Twice monthly, my blog 30 Days Out spotlights upcoming music shows and events of note, often 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.
For this, the two-year anniversary edition of 30 Days Out, I take a quick look at three nationally touring acts and a locally sourced talent of wide repute.
Artist: Dweezil Zappa
Venue: The Orange Peel
Date: Wednesday, Jan. 18, 8 p.m.
Door: $28 advance / $30 day of show
Over the last several months, the guitar-wielding son of the late Frank Zappa has been in the news a lot. Not, sadly for his music, but rather concerning his run-ins with two siblings, non-performing controllers of Frank’s estate. Meanwhile, Dweezil does what he can to keep the focus on the music. Though last year’s Via Zammata’ showed him once again to be an excellent songwriter in his own right, this tour will focus primarily on Dweezil’s ongoing mission: bringing his father’s music to as many current-day listeners as possible. A separately ticketed “masterclass” earlier in the day gives attendees the chance to learn a few things from a guy who learned from one of the very best.
Artist: Wendy Jones
Venue: Isis Restaurant & Music Hall
Date: Sunday, Jan. 22, 7:30 p.m.
For this show, the Brevard-based singer-instructor-performer will pay tribute to one of the most important composers of the 20th century, Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington. Backed by a four-piece band, Jones will sing selections from Ellington’s vast catalog (he composed more than 3,000 pieces of music). Jones is — among other credits — a featured vocalist with the Asheville Jazz Orchestra. But this performance, billed as the Wendy Jones Quintet, is an opportunity to see and hear her perform in a more musically streamlined setting that puts the focus on her impressive, expressive voice.
Venue: The Altamont Theatre
Date: Friday, Jan. 27, 8 p.m.
Door: $7 advance / $10 day of show
In one of the earliest entries of 30 Days Out, I wrote about a band called Apache Relay. Here’s part of what I said: “The group is based in Nashville, and they’re nominally an Americana band. But Apache Relay has much more going on than the tag would suggest. The band’s new self-titled album features a track called ‘Katie Queen of Tennessee’ that owes as much to Phil Spector and Brian Wilson as it does to Fleet Foxes. The musicians’ arrangements convey a depth of emotionalism uncommon in popular music, and they pull it off without getting maudlin.” Well, that group is no more, but its founders — brothers Michael Ford, Jr. and Ben Ford — now bill themselves as Airpark. No released music yet, but it seems as if they’re scaling back the Americana influences and heading in the direction “Katie” hinted at.
Artist: The Legendary Shack Shakers
Venue: Asheville Music Hall
Date: Friday, Jan. 27, 10 p.m.
Door: $15 advance / $18 day of show
Okay, maybe “legendary” lays it on a bit thick, but these guys have some claim to the title. For nearly 20 years now, the group — founding member J.D. Wilkes on harmonica, banjo and vocals, plus a succession of other musicians — has fashioned a kind of Southern Gothic take on rockabilly, one informed as much as anything by the power and spirit of rock ‘n’ roll. Robert Plant — no slouch of a rocker himself, once upon a time — thought enough of LSS to invite them to tour as his opening act in 2005. The group’s material is shot through with just the right amount of humor and irreverence. The Brains and The Delta Bombers are also on the night’s “Rockabilly Rumble” bill.
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