30 Days Out: a look at upcoming concerts

WHEN THE SPIRIT SAYS MOVE: Combining incisive social commentary, a passionate dedication to civil rights and a modern-day blues sensibility, Rev. Sekou has creativity and inspiration to burn. Touring in support of his album 'In Times Like These,' Rev. Sekou plays The Grey Eagle on March 3. Photo courtesy of the artist

Twice monthly, my 30 Days Out column spotlights upcoming music shows and events of note, shining a light into some less well-lit corners, where some fascinating artists schedule performances. I do my best to give ample advance notice so that you can adjust your budget and calendar in a way that lets you get to the show.

As winter unwinds toward spring, Asheville music lovers enjoy a bumper crop of quality local artists with select touring acts brought into the mix. This roundup takes a look at three Asheville based acts in three very different musical styles, plus a compelling national-level musician who’s also a respected activist, theologian, author and documentary filmmaker.

Artist: Rev. Sekou
Venue: The Grey Eagle
Date: Sunday, March 3, 8 p.m.
Door: $12 advance / $15 day of show
The medium of music holds great power, but it’s insufficient to contain or fully express the creative force that is Rev. Sekou. As a civil rights activist, author of five books and documentarian (Exiles in the Promised Land), the Rev is an inspired and articulate voice for the ages. His musical work is as compelling as everything else he does. A modern-day blues artist, his 2017 album In Times Like These was produced by no less a figure than Luther Dickinson. Come for the music, stay for the message. Laura Reed opens.


Artist: Tina and Her Pony
Venue: Ambrose West
Date: Friday, March 29, 8 p.m.
Door: $12 advance / $15 day of show
Approaching folk music with a perspective gained as classical musicians gives Tina & Her Pony (Tina Collins on banjo, ukulele, guitar and vocals; Quetzal Jordan on cello, guitar and vocals) a distinctive and original sound. The two were band mates in an earlier project, Over Under Yonder, but began as a duo in 2010. The eclectic pair’s self-titled debut was released in 2012; Champion was released in 2017. Laura Blackley opens.


Artist: The Rich Nelson Band
Venue: Isis Music Hall
Date: Friday, March 15, 9 p.m.
Door: $15
Rich Nelson is acclaimed for his work in two very different media: He’s an accomplished landscape and portraiture artist, and he leads a rock ‘n’ roll band. The latter draws some of its inspiration from the hard-edged Detroit scene in which Nelson came up, but his artistic inclinations color the music as well. Nelson’s top-notch band includes a few local notables, one of whom is Robert George of Sound Temple Recording Studio. The Rich Nelson Band’s Ever Since Now was released last November. Anabeth Berry opens.


Artist: Pleasure Chest
Venue: Highland Brewing
Date: Friday, March 22, 7 p.m.
Door: free
Sometimes you just need some stripped-down, no-frills bluesy rock ‘n’ roll. A spirited, searing reading of Junior Wells’ “Messin’ with the Kid” might be just the ticket, or perhaps you’d dig a few minutes of Eddie Cochran’s “Twenty Flight Rock,” the song that Paul McCartney used to get into John Lennon’s band. Either way, the fiery, no-b.s. vibe of Asheville’s own Pleasure Chest — with Kip Veno on vocals and former Man or Astro-Man? guitarist Erich Hubner on some wacky-looking axes — delivers the goods.

You may also enjoy: With way more than 2750 entries and nearly 700 interviews, my Musoscribe blog features new content — features, reviews and more — every single day. A proud tradition, now in its 10th year. My book, Reinventing Pink Floyd: From Syd Barrett to The Dark Side of the Moon, published by Rowman & Littlefield, is available now.

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About Bill Kopp
Author, music journalist, historian, collector, and musician. His first book, "Reinventing Pink Floyd: From Syd Barrett to The Dark Side of the Moon," published by Rowman & Littlefield, is available now. Follow me @the_musoscribe

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