Photo courtesy of SART

Theater review: “Promises” at SART

The old adage “don’t make promises you can’t keep” resonates throughout the profession premiere of Promises (the play was staged as a student production at Appalachian State University in 2013). It is the 65th such premiere in Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre’s 40 years. Written by Appalachian State professor Joel Williams and directed by Screen Artists […]

SIGHTS AND SOUNDS: The Moog Music factory hosts tours of 20-40 people from all over the world every day. Here, Paul Gaeta (aka local musician Panther God) leads a group. Photo by Alicia Funderburk

Sounds like money: New projects seek to increase local music tourism

Asheville may never be able to swipe the “Music City” moniker from a certain similarly named titan of sound in Tennessee, but several new initiatives aim to boost this area’s image as a serious music destination. The Asheville Convention and Visitors Bureau, building on its success in helping nurture the city’s growing national reputation as […]

LOUD AND PROUD: Daft Punk, Alessandro Cortini and Trent Reznor have all purchased Make Noise systems or modules. Make Noise owners Kelly Kelbel and Tony Rolando (front center and right) and their team have set up shop in downtown Asheville. Photo by Alicia Funderburke

Instrument of construction: Two local manufacturers talk inspiration, sales and famous fans

Moog Music leads all local instrument builders in name recognition, and for good reason. With a legacy that dates back to Robert Moog’s first theremins in 1954 and first modular synthesizer in 1963, the company has remained at the forefront of the electronic music scene, thanks to steady innovation and popular events such as Moogfest. […]

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Smart bets: Jim Lauderdale

Although country singer-songwriter Jim Lauderdale is as tied to Nashville as to the colorful, embroidered suits he wears, he’s actually a North Carolina native. The son of a minister and a church organist, Lauderdale was born in Troutman, N.C., and grew up in South Carolina. He did head to Nashville after college, but it was […]

STRING THEORY: “In retrospect, when I look back on my life, I understand there had always been a passion for banjo music,” says Mike Savino of Tall Tall Trees. As a solo act, he's taken that instrument far from its folk and bluegrass roots. Photo courtesy of the musician

One-man banjo: Tall Tall Trees puts a new spin on an old instrument

When you think of the banjo, you might think of Earl Scruggs or Uncle Dave Macon, or even Steve Martin. You probably don’t think of loop pedals or bowing, or ancillary sounds from percussive tapping and blowing; you probably don’t imagine anything that could be classified as “space banjo.” But that’s exactly the kind of music banjo player Mike Savino of band-turned-solo-act Tall Tall Trees makes.

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Smart bets: The Royal Noise

Drawing on influences from the great funk masters Herbie Hancock and Parliament Funkadelic, as well as contemporary bands like Umphrey’s McGee and Lotus, Philadelphia-based funk band The Royal Noise is a self-described “relentless funk dance party.” One reviewer characterizes the band as “Groove, groove and more groove — with a side order of groove and a […]

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Smart bets: Quilts as Inspiration

There was a time when quilts served as one of the few pieces of artwork in Appalachian homes, and they truly were works of art. “The hallmarks of great art always include line, color, patterns, texture, balance. Quilts are no exception,” according to a press release for American Folk Art & Framing’s upcoming exhibit, Pattern, […]

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Smart bets: Ali Douglass

There is something comfortingly familiar about Ali Douglass’ whimsical illustrations and paintings. It might be the eye-pleasing color combinations, charming characters and quirky cityscapes and scenes — or it might actually be that you’ve seen them before. Douglass has been illustrating for countless magazines and newspapers  — including Seventeen, Martha Stewart, Glamour and The New […]