Busk Break: Isaac Alexander Johnson and Jim Barton perform “The Highway Song”-attachment0

Busk Break: Isaac Alexander Johnson and Jim Barton perform “The Highway Song”

There was something approaching a reunion of the gone-but-not-forgotten 90’s epoch Asheville band The Spoonbenders on the streets of downtown over the weekend, as Isaac Alexander Johnson and Jim Barton busked in front of the BB&T Building. Although significant cajoling couldn’t convince them to perform one of their older tunes, Barton (on acoustic bass guitar) joined in on an unrehearsed version of Johnson’s tune “The Highway Song.” Let’s have a listen.

Busk Break: Taylor Martin and Lyndsay Pruitt perform “Devil’s in the Barroom”-attachment0

Busk Break: Taylor Martin and Lyndsay Pruitt perform “Devil’s in the Barroom”

Every so often, a downtown busking group really sink their teeth into what they’re playing and give a truly memorable performance. And that’s exactly what happened here, when Asheville-based singer/songwriter Taylor Martin and fiddle-player Lyndsay Pruitt performed Martin’s original tune “Devil’s in the Barroom” on Pack Square on Friday evening.

Busk Break: The Leather Britches perform “Make Me a Pallet on the Floor”-attachment0

Busk Break: The Leather Britches perform “Make Me a Pallet on the Floor”

Listening to how neatly the members of The Leather Britches fit together as performers, you’d be hard-pressed to guess that the group had only been playing together under that name for the better part of an afternoon. Composed of four friends who came to Asheville for the Swannanoa Gathering, the group is: Nick DiSebastian (guitar) and Charles Muench (bass) — both of the band River Wheel — Bronwyn Keith-Hynes (fiddle) and Jen Starsinic (fiddle). Here, the quartet perform the cross-genre standard “Make Me a Pallet on the Floor.”

Busk Break: Obie Quiet, Ignorant and Captain Ahab cover “Warrior Man”-attachment0

Busk Break: Obie Quiet, Ignorant and Captain Ahab cover “Warrior Man”

While Billy Joe Shaver has been influencing outlaw country music for nearly four decades, many younger listeners became introduced to his music when his tune “Warrior Man” was used as the theme to the Adult Swim cartoon Squidbillies. How influential was that theme song? Just ask buskers Obie Quiet, Ignorant and Captain Ahab, who performed their cover of the tune near Pritchard Park earlier this week. If you like what you hear, be forewarned that the trio lack any kind of Web presence, so your best bet to hear them live is to wander aimlessly on the streets of Asheville. Just a word of warning, though: The song is just a touch not safe for work.

Busk Break: Jeffrey Hershey and Michael Jordan-attachment0

Busk Break: Jeffrey Hershey and Michael Jordan

As anyone who has made themselves open to the free-flowing social scene of Asheville knows, it can be surprisingly easy to meet people of similar interests just by being open to chance encounters. And those meetings—even if fleeting—can create some very interesting (if perhaps short-lived) artistic collaborations. For instance, violinist Jeffrey Hershey and singer/songwriter Michael Jordan encountered each other outside of Mo Daddy’s one night last week, and the next day they were jamming in Pritchard Park. The tune is called “This Is What You Get.”

Busk Break: Ben-attachment0

Busk Break: Ben

Not every downtown busker is seeking popularity and fame. Some just love performing, and aren’t particularly seeking to promote themselves. Take the Asheville-based blues busker known only as Ben. He wasn’t interested in giving out his last name, doesn’t have a website or social media page for his music, and insists that the only way to hear more of his playing is to randomly encounter him performing for kicks and tips on the street. In this clip, he’s covering the classic Jimmy Reed tune “High And Lonesome.”