the Lawyer.

In 1972 John Lennon teamed up with notorious producer Phil Spector to record a collection of rock’n’roll oldies. Those sessions took place in L.A. during a period the ex-Beatle would describe as his “lost weekend,” a time of drunk and drugged carousing and general misbehavior. Making matters worse, when the sessions were completed, the mercurial Spector disappeared, taking the tapes with him. Lennon was left with a rough mix cassette copy of the songs, and found them to be sloppy, badly recorded and sometimes out of tune.

But meanwhile, claiming a verbal agreement with Lennon, shady music industry figure (and associate of organized crime) Morris Levy released an unauthorized LP using the rough mixes. The affair landed Levy and Lennon in Federal court.

Jay Bergen represented John Lennon and Yoko Ono in those cases. In the process he became friends with the couple, both of whom were determined to fight Levy. That story is the basis for Bergen’s book, Lennon, The Mobster & the Lawyer.

As lawyer for John Lennon and Yoko Ono during the Federal court cases related to the Rock and Roll album, Bergen is uniquely qualified to discuss the John Lennon’s sixth solo studio release. Bergen’s book was published this year. And that presents a great opportunity to dive into the record, rediscovering the qualities that make it special, important and controversial. Join host Bill Kopp and special guest host Jay Bergen as they lead a discussion of John Lennon’s Rock ‘N’ Roll. We’ll chat about the background, creation and legacy of key tracks, and even listen to some unreleased tapes from the session.



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Asheville, N.C. August 2022 – Hosted by the Asheville Guitar Bar, a discussion series provides deeper understanding and greater enjoyment of classic albums from rock, soul, blues and jazz. Led by Asheville author and music journalist Bill Kopp, Music to Your Ears is an interactive experience that shines a light on important music. Music to Your Ears is a 90-minute conversation, held at the Guitar Bar, a music magnet in Asheville’s historic River Arts District. The September 7 event explores The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour; the discussion features guest host Steve Stoeckel of The Spongetones.

Released in May 1967, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was a fully conceived album by The Beatles. Developed as a complete work with a loose concept, it was the culmination of five months’ studio work. But on November of that year – a mere six months later – The Beatles returned with Magical Mystery Tour, a continuation of the psychedelic and art-rock explorations of Sgt. Pepper.

And unlike its predecessor, Magical Mystery Tour was a patchwork release, cobbled together from the soundtrack to an expensive home movie and a scattering of singles, some of which pre-date Sgt. Pepper. Yet belying the nature of its creation, Magical Mystery Tour remains an exemplar of The Beatles’ musical adventurism.

This fall marks the 55th anniversary of the release of Magical Mystery Tour. And it’s a great opportunity to dive into the record, rediscovering the qualities that make it special and important. Join host Bill Kopp and special guest host Steve Stoeckel of the Spongetones as they lead a discussion of Magical Mystery Tour. We’ll chat about the background, creation and legacy of key tracks, dig into some of the lesser-known gems on the LP, and even listen to some unreleased Beatles music from the period.

Join host and music journalist Bill Kopp for an evening in discussion with Steve Stoeckel. As bassist and songwriter for The Spongetones – the acclaimed Charlotte-based rock band that released ten albums of original music inspired by The Beatles – Stoeckel is uniquely qualified to discuss the creative and artistic breakthroughs showcased on The Beatles’ ninth studio release. We’ll listen to key tracks and facilitate audience discussion.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Asheville, N.C. July 2022 – Hosted by the Asheville Guitar Bar, a discussion series provides deeper understanding and greater enjoyment of classic albums from rock, soul, blues and jazz. Led by Asheville author and music journalist Bill Kopp, Music to Your Ears is an interactive experience that shines a light on important music. Music to Your Ears is a 90-minute conversation, held at the Guitar Bar, a music magnet in Asheville’s historic River Arts District. The August 3 event is a conversation with acclaimed musician Jim Fielder.

You might not know Jim Fielder’s name, but it’s very likely you’ve heard him play. A key fixture of popular music beginning in the late 1960s, he lent his expert, expressive bass and guitar work to recordings and live performances by important artists both underground and popular. As a member of unclassifiable art-pop artist Tim Buckley’s band, he played on Buckley’s self-titled 1966 debut alongside Van Dyke Parks and famed arrange Jack Nitzsche. On Buckley’s second LP, Goodbye and Hello, he was joined by Jerry Yester and Jim Gordon.

Around the same time, Fielder was a member of The Mothers (of Invention) with Frank Zappa, playing on their second LP, 1967’s Absolutely Free. He left to join Buffalo Springfield, playing on “Everydays” before turning his attention back to Buckley’s music.

That same year, he would be a founding member of Blood Sweat & Tears, appearing at their Village Theater debut and playing on their first four albums (in other words, the era of all the band’s hits). Fielder would go on to work with George Benson, Neil Sedaka and others. Today, he’s retired and lives in Asheville, NC, where he’s a regular fixture of musical jam sessions at Asheville Guitar Bar and other venues.

Join host and music journalist Bill Kopp for an evening in discussion with Jim Fielder about his life in music. We’ll listen to key tracks that feature him, and invite questions from the audience.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Asheville, N.C., June 2022 – Hosted by the Asheville Guitar Bar, a discussion series provides deeper understanding and greater enjoyment of classic albums from rock, soul, blues and jazz. Led by Asheville author and music journalist Bill Kopp, Music to Your Ears is an interactive experience that shines a light on important music. Music to Your Ears is a 90-minute conversation, held at the Guitar Bar, a music magnet in Asheville’s historic River Arts District. The July 6 event focuses on 1972’s Trilogy, the fourth album from Emerson, Lake & Palmer.

One of progressive rock’s leading lights as well as one of its first supergroups, Emerson Lake & Palmer exploded onto the music scene with “Lucky Man,” the hit single from their self-titled debut album. Featuring the virtuoso keyboard work of pianist Keith Emerson, the group also pioneered use of the Moog synthesizer, a then-new instrument developed by Dr. Robert A. Moog (later of Asheville).

Emerson Lake & Palmer enjoyed a successful and high-profile run through most of the 1970s, but arguably their creative pinnacle was their fourth release, 1972’s Trilogy. Featuring a deft balance of both the band’s ambitious “prog” sensibility (including classical music themes) and a strong melodic approach (in the form of catchy singles like “From the Beginning”), Trilogy is simultaneously the band’s most stylistic varied record and its most accessible.

Released in a banner year for music – one that included some of the best-ever albums form David Bowie, the Moody Blues, Lou Reed and countless others – Trilogy made the point that progressive music could appeal to a wide audience.

Join music journalist and historian Bill Kopp for an evening of music and discussion as we take a deep dive into ELP’s Trilogy. With special guest André Cholmondeley (crew and instrument technician for Emerson Lake & Palmer and for solo tours by both Greg Lake and Carl Palmer), we’ll explore Trilogy and gain an understanding of its place in musical history.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Asheville, N.C., May 2022 – Hosted by the Asheville Guitar Bar, a new discussion series provides deeper understanding and greater enjoyment of classic albums from rock, soul, blues and jazz. Led by Asheville author and music journalist Bill Kopp, Music to Your Ears is an interactive experience that shines a light on important music. Music to Your Ears is a 90-minute conversation, held at the Guitar Bar, a music magnet in Asheville’s historic River Arts District. The June 1 event focuses on Pink Floyd’s 1972 album Obscured by Clouds.

When Pink Floyd lost Syd Barrett in 1968, there was good reason to predict the band would collapse. Barrett was the group’s founder, leader, guitarist, lead vocalist and songwriter. He was essentially the face of Pink Floyd. His departure – the result of erratic behavior attributed to mental illness and extensive use of LSD – left the band without its creative center. In any other era, the band would have been dropped by its record company.

But with a new guitarist and a more democratic approach, all four members became more involved in the band’s development. Within five years of Barrett’s exit, Pink Floyd would create, record and release what is widely considered one of the greatest albums of the rock era, 1973’s The Dark Side of the Moon. That landmark album didn’t simply appear out of nowhere. Pink Floyd’s eighth album, The Dark Side of the Moon was the culmination of a five-year creative journey, a time in which the group experimented with different sounds, concepts and song structures. That period is filled with rich (if not widely known) musical gems that provide a window into how the group went from creative crisis to musical masterpiece.

Concurrent with the development of The Dark Side of the Moon, Pink Floyd created another album’s worth of music. Released a mere nine months earlier, Obscured by Clouds is a little-heard album that showcases many of the same musical strengths as its better-known followup. June 2022 marks the 50th anniversary of this album, an important stepping stone on the path to The Dark Side of the Moon.

Join music journalist and historian Bill Kopp – author of Reinventing Pink Floyd: From Syd Barrett to The Dark Side of the Moon – for an evening of music and discussion as we take a deep dive into Pink Floyd’s Obscured by Clouds. With special guest Bill Altman (leader of Western North Carolina-based tribute band Floyd Philharmonic), we’ll explore Obscured by Clouds and gain an understanding of its place in musical history.