Smart Bets: Daryl Hance

Daryl Hance, founder and former and guitarist of the band JJ Grey and Mofro, goes solo with his own brand of bluesy, groove-driven Southern rock. Hance says that while he throws down some loud guitar, the music is “all about fat beats, monster grooves and wide-open spaces.” Musical influences range from Sly and the Family […]

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Something to stew about

A change of just one little letter turns a chili pepper — an ordinary spicy restaurant garnish — into a chile — an authentic, traditional New Mexican treat. The green Hatch chile packs a unique flavor profile, and West Asheville’s Zia Taqueria is one of only about 20 restaurants in the country where diners can […]

TRAIN LOVER: “I’ve always loved trains,” says railroad engineer Rocky Hollifield, who founded the historic Craggy Mountain Line in 2001. He poses here with a restored No. 7 1950 ALCO diesel engine from the Alexander Railroad Company. Jesse Farthing

Train buffs

Railfans, train buffs, trainspotters, tetsu-oka, gunzels — whatever the moniker, train enthusiasts of almost any nationality would know the green-and-yellow 1950 Alexander Railroad Company ALCO diesel engine No. 7 parked at Craggy Mountain Line in Woodfin. They’d also find an open-air passenger car from the Tweetsie Railroad, a red Southern Caboose 488 and Car 9505, […]

Support men who experience sexual trauma

This letter responds to the article “Breaking the Silence” [Dec. 18 Xpress] regarding sexual violence experienced by men. I applaud the comments made by John Langlois, who courageously speaks out against this heinous crime that affects both women and men. This issue has been raised in the military and was the subject of a Dec. […]

Freeing the feminine

For people who think belly dancing is simply a sexy form of entertainment, teacher Michelle Dionne is quick to clarify: “Belly dancing is sexy,” she says, but she makes an important distinction: “Sexy for someone else [or] for random strangers is one thing. Sexy as power and as life-force energy and empowerment is different.” In […]

The first Noël: Pagan dance tunes were remade into Christmas carols long before the Scots-Irish settlers arrived in the Appalachian mountains, says fiddler Jamie Laval.

Tartan tidings

“By the time Scots-Irish settlers came to this area, the Christmas music tradition had already been well-established,” says award-winning fiddler and Asheville resident Jamie Laval. So, while there is a signature music from Appalachia, “a lot of the traditional carols that we all know and love had existed for centuries,” says Laval. A deep love […]

NUMBERS GAME: The fact that a food package displays one of these symbols does not necessarily mean it can be recycled. Courtesy of

All symbols are not created equal

As we peruse our local grocery store shelves, we can all rest assured that the familiar arrow symbols and numbers displayed on product packages mean the material can be recycled. Right? “This is a common misconception,” says Barry Lawson, president of Curbside Management in Asheville. “The symbol actually tells you what kind of material the […]


The end of one year and the beginning of the next are a traditional time of reflection and gathering, so we’ve collected here a variety of spiritual voices whose hopes and dreams will, hopefully, welcome you home. Western North Carolina spiritual leaders and faith-based groups all work toward creating a better community. In the following […]

A place for poetry

I wonder why there is no poetry printed in your paper, when it was once a common fact of everyday culture to have verses printed. Yeats was printed in local newspapers. Do you think it a virtue to have such possible genius stamped out? I don’t work in the newspaper business. I’m a poet, editor […]

A scene from Whole Earth Theory: Dimensions of Life and Death, a show by Asheville artists Valeria Watson-Doost and Jeremy Russell, held at UNCA. Photo by Kyle Sherard

State of the Arts

During the past year, DeSoto Lounge had an entire exhibition of taxidermied African beasts. The exhibit redrew, if only for a moment, the boundaries of fine craft and the decorative arts. Warren Wilson College featured a video performance installation by Chicago-based artist Jefferson Pinder that brought about a serious dialogue on individual upward mobility and […]

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The electric slide

It’s less than it used to be, but most of Western North Carolina’s electricity comes from coal — nearly 60 percent. WNC also gets a higher percentage of its juice from hydropower than the rest of the nation, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. In the U.S. in 2012, coal generated 37.4 percent of […]

Carbon dioxide does not cause global warming

Among the many false beliefs with which people have been brainwashed, the belief that human generation of carbon dioxide is causing the Earth’s atmosphere to heat up is one of the most pervasive. It’s disappointing to see public officials like Brownie Newman forcing this false belief on the rest of us [“Buncombe Commissioners Set Bar […]

FRESH AIR: Peter Pollay takes the reins as 2014 president of Asheville Independent Restaurants executive board. Courtesy of Posana Café

SMALL BITES: Asheville Independen­t Restaurant­s names new executive board

Asheville Independent Restaurants recently named its new executive board for 2014, tapping Posana Café co-owner and Executive Chef Peter Pollay as president. Chosen as president-elect at the end of 2012, Pollay replaces outgoing president Sherrye Coggiola of The Cantina. AIR's membership is composed of more than 90 independent restaurants, and its 2014 board represents a […]

From the news desk

Report shines light on Asheville’s hunger, homelessness Recently, the U.S. Conference of Mayors released an in-depth report examining the hunger and homelessness situations in 25 cities across the country, including Asheville. The report found that the city has serious issues with low wages, unaffordable housing, poverty, and the number of domestic violence survivors who end […]

Dangerous highway is a disgrace

Does anyone doubt that the 50 yards or so past Westgate on Interstate 240 west is the worst piece of highway in North Carolina? And every halfhearted attempt to patch it up only seems to make matters worse. My guess is that nothing serious will get done until a busload of clueless tourists goes out […]


In last week’s food article about Katuah Market, a new grocery store in Biltmore Village [“Katuah Market Stocks the Shelves,” Dec. 11 Xpress], it was reported that the store would have 54 employees upon opening. Marketing director Nicole White informed Xpress that since publication, the number of employees has grown to 74. —