30 Days Out, December 2021 #1: The Nutcracker, Queen Bee and the Honeylovers, Rising Appalachia, Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band

‘Tis the season. In normal years, things slow down a bit performance-wise in Asheville as we head into the holidays. Touring acts take a break, and holiday-themed events predominate. Even in this endemic era, those traditions still apply. So for this penultimate music roundup of 2021, I’m focusing on the rich local talent found here in Western North Carolina.

Artist: Ballet Conservatory of Asheville presents The Nutcracker
Venue: Diana Wortham Theatre
Date: Thursday, Dec. 16, 6:30 p.m.
Door: $18-27
It wouldn’t be the winter holidays without a ballet performance of Tchaikovsky’s classic. This unabridged presentation features professional dancers in the main roles and the Conservatory’s pre-professional company rounding out the cast. Note that there are several shows this weekend; check the schedule for details.

Artist: Queen Bee and the Honeylovers
Venue: Isis Music Hall
Date: Friday, Dec. 17, 8:30 p.m.
Door: $20*
This jazz manouche group has ambitions beyond genre music, and they have the talent to realize those ambitions. Their thematically cohesive 2019 album Asheville goes beyond the let’s-have-fun aesthetic of hot jazz, presenting lyrical vignettes that tell some of the region’s history in personal ways. I wrote more about all that here. All that said, this is likely to be a fun and carefree show. *NOTE: The venue’s pesky you-gotta-spend-an-additional-$20-a-head-on-food-or-drink rule applies to this show. That means date night at Isis sets you back a minimum of $80. If perhaps I am being too subtle here, I am not a fan of this practice. But I don’t hold it against the performers, nor should you.

Artist: Rising Appalachia
Venue: Salvage Station
Date: Saturday, Dec. 18, 6 p.m.
Door: $35 advance / $40 day of show
The socially/environmentally conscious group led by the Smith sisters is one of Asheville’s proudest contributions to the music scene. Theirs is a compelling folky, hippie-flavored kind of Americana with world and jam textures. Their fashionista vibe notwithstanding, I’ve found them to be thoughtful, committed world citizens – they walk the talk – and superb musicians. I’ve interviewed them a few times.

Artist: Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band
Venue: The Grey Eagle
Date: Friday, Dec. 31, 9 p.m.
Door: $20
Wow: New Year’s Eve falls on a Friday? Nice. And YMBFBB on hand to help ring in 2022? Nicer still. This energetic soul/funk band will get your blood pumping on a cold winter’s night. And this is an all-ages show, so bring the family.

More soon, as always. Support live and local music!