Twice monthly, my 30 Days Out column 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.
Rollicking r&b, funky jams, homegrown rock and a book talk from a prominent North Carolina singer-songwriter/rocker: that’s just some of what’s on offer musically in Asheville over the next 30 days.
Artist: Marcia Ball
Venue: The Grey Eagle
Date: Friday, June 22, 8 p.m.
Pianist-singer Marcia Ball plays blues (and rhythm and blues) of the New Orleans variety: assured yet loose-limbed, precise yet warmly expressive. Since debuting as a solo artist, Ball has released some 20 albums, and has been a reliable draw on the festival circuit for more than two decades. Her Grey Eagle date is an opportunity for fans to see her up close and personal. She’s touring now in support of her latest album, Shine Bright, released in April.
Artist: Suga Grits
Venue: The One Stop
Date: Saturday, June 9, 10 p.m.
Suga Grits brings the funk. With a style that suggests New Mastersounds crossed with Mother’s Finest at a jam festival, the Washington, D.C., group features the powerful lead vocals of Dev Duff. The band recently expanded to incorporate a horn section as well. But, at its heart, Suga Grits remains a jam band. The songs provide foundations for the players to launch — individually and collectively — into musical excursions. But that exploratory approach remains rooted in melody, so it doesn’t get overindulgent.
Artist: Chris Stamey
Venue: Malaprop’s Bookstore
Date: Monday, June 18, 6 p.m.
Door: free (book is $26.95)
Chris Stamey is North Carolina rock royalty. By no means has his work been confined to our state, though he’s perhaps best known for his band, The dB’s (with Peter Holsapple). Stamey was also an underappreciated catalyst of the New York City rock scene of the 1970s, and his personal story is richly interwoven with that of Big Star’s Alex Chilton (among others). Stamey generally avoids interviews (though on occasion he’ll willing do email Q&As), so the fact that not only has he written a memoir (A Spy in the House of Loud: New York Songs and Stories), but is speaking about it in public, is a real treat. That he’s coming to Asheville makes it even more special, and news that he’ll bring a guitar elevates the whole event to do-not-miss status.
Artist: Travers Brothership
Venue: Asheville Music Hall
Date: Friday, June 22, 10 p.m.
Mountain Xpress readers’ 2016 choice for No. 1 Alternative Band in WNC, Travers Brothership is among the hardest-working local groups, with regular residencies here in town and a tour schedule that takes the band throughout the southeast. The Brothership’s sound mixes Southern soul (a la Muscle Shoals) with the modern style of the Black Keys. The band’s A Way to Survive — recorded in town and released last year — gives a good approximation of its onstage sound, but seeing Travers Brothership live is the best way to go. Empire Horns and Dean Mitchell open.
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