It may be only May, but the bands on the Bele Chere 2011 are starting to crop up. Xpress has a handful of early-release musical acts. Check back for more over the coming weeks.
Bele Chere takes place Friday, July 29-Sunday, July 31.
• Railroad Earth: The New Jersey-based roots/Americana band is no stranger to Asheville, having played the Orange Peel stage as recently as January. They take their name from the Jack Kerouac short story “October in the Railroad Earth;” their most recent album (the band’s fifth) is self-titled and was released last fall.
• Cedric Burnside Project (above): “After many successful years of touring the world with Lightnin’ Malcolm as ‘the Juke Joint Duo’, Cedric has started a new band: The Cedric Burnside Project,” says Burnside’s website. The grandson of Mississippi bluesman R.L. Burnside, Cedric was first known as a drummer but he also plays guitar and sings. His new project includes rapper Cody Burnside and guitarist/drummer Jesse Hiatt.
• Jessica Lea Mayfield (below): Kent, Ohio’s Jessica Lea Mayfield doesn’t perform the upbeat, party-mood kind of music usually associated with festivals. But this Black Keys-discovered ingenue has made Asheville a regular stop on her tours Her most recent album is this year’s Tell Me.
• Common Foundation (below): This newly-minted local band plays “a blend of reggae, rocksteady and uptempo ska, all outfitted with a big band style horn section. They’ll move from soulful instrumentals with jazz influenced solos, to sing along melodies in three part harmony.”
• Holy Ghost Tent Revival: While this six-piece band is actually based out of Greensboro, they seem local. They often perform with their friends Now You See Them and are regularly featured on Asheville stages. “The air of their creation breathes a sense of celebration and salvation, of a raucous party where everyone is welcome and the most stoic find their toes tapping and a smile breaking free,” says the band’s website.
• The StereoFidelics (below): Local indie band The Stereofidelics plays a handful of instruments and has toured to the tune of more than 600 shows. And there are just two members: Chris Padgett (guitars, foot-operated synth-bass) and Melissa McGinley (electric violin, drums). They share vocals. Want to see them sooner? They play The Grey Eagle tonight (Thursday, May 12). 8:30 p.m. with Hellblinki and Montana Skies.
• Do It To Julia: A few years ago, then-Boone-based four-pieced indie-pop band Do It To Julia (they take their name from a quote in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four) moved to Asheville. Ever since, they’ve been a big part of the local scene, appearing with regularity on festival rosters and in clubs. Want to see them sooner? They play the North Carolina Brewers and Music Festival on Saturday, May 14 and at The Grey Eagle on Thursday, May 19.
• The London Souls (below): You might guess, based on the band’s name, that the London Souls are from the U.K. You would be wrong. These rockers are from N.Y. and their sound recalls the ‘70s when rock was raw and direct. They kind of look like that era, too — though their debut album is slated to come out this July.
• Secret B-sides: Local soul/funk/hip-hop band the Secret B-Sides spent the last two-plus years recording Flowers & Chocolate with the release of that album, the band has been playing local stages and festivals, bolsters by a stellar cast of local guest artists. Want to see them sooner? They play Pisgah Brewery on Saturday, July 9. 9 p.m.
• ReBirth Brass Band (below): Formed in New Orleans nearly 30 years ago, the Rebirth Brass Band has released more than a dozen albums. The group’s beginings were humble enough: Brothers Philip (tuba/sousaphone) and Keith (bass drum) Frazier with Kermit Ruffins (trumpet) and other marching band members from Joseph S. Clark Senior High School combined their talents — along with funk, jazz, soul, hip hop and traditional New Orleans second-line sounds.
• Doc Aquatic: Another band that got its start in Boone, Doc Aquatic brings its own brand of psychedelic-tinged indie-rock to local stages. Want to see them sooner? They’ll be at BoBo Gallery on Wednesday, May 25 with Alligator Indian, Hear Hums and Aswara.