30 Days Out, August 2023 #1: Circles Around the Sun, Hearts Gone South, Matisyahu, BJ & BJ

Two local-based legends, one other excellent WNC-based artist, and two very popular touring acts: Those are just some of the highlights of live music in and around Asheville in the coming 30 days.

Artist: Circles Around Sun
Venue: Pisgah Brewing
Date: Frday, August 11, 6:30 p.m.
Door: $25 advance / $35 day of show
I’m always a bit skeptical when a band self-identifies as a supergroup. This band was formed by Neal Casal, who could certainly claim some significant fame prior to that point. He’s no longer in the band (or anywhere, for that matter) but Circles Around the Sun continues with its brand of instrumental music. I’ve seen it written that “there’s no other band that sounds like” them, but let’s just say that if your tastes run toward the Grateful Dead, this might just be your jam (so to speak).

Artist: Hearts Gone South
Venue: Highland Brewing
Date: Saturday, August 12, 6 p.m.
Door: $free
I discovered this wonderful group some five years ago, when they released Little Things, reviewed here. In an era when such cynical assembly-line crap as the music of Jason Aldean gets the attention, true and real country like Hearts Gone South remain comparatively under the radar. That ain’t right, and you can do you part to right that wrong. Go see ‘em.

Artist: Matisyahu
Venue: Salvage Station
Date: Thursday, August 17, 7 p.m.
Door: $36 advance / $41 day of show
If you don’t know him or his work, a written description of Matisyahu might confuse you. Combining Jewish culture, hip-hop and reggae is certainly an, er, original approach, but is it compelling. Yes, in fact, it is. I interviewed him for two stories in 2017 and 2018: one is here, the other here. G. Love is co-billed, and Cydeways opens.

Artist: Billy Jones & BJ Leiderman
Venue: The Grey Eagle
Date: Sunday, August 20, 7:30 p.m.
Door: $20 advance / $25 day of show
If you’ve spent any significant amount of time in Western North Carolina, you already know about these characters. Jonas is acclaimed for his found-object, participatory approach to music-making. And while BJ is most well known for writing that NPR theme music, he’s a wealth of musical creativity and a raconteur par excellence. Put them together, and a splendid time is guaranteed for all. (I reviewed BJ’s self-title album six years ago.)

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