Thursday, Jan. 6
• Here’s to the Long Haul performs both traditional and contemporary mountain music, and, according to its bio, “celebrates the culture — past, present and future — of the mountains and tells stories of grassroots movements and everyday life. We are yet another offshoot of the deep and wandering roots of Appalachian music, fed by the waters of modern grassroots resistance to that which is wrong and the creation of that which is good in our mountains. You all are that water. May we all keep each other strong, singing, and moving forever forward.” The band visits Firestorm Cafe (48 Commerce Street, 255-8115) with Innocent Flannel Thursday. 8 p.m. $5.
• J. P. Harris & the Tough Choices has some strong opinions about country music and doesn’t hesitate to share its disgust with what has become of the genre. “Sick and tired of the modern pop-country filth broadcast shamelessly and persistently across our beautiful countrysides,” reveals the band’s Myspace, “The Tough Choices set out to right the wrongs done to a music so classically and quintessentially American. As we speak, Hank Williams, Buck Owens, Carl Smith and countless other champions of honky-tonk are rolling in their graves, groaning with disgust over the watered-down contemporary excuse that Nashville presents us for country music. When The Tough Choices began, there were only two rules: keep it country, and keep it simple. They have done both, yet still weave burning pedal steel leads and painfully genuine guitar solos with the cool calm of a spaghetti-western Clint Eastwood.” See what all the fuss is about when the band performs at MoDaddy’s (77 Biltmore Avenue, 258-1550) with fellow country revivalist Cary Fridley. 9 p.m. $5.
Friday, Jan. 7
• See your own experiences dramatized on the stage as the Asheville Playback Theater presents “Life Stages,” an improvisational performance based on audience members’ true stories. Singer/songwriter Danny Ellis opens. NC Stage Company (15 Stage Lane, 239-0263). 8 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday. $5 for students, but no one will be turned away.
• Arcade Asheville (130 College Street), downtown’s brand new bar/restaurant/gameroom/dance floor, hosts the second installation of its weekly “no cover, no shame” dance party, featuring live DJs and plenty of room to shake your tush. 9 p.m. Free.
• The Magnetic Field (372 Depot Street, 674-2036) invites you to “a magical, mysterious monthly event in which the best of The Magnetic Theatre meets the best of you. Arrive at 10:00 p.m.,” directs a release for the event, “to participate with an original script, song, dance or routine no more than five minutes long or come act or direct someone else’s piece; or come at 11:00 p.m. to see the show!” The first 13 pieces will be accepted in the order they arrive, and the event will continue the first Friday of every month. $5.
“The remarkable chemistry and live experimentation in the music of Brushfire Stankgrass begins with its founding members, Ben & Will Saylor,” says the band’s bio. “The brothers began playing music in the Suzuki method at the age of three and picked up the banjo and guitar at 10 & 12, respectively. They still maintain their bluegrass chops today, but have added some Moog analog effects and “trance-mountain dub” rhythms to create a style which has moved beyond the traditional into truly uncharted territory; they call it Stankgrass.” Check them out at Stella Blue (31 Patton Avenue, 236-2424).
Saturday, Jan. 8
• Flood Gallery presents an opening reception for “Dance is the New Visual Art,” a video and sound installation that “incorporates sculptural forms created of paper, fabric & wire,” according to a release for the event. “These forms serve not only as screens on which to display the videos, but also design the shape of the space – creating a complete environment for the viewer.” Wine, beer and light hors d’eouerves will be served. 7 p.m. Free.
• FreepeopleS Frequency is the electronic psychedelia side project of SeepeopleS’ Will Bradford and sound engineer Brooke Binion. The band took a hiatus from touring this fall, but it’s back and celebrating with a free show at Stella Blue (31 Patton Avenue, 236-2424). 9 p.m.
• Reads The Brand New Life‘s bio, “The band’s celebratory music is all about rejoicing in the positive energies of life, while finding humor in the monotonous struggles of the human experience. Realizing the universal desire to celebrate what’s good in life, The Brand New Life employs musical techniques and traditions from around the globe, mixing world-inspired rhythms and melodies with jazzy horns, funky, hip-hop themed bass lines, and crunk lyrics to make music that is reflective of the band’s diverse, urban upbringing in today’s North Carolina.” Catch them at The LAB (39 North Lexington Avenue, 252-0212) with The Secret B-Sides. 10 p.m. $5.
• The Critters are quite possibly the most entertaining new(ish) band in Asheville, specializing in high-energy psychedelia with a quirky, post-punk charm. See for yourself at The Get Down (1045 Haywood Road, 505-8388) as they share the stage with Ivan the Terribles, Ghost Beach and Adam Thorn.
Sunday, Jan. 9
• “Asheville’s top jazz players bring you a program of tasteful, swinging jazz,” says a release for the Rich Willey Jazz Band’s performance at St. Matthias Episcopal Church (1 Dundee Street, 285-0033). “Great American Songbook selections and jazz standards arranged for this very group will help get your new year started off in a relaxed groove.” 3 p.m. Goodwill offerings encouraged.
• Was learning to cook on your list of new year’s resolutions? Then don’t miss local author and co-owner of Sunny Point Café, April Moon, as she visits Malaprop’s Bookstore (55 Haywood Street, 254-6734) to discuss her second cookbook, Breakfast & Beyond: Comfort Food from Dawn to Dark. 3 p.m. Free.