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 you to the show.
There’s a common thread to all the acts covered in this issue: soul. From the Hendrix-meets-Ernest-Tubb guitar dazzle of Junior Brown to the down-home New Orleans funk of The Soul Rebels, from The Budos Band’s horn-inflected psychedelia to the bluesy Americana of legendary Taj Mahal, expect authentic groove that’s equal parts sensual and visceral.
Artist: The Soul Rebels
Venue: Asheville Music Hall
Date: Thursday, Oct. 9, 10 p.m.
Door: $12 advance / $15 day of show
Combining the relatively modern genre of hip-hop with classic funky New Orleans jazz might seem an odd pairing, but when the Crescent City’s Soul Rebels do it, the hybrid makes sense. Cyril Neville of The Neville Brothers certainly thinks so: he gave them their name to describe their musical approach. Their highest-profile appearance to date has been as part of the 2010 Super Bowl’s televised pregame parade; seeing and hearing them at the Asheville Music Hall will be a much more intimate experience. Laura Reed opens.
Artist: Junior Brown
Venue: The Grey Eagle
Date: Thursday, Oct. 30, 9 p.m.
Door: $16 advance / $18 day of show
The Roosevelts open.
Junior Brown has long been a performer caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place. The rock is heard in his fiery, shredding lead guitar work, greatly influenced by Jimi Hendrix and ’60s surf instrumentals. The hard place is country and western: the 10-gallon-hat wearing Brown (backed by a small band that features his missus on rhythm guitar) sings in a deep baritone about the highway patrol and gettin’ caught doin’ bad stuff. Just seeing him play his trademark guit-steel makes the trip worth it; he’s one of few artists who can entertain those who love c&w as well as those who don’t care for it a bit. The Roosevelts open.
Artist: The Budos Band
Venue: Grey Eagle
Date: Friday, Oct. 31, 9 p.m.
Door: $20 advance / $25 day of show
The Budos Band plays a style of instrumental soul music that folds in the influence of African forms as well. A horn band with unimaginative album titles (their last was 2010’s The Budos Band III), they’re far more imaginative than, say, Chicago. Funky without being a jam band, jazzy without fitting into most people’s idea of jazz, the group is right at home on Daptone Records (home to like-minded artists Sharon Jones and Charles Bradley). Electric Citizen opens.
Artist: Taj Mahal
Venue: New Mountain
Date: Saturday, Nov. 1, 8 p.m.
Door: $40 advance / $45 day of show
Say what you will about Americana; there are precious few African-Americans making music that can be described as such. But Taj Mahal is one. From fronting the ahead-of-their-time Rising Sons (with Ry Cooder) in the 1960s to his series of multiple genre-encompassing albums under his own name, the Harlem-born Taj Mahal has carved out an influential career. These days the multi-instrumentalist is most often associated with the blues, but his music’s too big to fit into one genre. The man’s a legend.
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