JL1

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.

BET Aaron Price promo 2014

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 […]

BET BobbyBareJr. by JoshuaBlackWilkins copy

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 […]