BANDING TOGETHER: The Asheville Symphony Orchestra is the leading presenter of classical music in WNC, and one of many groups making up the region's diverse music industry. Photo courtesy of the ASO

Sound investment: WNC’s burgeoning music industry

While the local music scene might be hard to typify, it’s easy to point to: Musicians, venues, festivals and street performers compose the visible face of a vibrant arts culture. The local music industry, however, is more difficult to quantify. There are some well-known recording studios and instrument manufacturers and the occasional high-profile guitar sale, […]

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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.

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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 […]

Allan Wolf at the opening ceremony of the 2014 Southern Fried Poetry Slam. Photo from Wolf's Facebook page.

Poetic injustice: Locals respond to N.C.’s poet laureate debate

Poetry has long been an action-packed artistic genre in Western North Carolina. Here, it’s not merely written but spoken, slammed and taken into schools (thanks to Poetry Alive! — which celebrates its 30th anniversary with an event at The White Horse on Aug. 15 — and LEAF in Schools & Streets, among other initiatives). In […]

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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: 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 […]

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After the Last LAAFF: New festival seeks community input, starting with a name

Lexington Avenue Arts and Fun Fest, Asheville’s hyper-local street festival, returns for one final installment on Sunday, Aug. 31. And while that one-day celebration marks a farewell for the grassroots event that launched in 2002, it’s also the start of a new locally focused fest that will roll out in 2015. “The point is to celebrate […]