asheville Archive

Justin Ray: Singing and Swinging

Asheville-based trumpeter Justin Ray has been a member of pop singer Michael Bublé’s band for 15 years. After a long string of tours around the world, Ray decided that he’d create some new arrangements of classic tunes from the big band era, with the ultimate goal of getting Bublé to use those arrangements in his

30 Days Out: January 2020 #2: Jake Shimabukuro, Tinsley Ellis, The Seratones, Ashley Heath & Her Heathens

Artist: Jake Shimabukuro Venue: The Orange Peel Date: Friday, Jan 24, 8 p.m. Door: $30 Ukulele probably isn’t the first instrument that comes to mind when one thinks of powerfully rocking music. But Jake Shimabukuro is the sort of artist who can make that comparatively humble instrument work in a surprising variety of contexts. His

Album Review: Empire Strikes Brass — Brassterpiece Theatre

Some creative projects are the result of a carefully thought-out plan. Others happen through a special combination of good fortune and the participants’ openness to whatever develops. The latter is the case for Asheville’s Empire Strikes Brass. The group came together in 2012 for what was planned as a one-off event. Founder and saxophonist Paul

Life Like Water’s Trance-folk

Songwriter and musician David Matters has a background playing bluegrass and old-time music. And while he maintains a love for those styles, the music he started writing a few years ago didn’t fit comfortably into those idioms. So he launched Life Like Water, now a trio with a sound that draws from American and European

30 Days Out: January 2020 #1: Interstellar Echoes, Cracker, Camper Van Beethoven, 3rd Annual Women in Music Series, Beach Fossils

For five and half years, I wrote a twice-monthly column for Asheville, N.C.’s superb altweekly Mountain Xpress. That column, “30 Days Out,” previewed upcoming live shows of note, focusing on both local/regional and nationally/internationally touring artists, across a (if I do say so myself) wide cross-section of musical styles. The column ended after more than

Kat Williams: Season’s Gratitude

For nearly two decades, Katrina Way “Kat” Williams was a prominent fixture of Asheville’s live music scene. The vocalist’s multigenre repertoire earned her a place as one of the region’s most beloved performers. But a serious health condition largely sidelined her for several years. Twelve months to the day after a successful kidney transplant, Kat

Album Review: Amanda Anne Platt & the Honeycutters — Christmas on a Greyhound Bus

When an artist releases an album (or EP) of holiday music, it need not be designed to fulfill an obligation to a label. It also needn’t be a placeholder while a creatively spent artist treads water, waiting for the muse to return. And it doesn’t have to be a schmaltzy, pandering and overly sentimental collection

Hit Dogs: Serious Rock, Leavened with Humor

In the mid-1980s, Frank Zappa released an album with a question for a title: Does Humor Belong in Music? While much of the guitarist-bandleader-composer’s music was quite serious, his humor-focused material occupied a significant place in his body of work. Asheville rock trio Hit Dogs has a similar collective philosophy: while they’re certainly not a

Album Review: Bask — III

For a small city, Asheville is home to musicians representing a staggering array of musical styles. In an era that many see as post-album, post-rock and post-all other manner of things that make music special, it’s surprising that there’s a small but solid heavy rock scene in and around the city. A vivid testament to

Free Planet Radio: In Pursuit of Modern Jazz

When Free Planet Radio debuted in 2001, the Asheville-based trio was often described as a world music group. And while by definition that label casts a wide net, it was never quite expansive enough to get to the heart of what Free Planet Radio does. The three creatively adventurous musicians have always explored many styles,