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 […]

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Smart bets: The Royal Noise

Drawing on influences from the great funk masters Herbie Hancock and Parliament Funkadelic, as well as contemporary bands like Umphrey’s McGee and Lotus, Philadelphia-based funk band The Royal Noise is a self-described “relentless funk dance party.” One reviewer characterizes the band as “Groove, groove and more groove — with a side order of groove and a […]

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Smart bets: Quilts as Inspiration

There was a time when quilts served as one of the few pieces of artwork in Appalachian homes, and they truly were works of art. “The hallmarks of great art always include line, color, patterns, texture, balance. Quilts are no exception,” according to a press release for American Folk Art & Framing’s upcoming exhibit, Pattern, […]

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Smart bets: Ali Douglass

There is something comfortingly familiar about Ali Douglass’ whimsical illustrations and paintings. It might be the eye-pleasing color combinations, charming characters and quirky cityscapes and scenes — or it might actually be that you’ve seen them before. Douglass has been illustrating for countless magazines and newspapers  — including Seventeen, Martha Stewart, Glamour and The New […]

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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 […]

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Smart bets: Barbara J. Taylor

Barbara J. Taylor’s debut novel, Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night, is “an evocative story of family tragedy and healing set in coal-mining Scranton, Pennsylvania.” As a native and current resident of the Electric City, where the story is set, Taylor draws inspiration from a haunting family story to blend real-life incidents with historical […]

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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 […]

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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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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 […]

Photo by Brandy Bourne

Smart bets: The Big Crafty

Go local and bolster your DIY cred at the same time at The Big Crafty. There, artists and makers of all kinds will convene in downtown Asheville and sell their one-of-a-kind, handmade wares. “Our guiding principle is that buying handmade is good for the community, and our aim is to make doing so fun,” say the […]

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Smart bets: Grandfather Mountain Highland Games

Grab your kilt and your clan and get to the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games for “blaring bagpipes, astounding athletes and tons of tartan.” The four-day event begins with sheep-herding demonstrations and only gets more Celtic from there. Brawnier participants may enter heavyweight competitions such as “turning the caber” and “tossing the sheaf.” In the caber toss, […]

TheSlideBrothers

Smart bets: The Slide Brothers

Most musicians are lucky to get props for shredding or ripping or killing it. But Nashville/Atlanta/Rochester N.Y.-based blues, rock and soul act The Slide Brothers have been dubbed “godfathers of the electric church,” “masters of the sacred steel” and “the greatest living musicians who embody the sacred steel tradition.” Aubrey Ghent, Calvin Cooke, Chuck Campbell […]

BET MattTownsend

Smart bets: Matt Townsend

Musician Matt Townsend spent two years writing songs in secret before going public with his work in 2010. “Initially busking on the streets of Burlington, Vt. and playing local coffeehouses, he soon began hitting the stages of clubs and venues around the Burlington area,” says Townsend’s press release. He released a solo EP, performed in […]

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Smart bets: Gringo Star

The psych-rock outfit Gringo Star has been described as a “’60s beach party on acid,” and with musical influences ranging from The Stooges to The Kinks to Sam Cooke, that sounds about right. Musicians and brothers Nicholas and Peter Furgiuele and cohort Chris Kaufmann put forth the band’s latest, self-produced album, Floating Out to See, which […]