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 to check with the venue close to scheduled showtimes. (2) Is it a good idea to go out in public? That’s at your discretion. North Carolina requires masks in public, and if you’re the sort who finds that concept an abrogation of your “freedom,” you’d best stay home; nobody wants you around anyway, you selfish jerk.

Things are so ad hoc right now, so fluid, that three of the shows I’m listing happen simultaneously, so if you decided to venture out, you’ll have to choose. But wear your mask, and respect the physical space of others. We really are in this together, despite what our national (lack of) leadership would have us believe.

Artist: Blake Ellege Band
Venue: The Funkatorium!
Date: Friday, July 3, 6 p.m.
In a music region like Western North Carolina, there’s a lot of competition for the (imagined) crown of Hardest Working Musician. Blake Ellege may well take the prize: he leads bands in at least six different genres, and in December he’s Santa Claus! Blake excels at everything he does; his passion, dedication and pure joy all shine through. And with a top-notch band that includes Russ Wilson (another contender for that HWM title), a splendid time is guaranteed for all.

Artist: Rocky MTN Roller
Venue: Fleetwood’s
Date: Friday, July 3, 6 p.m.
If you’re suffering with a bad case of cabin fever, hip West Asheville spot Fleetwood’s has just the thing for you: some outdoor, socially-distanced “cosmic mountain boogie scuzz” courtesy of this Asheville outfit. Song titles from their new self-titled EP offer a hint as to the band’s perspective: “Bald Faced Hornet,” and “She Ran Off with the Dealer” are two examples. It might get loud.

Artist: Life Like Water
Venue: Isis Music Hall
Date: Friday, July 3, 6:30 p.m.
Door: $10
I interviewed Life Like Water singer and songwriter David Matters about six months ago, as the trance-folk band’s I Am Listening was nearing release. There’s a stereotype of singer-songwriters as “sensitive,” and while that’s something of a cliché, it applies here, and in the very best way. Matters’ heartfelt and genuine music connects with listeners, and he doesn’t shy away from weighty personal subject matter. But he wraps it all in highly appealing music.

Artist: Mr. Jimmy
Venue: Southern Appalachian Brewing
Date: Saturday, July 11, 7 p.m.
There are myriad substrains of that American art form known as the blues, but for me there’s nothing that resonates quite like the Chicago style. After 35 years leading the Chicago Kingsnakes, James “Mr. Jimmy” Anderson relocated to Asheville in 2018. And just as he gained momentum playing on the local live circuit, the pandemic hit. The demo he had been working on – initially as a means to land gigs in WNC – metamorphosed into a proper album, All Alone With the Blues. Telecaster master Mr. Jimmy celebrates the release of that set with this gig in Hendersonville.