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.
A couple of traveling, storytelling troubadours, a regional jazz collective and some Irish music just in time for St. Patrick’s Day — those are the topics of this installment.
Artist: Peter Asher
Venue: The Altamont Theatre
Date: Saturday, March 11, 1 p.m.
Door: $25 advance / $30 day of show
Peter Asher’s name would appear in rock and pop history even if he never made a record; in his parents’ house in the mid 1960s, young Peter had a roommate called Paul McCartney. When Peter formed a musical duo with his friend Gordon Waller, Paul wrote them a song called “A World Without Love.” But Asher had and has plenty of talent on his own; as a talent scout for The Beatles’ Apple Records, he discovered a singer-songwriter named James Taylor. Asher would go on to produce and guide the careers of many other artists, while making music of his own. The man is full of stories, and he’ll share them at this intimate performance.
Artist: Mountain Chamber Jazz Ensemble
Venue: White Horse Black Mountain
Date: Sunday, March 5, 7:30 p.m.
Door: $10 advance / $12 day of show
Western North Carolina-based pianist Michael Jefry Stevens is an incredibly busy musician: He leads or is a key member of no less than six musical groups. It’s easy to find him playing live on any given weekend. But while all of his projects are worthwhile (and that’s an understatement), his Mountain Chamber Jazz Ensemble is deserving of special mention. Drawing from a large pool of astoundingly talented local and regional players, the ensemble is a hybrid that includes string, percussion, brass and woodwind sections. The ensemble’s repertoire draws from many genres and balances composed works with flights of improvisation.
Venue: Isis Music Hall
Date: Sunday, March 12, 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
For more than two decades now, Lúnasa has been keeping the fires of Irish and Celtic folk music burning. Across seven studio albums and a 2013 live set (Lúnasa with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra), the group entertains audiences worldwide. With a busy schedule that keeps the group on the road most of the year — New York City’s famed Carnegie Hall is on the current tour — it’s extra-special that Isis has managed to schedule Lúnasa for an Asheville date (two in one day, in fact) so close to St. Patrick’s Day.
Artist: Loudon Wainwright III
Venue: The Grey Eagle
Date: Thursday, March 23, 8 p.m.
Door: $27 advance / $30 day of show
With more than two dozen studio albums to his credit, Loudon Wainwright III is carrying on a proud (and sometimes revered) tradition as a folk troubadour. On his latest, 2015’s Haven’t Got the Blues (Yet), the singer-songwriter-guitarist creates a pastiche of different musical styles. And in the grand folk tradition of protest and social commentary, last summer he released the music video “I Had a Dream,” a decidedly anti-Trump tune. It’s a safe bet he’ll share some thoughts on that and related topics in between songs.
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