30 Days Out, August 2021 #2: Peter Holsapple, Jamie Laval, Pop Evil, Free Radio

Asheville is in the process of reasserting its place as a go-to market for intriguing, compelling musical artists. Full-scale national touring is gradually coming back, but for now – with some notable exceptions – regional and local acts tend to dominate the events calendars of our music venues. This edition of 30 Days Out takes quick looks at two locally-based acts and two nationally recognized ones. All of them are worth your time, attention, support and hard-earned entertainment dollars.

Artist: Peter Holsapple
Venue: The Grey Eagle
Date: Sunday, August 8, 8 p.m.
Door: $22
Best known for his work with the dB’s, Peter Holsapple is a North Carolina and American musical treasure. For some years now he has channeled his creative energies into projects not bearing his name (R.E.M., Hootie and the Blowfish, Continental Drifters) but his solo work is every bit as important. He hasn’t played Asheville in ages; not, I think, since he and Chris Stamey did a show (also at the Grey Eagle) in support of their Here and Now LP, over a decade ago. I’ve interviewed him several times; here’s a favorite. As it happens, Holsapple’s first on the bill. Following him is Tommy Prine, son of the late and beloved singer-songwriter John Prine.

Artist: Jamie Laval featuring Amber Rose
Venue: Isis Music Hall (lounge)
Date: Friday, August 20, 7 p.m.
Door: $25
Jamie Laval is a world-renowned Celtic fiddler. Based in Western North Carolina, in normal times he travels the world teaching and performing. His local shows tend to be organized around the winter holidays, often with a Christmas (or other holiday) theme. (Read more about those here.) While those are always a joy to experience, with this show, Asheville concertgoers have the rare opportunity to see one of his shows exploring musical and cultural traditions beyond the holiday theme.

Artist: Pop Evil
Venue: The Orange Peel
Date: Tuesday, August 24, 7:30 p.m.
Door: $22
As music of a balm acoustic music can be – especially in these difficult times – there’s always room for a roaring, sharp-edged alternarock metallic act. And Pop Evil fits that bill. The Michigan hard rockers offer up thunder and pop melodies in equal measure.

Artist: Free Radio
Venue: Asheville Music Hall
Date: Thursday, August 26, 9 p.m.
Door: $15
Not to be confused with another Asheville group, the similarly-named but very different Free Planet Radio), Free Radio features the staggeringly impressive vocal and instrumental talents of Debrissa McKinney and Datrian Johnson. Nominally hip-hop, Free Radio will take you to more musical places than that label might suggest.