30 Days Out: A look at upcoming concerts

21ST CENTURY BLUES: Austin-based guitarist/singer Jackie Venson plays original music informed by the blues, but she's not simply recycling old riffs from Muddy Waters records; there's a decidedly modern sensibility to her songs. Photo courtesy of the musician

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.

Blues, amped-up Americana and cracked psych-folk are just some of the music choices available to Asheville music lovers in the next 30 days. Also spotlighted: a fond farewell to (and from) a family of beloved local musicians.

Artist: Jackie Venson
Venue: Isis Music Hall
Date: Friday, Aug. 25, 9 p.m.
Door: $15 advance, $18 day of show
Jackie Venson is nominally a blues artist. But her strong voice betrays more than a hint of a jazz influence, with a pop sensibility. And she’s not constrained by rigid, arbitrary ideas as to what is and isn’t blues, so her music sounds fresh and new. In fact, a listen to her latest single, the groove-laden “Flying,” shows that while her music often feels like blues, it doesn’t exactly sound like it. Venson updates the form in a way that feels organic and natural. There’s something in her music for blues purists — those searing electric guitar solos — but even those are pulled into the 21st century by her use of a looping pedal.


Artist: Greg Humphreys Electric Trio
Venue: Salvage Station
Date: Thursday, Aug. 10, 8:30 p.m.
Door: free
Greg Humphreys has a well-demonstrated ability to jump from genre to genre without a whiff of dilettantism. Look at his past work. Dillon Fence’s music was often catchy, danceable college rock. Hobex was funky soul. And his latest project finds him (like so many others) moving in an Americana direction. But he’s no opportunist — there’s a genuine feel to his songs, and there’s little doubt that his top-notch songwriting chops have a lot to do with that. And if you listen closely, there’s not a world of difference between Dillon Fence tunes like “For Anyone” (from 2004’s Best+) and the Greg Humphrey Electric Trio’s “Lucky.”


Artist: The Volt Per Octaves
Venue: The Mothlight
Date: Friday, Sept. 1, 9 p.m.
Door: $5
Nick Montoya moved from the Pacific Northwest to Asheville with his wife (Anna Rhoney Montoya) and daughter (Eva Montoya) in 2013; all three ended up working at Moog Music. And all three continued with their ongoing musical project, the all-analog-synthesizer trio The Volt Per Octaves. A wonderful mix of pop, dance-oriented rhythms and electronic experimentalism characterize the group’s music. The VPO’s 2015 album Joining the Circuits showcases all that, and features contributions from the Montoyas’ close friend and musical mentor, Bernie Worrell. Having decided to pursue opportunities in California, the family is leaving Asheville soon. They’ll be missed, but this final local show is a fine opportunity to hear their music live one more time while giving them a warm sendoff. The bill also includes Luxury Club, Cyboman and Orgatroid.


Artist: Roky Erickson
Venue: The Grey Eagle
Date: Sunday, Sept. 3, 9 p.m.
Door: $22 advance, $25 day of show
The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson, Moby Grape’s Skip Spence, Syd Barrett of Pink Floyd and the 13th Floor Elevators’ Roky Erickson: what all had/have in common is a unique and deeply creative musical vision. Oh, and a history that includes various mixtures of psychedelic drugs and incipient mental illness. Syd and Skippy are no longer with us; Brian tours the world, his mortal remains propped up (literally and figuratively) by a world-class band that plays his best material in a faithful and flawless manner. That leaves Roky. The long, strange trip of the Texan’s life story was chronicled in a 2005 documentary named after the Elevators’ most famous tune, “You’re Gonna Miss Me.” Song titles from his wildly idiosyncratic freak-folk solo material give hints as to where he is: “Bloody Hammer,” “I Walked with a Zombie,” etc. If you know anything at all about Roky and his music, you’ll know that this is a show that is — to coin a phrase — not to be missed. Death Valley Girls open.

You may also enjoy: With nearly 2500 entries and nearly 500 interviews, my Musoscribe blog features new content — features, reviews and more — every business day. A proud tradition since 2009, now in its ninth year. My first book, Reinventing Pink Floyd: From Syd Barrett to The Dark Side of the Moon, will be published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2018.


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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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