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Smart bets: Safe & Sound

“Helpmate could use a helping hand,” says the Facebook invite for an evening of music by Jeff Thompson, Vendetta Creme and Aaron Price. The local performers cross genres and styles: Thompson is a singer-songwriter and guitarist, Price a multi-instrumentalist with a knack for clever piano-pop, and Vendetta Creme is the jazz and cabaret project of […]

FAMILY-FRIENDLY: Even though Secret Agent 23 Skidoo is based on the West Coast, he plans to continue collaborating with Asheville artists. “We have a shared history, and I love the flavor,” he says. "That’s the staple of my whole thing, a mutated genre thing." Photo courtesy of the musician

Weirdos R Us: 23 Skidoo celebrates the Year of the Weird with a book and album launch

In the Chinese zodiac, 2014 is the Year of the Horse. For the United Nations, it’s the Year of Family Farming and Crystallography. And, as designated by Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, it’s the Year of the Salamander. No stranger to celebrating diversity and creative thinking for all ages, Secret Agent 23 Skidoo honors […]

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Smart bets: Mates of State

Husband-and-wife, indie-pop outfit Mates of State consistently challenge the perceived limitations of a two-piece with their effortless harmonies and minimal pop appeal. One reviewer describes the band as “two people playing complex songs that sound like five people playing a simple song.” Kori Gardner (keyboard/vocals) and Jason Hammel (drums/vocals) formed Mates of State in 1997 and have […]

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Smart bets: Bobby Bare Jr.

Bobby Bare Jr., son of Country Music Hall of Famer Bobby Bare, is touring in support of his latest release, Undefeated. The album is “10 songs of reality checks, clever wordplay and daring arrangement, the aural companion to that buddy who pulls up a barstool next to yours to help soak away your sorrows,” according […]

Photo by Hang The Moon Photography

Smart bets: Aaron Burdett and Tellico

It’s not too surprising that singer-songwriter Aaron Burdett won top honors from Our State magazine for his song “Going Home to Carolina.” Burdett’s thoughtful, acoustic-driven take on Southern Americana is a fitting soundtrack for life in the Blue Ridge Mountains. With the addition of his four-piece band, he creates music that is deeply rooted in the […]

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Sound Check: The Low Counts

Drum-and-guitar duo The Low Counts (Matt Walsh on guitar and vocals, Austin Hicks on drums) are based in High Point, N.C., but have been breaking into the music scene in Asheville and the surrounding area. The band performed at The Black Mountain Ale House last weekend (where Xpress caught up with them) following a set […]

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Smart bets: South Pacific

“Chosen not only for its easily recognized show tunes, ['I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair' and 'Some Enchanted Evening' among them] Asheville Lyric Opera hopes to introduce the Asheville audience to the classical stage genius of Rodgers & Hammerstein,” says a press release. The musical South Pacific is set on a remote […]

Photo by Lindsey King

Smart bets: Bulgogi

Asheville-based band Bulgogi describes itself as a “perfect storm of dancey punk rock gleeful nutty psychotherapy,” as well as “terrified child dance punk,” but there’s no need to fear frontman Tim Tsurutani, his death-defying vocals, tongue-in-cheek lyrics or the band’s danceable, hard-edged melodies. (That is, assuming the band isn’t trying to lull us into a […]

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Smart bets: D. Striker

Friday promises to be country-strong: First, Texas songwriter Hayes Carll headlines Downtown After Five. And later, Nashville-based musician D. Striker plays a set at Jack of the Wood. Of the tracks on his new album, Come Over Here, Striker says, “‘Three Dudes In An Office’ questions the sincerity of chest-thumping country boys singing redneck odes […]