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 that you can adjust your budget and calendar in a way that lets you get to the show.
All four of the acts spotlighted in this edition are American; none is from Asheville, but all are musically adventurous and intriguing enough to justify a trip out on a potentially wintry February (or early March) Asheville evening.
Artist: Charles Walker Band
Venue: 185 King St.
Date: Friday, Feb. 17, 8 p.m.
You might not know it hearing its music, but the Charles Walker Band started out as a blues outfit. But the group — which has been at it for more than 14 years now — evolved into something much funkier and soulful. Why exactly retro-soul of the 1970s variety has enjoyed a resurgence is open to discussion, but it’s a welcome step backward. CWB delivers new funk tunes that would fit nicely in a playlist that featured Rufus & Chaka Khan and Isaac Hayes.
Artist: Max Hatt & Edda Glass
Venue: Isis Music Hall
Date: Tuesday, Feb. 21, 7 p.m.
Door: $12 advance / $15 day of show
The music of duo Max Hatt (guitar) and Edda Glass (voice) is inspired by the wide-open grandeur of the American west. Their music incorporates elements of bossa nova (Brazilian jazz) but moves beyond it as well. Max Hatt / Edda Glass won a NewSong contest that allowed them to record their debut album Ocean of Birds at Echo Mountain Studios. Though they’re still based out west (New Mexico, these days), they’ve quickly become popular in Asheville. Seating for this intimate upstairs show is limited to 50 people. Michelle Willis opens.
Artist: Ben Folds
Venue: The Orange Peel
Date: Tuesday, Feb. 28, 8 p.m.
Ben Folds came to fame in the 1990s with his waggishly named Ben Folds Five (the group was a trio). His virtuosic-yet-accessible piano-based songs deftly combine the best of ’70s influences (Elton John, Burt Bacharach) with harder-edged styles; BFF called its music “punk rock for sissies.” Folds suspended the group and embarked on a solo career. His first solo album was Rockin’ the Suburbs, a record that had the misfortune of being released on Sept. 11, 2001. These days he’s approaching elder statesman status, but his intelligent-yet-rocking music always feels fresh and new.
Venue: The Mothlight
Date: Wednesday, March 1, 9 p.m.
Door: $12 advance / $14 day of show
Sometimes band bios and press kits end up serving as little more than misdirection, leaving one to decide for him/herself exactly what an act is about musically. That’s been my experience with Khurangbin, a trio from Texas. The band’s bio suggests Thai funk (what?) as an influence. What I hear, instead, is a love of downtempo and psychedelic styles, all built upon a solid foundation of strong melodies. It’s danceable rock, to be sure, but there’s sturdy song craft at the root of it all. The Shacks open.
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