A&E Roundup: Digital music showcases bring seasonal cheer

HALL DECKERS: Grammy-winning family hip-hop artist Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, center, is one of many notable local artists taking part in Asheville Music School's "Home for the Holidays" online benefit show on Dec. 17. Skidoo recently moved back to Asheville after a few years in California. Photo by Mike Belleme

With this week’s Roundup arriving around the time that the Warren Haynes Christmas Jam would usually make news, it’s fitting that this latest edition is music-centric.

Asheville Music School helps fill the void of Haynes’ annual star-studded event with one of its own. On Thursday, Dec. 17, at 6:30 p.m., the nonprofit is hosting an online “Home For The Holidays” concert, featuring performances by Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, Jonathan Scales, Free Planet Radio, Brie Capone, Andrew Scotchie, Matt Williams, Jeremias Zunguze, Adama Dembele and more. The concert is free to view, but donations are encouraged to help raise funds for the school’s scholarship and outreach programs, as well as to help sustain musicians and music teachers in Western North Carolina. ashevillemusicschool.org

The Wortham Center for the Performing Arts’ much-loved “A Swannanoa Solstice” concert likewise goes digital for its 18th edition, but will also have an in-person component. Hosted by Swannanoa Gathering founder Doug Orr, the folk music showcase will be performed live on Sunday, Dec. 20, at 2 p.m., and features performances by multi-instrumentalist Robin Bullock; storyteller David Holt; percussive dancer Ellie Grace; old-time musician and flatfooter Phil Jamison; Highland bagpiper E.J. Jones; and, making his Swannanoa Solstice debut, Madison County fiddler Josh Goforth.

A limited number of tickets are available for the event in compliance with local and state guidelines. The performances will be recorded and made available to view online beginning at 7 p.m., and will be accessible through Thursday, Dec. 31. In-person tickets are $45, and online tickets are $35. worthamarts.org

Record players

Asheville-area musicians have remained active in the final quarter of 2020. Andrew Thelston’s EP Sound of Repeats features the artist’s big vocals and dextrous guitar work alongside the bass lines of Roddy Wilder and the drumming of Jeff Lott; Tim Williams’ Ghosts, on which the rocker wrote, played and recorded every instrument, is his fourth album since recovering from a woodworking accident that severely injured his right hand; and Americana artist Chris Jamison’s Three Visions features contributions from such local stalwarts as Chris Rosser, Billy Cardine and Jacob Rodriguez, plus pianist Aaron Embry, who has collaborated with Edward Sharp and Willie Nelson.

Additional recordings include recent Knoxville, Tenn., transplants Two-Way Street — cellist Ashlee Booth and percussionist Adam Lion — who collaborated with experimental composer Sarah Hennies on The Reinvention of Romance; the self-titled debut album from Oggetto, an “electroacoustic performance trio” composed of LA-based guitarist/video artist Michael Flanagan, Brooklyn-based bassist/composer Frank Meadows and local sound artist/percussionist Carmelo Pampillonio, and recorded November 2015-February 2016 while the group was living in Asheville; and poet Justin Blackburn’s Unlearning White America, which the artist describes as featuring “spoken word, hip hop, pop and indie pop.”

Moves on TV

The song “Only Darkness” by Asheville-based indie rock band Moves was featured on the Dec. 6 episode of the Showtime comedy “Shameless.” The sync placement (an industry term for matching music with on-screen content) was made possible by Studio City, Calif.-based Crucial Music. thebandmoves.com

Tour with Herb

The Bob Moog Foundation presents a new virtual tour of its Moogseum on Sunday, Dec. 13, at 2 p.m. The event will be led by Executive Director Michelle Moog-Koussa and will explore the creation of the Moog modular synthesizer prototype with insights from 88-year-old Herb Deutsch, who collaborated with Bob Moog on the development of the influential synth. Deutsch will participate from his Long Island home. The tour offers the last time to see the prototype before it’s returned to the Henry Ford Museum outside Detroit, Mich. — its home since 1982.

“Herb represents a pivotal juncture in the world of music, during which the sonic landscape was on the verge of expanding in ways that were previously impossible,” Moog-Koussa says. “He was there, guiding Bob, in the years-long development of the revolutionary Moog synthesizer, making him an all-important figure in the world of electronic music.”

Tickets are available on a pay-what-you-can basis. All proceeds benefit the Moogseum, which was closed for five months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. bit.ly/MoogseumPrototypeTour

Tar Heels unite

The Cultural Arts LIVE (Live, Immersive Virtual Experiences) Conference takes place Tuesday-Wednesday, Dec. 15-16, giving students and teachers the opportunity to participate in free workshops and activities led by North Carolina artists, musicians, dancers, actors, writers, journalists, historians and educators. All sessions will be recorded and teachers will be able to use the videos live in class during the conference as well as in the spring 2021 semester.

The conference also offers professional development sessions for educators that cover topics including copyright issues during virtual learning, arts integration for all grade levels, remote resources for music educators, the state’s new personal finance class and more. The event is hosted by the N.C. Business Committee on Education, in partnership with the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources and the N.C. Department of Public Instruction. It is the final installment in a series of four remote learning conferences through Gov. Roy Cooper’s N.C. Student Connect initiative. ncstudentconnect.com


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About Edwin Arnaudin
Edwin Arnaudin is a staff writer for Mountain Xpress. He also reviews films for ashevillemovies.com and is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA) and North Carolina Film Critics Association (NCFCA). Follow me @EdwinArnaudin

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