Twice monthly, my blog 30 Days Out spotlights upcoming music shows and events of note, shining a light into some less well-lit corners, where some fascinating artists schedule performances. I do my best to give ample advance notice so that you can adjust your budget and calendar in a way that lets you get you to the show.
This time, we’ve got blues, jazz, western swing, and one act that’s delightfully hard-to-pin-down.
Artist: Porch 40
Venue: Asheville Music Hall
Date: Friday, Aug. 29, 10 p.m.
Door: $8 advance / $10 day of show
This WNC aggregation is a relatively new band, and they’re young. But their sound is fully developed: it’s a mix of genres old and new, melding funk, rock and other styles in a non-meandering way that still keeps the songs concise and direct. Electric violin (not, mind you, fiddle) adds texture and a level of excitement. Their new album was produced in Charlotte by Jamie Hoover (The Spongetones). The Corbitt Brothers and Hazy Rae are also on the bill.
Artist: Mac Arnold & Plate Full O’ Blues
Venue: Biltmore Park Town Square Concert Series
Date: Saturday, Sept. 6, 7 p.m.
Calling Pelzer, S.C. his home, the 72-year-old guitarist has enjoyed a long career of playing the blues. In his early years, Mar Arnold’s band sometimes included James Brown on piano, and in the mid 1960s, Arnold was recruited into Muddy Waters‘ band. He’s played on albums by blues legends Otis Spann and John Lee Hooker, too. A move into soul and r&b resulted in his long tenure as “house guitarist” on TV’s Soul Train in the ’70s. These days, Mac has returned to his first love — the blues — and serves it up hot and electric with his band. Other upcoming local dates include a gig at Jack of the Wood, and a set at LEAF.
Artist: Kelley and the Cowboys
Venue: Jack of the Wood
Date: Saturday, Sept. 6, 9 p.m.
For this quartet led by vocalist Kelley Breiding, crowd-pleasing western swing is the thing. For nearly 10 years, this group has been an in-demand fixture on the club and festival circuit. Their extensive set list includes classics from Patsy Cline and Jimmy Dean, and their high-energy music is designed for dancing. They’ll be at the Shakori Hills GrassRoots fest, but for those in Asheville, this Jack of the Wood gig is the best bet to check them out close to home.
Artist: Joe McPhee’s Survival Unit III
Venue: The Mothlight
Date: Sunday, Setp. 21, 9:30 p.m.
Door: $10 advance / $12 day of show
Though he started out as a traditional jazz trumpeter, discovering the liberating free jazz of Albert Ayler opened up a new world for Joe McPhee. His music is based on theoretical concepts and improvisation, led by his reeds and brass. McPhee’s compatriots in Survival Unit III are Fred Lonberg-Holm (cello/electronics) and Michael Zerang (percussion); their music has been compared — by jazz reviewers, no less — to the more avant-garde work of Jimi Hendrix.
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