HMO-free zone

“I’ve written over fifty books. … None of them has ever given me the problems of this book,” admitted Robert Conley in the afterword to his latest work, Cherokee Medicine Man: The Life and Work of a Modern Day Healer (University of Oklahoma Press, 2005). “Some people have said … that it’s because this book […]

Rubber soul

Akron, Ohio-based rockers the Black Keys are either the most unlikely act to ever sell out a concert hall, or the most genuine rock stars to grace a Rolling Stone. Not the cover, mind you. But the magazine did peg the underdog duo’s 2002 debut The Big Come Up (Alive) as “a righteous choice for […]

Strumming like the wind

photo by Chuck Green In all airness: Becoming a “successful” air guitarist is harder than it sounds. Admit it, you’ve gotten all Risky Business in your skivvies and sung into your hairbrush/polished off an amazing drum solo on the dashboard/strummed an imaginary set of strings in the vicinity of your groin. You probably used to […]

If June Cleaver joined the circus

“I was learning to play my bass sideways to accommodate my prenatal curvature,” writes rocker Lisa MaeRae Hinzman in her memoir “My Rock and Roll Pregnancy.” The story — and other adventures by moms and mothers-to-be — appears in Mamaphonic: Balancing Motherhood and Other Creative Acts (Soft Skull, 2004). Editors Bee Lavender and Maia Rossini […]

Any excuse to wear cowboy boots

Athens, Ga. is roughly the size of Asheville, and they managed R.E.M. — so when will Asheville produce an indie-flavored band with such explosive potential? (After all, the once-rigid barrier separating Top-40 pop and its po-mo counterpart is subtly coming apart, a point proven this week by the Shins’ two-night engagement at the Orange Peel […]

Dances with ants

“The closest I’ve come in recent times to expeditions into the wilderness are day hikes off the Blue Ridge Parkway or hours of stealth on the herony banks of Beaver Lake, a ten-minute walk from my front door,” says local author David Brendan Hopes in his latest book, Bird Songs of the Mesozoic: A Day […]

Every land is their Motherland

On a sunny spring day in West Asheville, eight musicians are busting out of the garage where they’ve been practicing for the last six months. Not busting because of their sheer numbers — I’m talking about wailing solos, fierce grooves and a funkified dreamscape of sound. They play saxophone, French horn, guitar, bass, keys, wood […]

Play it forward

External play: Informal jams are as much a part of Shindig on the Green as the singers and dancers who perform on stage. Construction at City/County Plaza this summer may threaten this portion of the decades-old event. “There’s a reason why Asheville is a center of mountain music,” reveals historian and Grammy-winning musician David Holt. […]

Poetic justice

“When the official notice came out, the phone was ringing off the hook — it was crazy,” exclaims Cullowhee-based writer Kathryn Stripling Byer. The longtime Western North Carolina resident calls herself a “stay-at-home person,” but all that’s about to change: Byer has just been named North Carolina’s Poet Laureate. Nice work if you can get […]

Forgiving and forgetting

“My husband had this, but if you’re like me, everybody gives you their war stories, so I’ll save you mine,” a waitress tells the often cantankerous Prate Marshbanks in Tommy Hays’ new novel, The Pleasure Was Mine (St. Martin’s Press, 2005). The waitress adds, “I will say this — it wasn’t all bad.” Which is […]

Laws of (human) nature

For most of us, the finer points of litigation only grow interesting in human form. Or so says Australian author John Bailey, who recently told Xpress by e-mail, “If the injustice of the law is brought home to an individual case, then it becomes interesting and vital. “I saw myself as writing not so much […]

The eyes have it

Georgi 2005, by Ben Betsalel The oversized heads on the walls at Ananda take over even that vast space. Rising Asheville artist Benjamin Betsalel, known for his murals, titles his exhibit Dynamic Lines Within Us. Just so: The works are spontaneous, alive with energy — the paint is swathed onto the paper with a fearless, […]

Making dreams, not making do

Got it made: Asheville is home to increasingly well-known designers, including Kelledy Francis (work shown above). Wearing something handmade to school used to mean social suicide. And while teens may still be label-obsessed, in the past 20 years, the idea of DIY has gone from the unhip ministrations of unicorn-themed latch-hook to the tasty trimmings […]

What clubs want

[PLEASE NOTE: Information listed here was accurate as of March 16, 2005. Please call the venue to verify information.] So you can play a solo like Hendrix, your singer is the love child of Tom Waits and Siouxsie Sioux, and you’ve been rocking out in your mom’s garage for the past six months. Now all […]

Recording studios

[PLEASE NOTE: Information listed here was accurate as of March 16, 2005. Please call the studio to verify information.] There are cheaper recording rooms in town staffed by better spellers, but Collapseable Studios in West Asheville enjoys the hippest reputation. From old-school gospel to experimental surf rock, there’s a local studio ready to commit your […]