30 Days Out: a look at upcoming concerts

HAIR DOWN TO THEIR GRASS: If you haven't heard Black Sabbath's "War Pigs" delivered bluegrass style, you haven't lived. Hayseed Dixie plays The Grey Eagle April 26.

Twice monthly, my blog 30 Days Out 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 you can adjust your budget and calendar in a way that lets you get to the show.


Broadly speaking, rock and Americana — and whatever you’d care to call the points at which those forms intersect — are the focus of this edition.


Artist: Hayseed Dixie
Venue: The Grey Eagle
Date: Tuesday, April 26, 8 p.m.
Door: $12 advance / $15 day of show
Putting the “high” in “high concept,” Hayseed Dixie is an exemplar at its own microgenre. The guys in the band call it rockgrass, and that seems about right. Their approach is deceptively simple: take a rock song – preferably the hardest rock you can lay your hands on – and reinvent it as a bluegrass tune. The list of artists who’ve had their music Hayseed Dixie-fied includes Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and AC/DC (say “Hayseed Dixie” over and over, real fast-like, and you’ll get the in-joke). They write ace originals too, and the whole thing is delivered with plenty of high-energy good humor. American Gonzos open.


Photo credit: Sooz White
Photo credit: Sooz White

Artist: Ten Cent Poetry
Venue: Jack of the Wood
Date: Tuesday, April 26, 7 p.m.
Door: free
After a lengthy sabbatical, Asheville’s Chelsea LaBate recently resumed recording and performing as Ten Cent Poetry. There’s a childlike sense of wonder to many of her tunes, and her video for “Night Time Moonshine” – which earned her the award for Best Visual Design at the 2016 Music Video Asheville Awards – captures that vibe quite well. If you’re headed out the evening of the 26th, you’ll have to make a choice between this show and Hayseed Dixie; both acts build their music on a foundation of Americana, but from there they head in opposite directions.


Photo credit: LACEphotography
Photo credit: LACEphotography

Artist: Big Sandy & His Fly-rite Boys
Venue: The Grey Eagle
Date: Friday, May 13, 9 p.m.
Door: $12 advance / $15 day of show
Many musical artists claim to combine – or, if they’re especially pretentious, transcend – genres. Big Sandy really does it. His uptempo music is informed by many American-rooted styles, from early rock ‘n’ roll to doo-wop/vocal R&B to soul. But that only scratches the surface of what he does: In any given song you might hear barrelhouse piano, C&W swing and Hawaiian slack-key guitar. And Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys make it all work in a singular and unique timeless whole. That this show is billed as “dancing room only” instead of standing tells you all you need to know.


Photo credit: Elizabeth Cohon
Photo credit: Elizabeth Cohon

Artist: Tom Rush
Venue: ISIS Restaurant & Music Hall
Date: Sunday, May 22, 7 p.m.
Door: $30 advance / $35 day of show
Though he made his greatest commercial inroads early in his career, Tom Rush has gone on to become a kind of elder statesman in the world of American folk music. Though he’s an accomplished songwriter, he’s best known for his immortal reading of Joni Mitchell’s “The Circle Game,” released in 1968. By that time, he was already on his sixth album, and he went on to release more than a dozen discs of new recordings thereafter. Rush celebrated his long career with a 2013 album and DVD, Celebrates 50 Years of Music. Matt Nakoa opens.


You may also enjoy: With over 2,000 entries, my new and improved Musoscribe blog features new content — interviews, reviews and more — every business day. A proud tradition since 2009.

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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