Western North Carolina has a wealth of world-class jazz musicians, even if that’s not always obvious.
“You can find [them] sprinkled all throughout the area, hiding in plain sight on larger stages, playing with folk, Americana and rock bands,” says George Awad, event co-producer at Citizen Vinyl. “We’re constantly surprised by just how much amazing musicianship exists in the region, rivaling much larger cities. We wanted to create another space where these artists can have the chance to return to their jazz passion in front of a jazz-hungry audience.”
With that in mind, Citizen Vinyl has introduced Citizen Swing, a series that will run twice a month on Wednesdays, starting at 6 p.m. The event debuted Jan. 10 and will continue on Wednesday, Jan. 24, with a performance by Connor Law and Adam Rose.
Law, a freelance bassist, bandleader and composer, will curate the talent for the series and perform at each show. Rose, a guitarist, composer and multi-instrumentalist, moved to Asheville in 2022 and released Vibes + Tribes, his first jazz album as a bandleader.
At each event, organizers will spin classic jazz records from 6-7 p.m., after which the artists will take the stage and play until 9 p.m. Citizen Vinyl’s Session bar will feature cocktails inspired by the Jazz Age, and the kitchen will offer a special Citizen Swing menu.
“We have been toying with the idea of a jazz night for some time,” Awad says. “We are always getting feedback about how much people love our space, and now that we have a stage, curtains and lights, we want to round it out with all of the blossoming local jazz talent there is.”
Upcoming Citizen Swing nights will include Law playing with pianist Thomson Knoles on Wednesday, Feb. 7, and multireed instrumentalist Will Boyd on Wednesday, Feb. 21.
Citizen Vinyl is at 14 O. Henry Ave. For more information about the Citizen Swing Series, go to avl.mx/prxr.
Book focuses on women of Appalachia
Author Halle Hill was born and raised in East Tennessee and now lives in Winston-Salem. But she says her time in Asheville played a big part in the inspiration for Good Women, a new collection of short stories about the worlds of 12 Black women in Appalachia.
“I wrote half of the collection when I lived in Asheville,” she explains. “I worked at Warren Wilson [College] while I completed my MFA thesis. After work, I frequently ate in the dining hall, then wrote in the library until it closed. The landscape of Western North Carolina is similar to East Tennessee, which was helpful when writing about and remembering physical spaces and atmospheres. Asheville brought me community, and it’s hard to not be inspired when your office windows open to a farm surrounded by sheep and soft, blue mountains. Asheville is a big part of me.”
Hill and Asheville poet Michael Dechane will be featured at the Punch Bucket Lit reading series at 7 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 18, at rEvolve in West Asheville. Hill will read selections from Good Women, which was published in September by Hub City Press and named a 2023 Best Book of the Year by Kirkus Reviews, O Magazine, Electric Literature, Book Riot and Southwest Review.
The stories in the book explore themes like religion, place, blood ties, generational trauma and obsession.
“There is a sense of place, people and rhythm that came from my Appalachian upbringing and influences my work,” she says. “It’s the way people talk, relate, their pacing. The ways they show care. I carry that with me and used that knowing as a guide when writing Good Women.”
rEvolve is at 697 Haywood Road. For more information or to purchase the book, go to avl.mx/d9b.
Family matters at Canton library
The Canton branch of the Haywood County Public Library has become the first Family Place Library in North Carolina.
Family Place Libraries is a nationwide program founded in 1996 to transform public libraries into centers for early literacy, parent education and family support, says Dillon Huffman, Haywood County public information officer. More than 500 libraries in 32 states have earned the designation.
The model targets children 1-3 years old and consists of two major components: a specially designed learning space and twice-yearly, five-week parent-child workshops.
The Canton branch’s Early Learning Space is in the children’s room and includes age-appropriate toys and parenting books. With financial support from the Haywood County Public Library Foundation, library staff recently updated the parenting collection and seating area and added manipulative toys such as Brain Flakes and Magnetic Tiles.
“Children have the opportunity to learn through play while parents become informed of local community support organizations,” Huffman says.
The first parent-child workshop, called “123 Play with Me,” started Jan. 10 and will continue for four more Wednesdays, Jan. 17, Jan. 24, Jan. 31 and Feb. 7, 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. The second session will begin in May.
For those who cannot commit to a five-week program, Huffman says, the library hosts a monthly program called “Little Ones Learn” between sessions. “This program allows families to spend time together, make new friends and talk one-on-one with early childhood and family support specialists.”
Initial expenses for staff training and program implementation were covered by Haywood County Library Foundation and the nonprofit Region A Partnership for Children, Huffman says. The library’s operating budget has covered some minor expenses, and the Friends of the Haywood County Public Library support costs associated with the five-week workshops and the monthly programs.
Haywood County Public Library director Kathy Vossler previously worked at the City of Wichita Falls Public Library in Texas, where she implemented the Family Place Libraries program.
“Due to the overwhelmingly positive impact on children and families, she felt it was worth bringing to Haywood County,” Huffman says.
To sign up for the programs or learn more, contact Ashlyn Godleski at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (828)356-2567.
Meet the artist at Wedge Brewing
Wedge Brewing Co.’s Grove Arcade location will host Cabin Fever Party, an event featuring artist Nadine Charlsen and music from Chris Wilhelm from 5-8 p.m., Friday, Jan. 19. Charlsen’s exhibit, Worlds of Watercolor, has been on display at the brewery since November and will continue until Sunday, April 28.
Ukrainian pysanky egg designer Andrea Kulish will be a special guest at the party.
Wedge Brewing Co. is in the Grove Arcade, 1 Page Ave. For more information, visit avl.mx/d9f.
Tryon gallery features trio of artists
Upstairs Artspace in Tryon will feature the works of Asheville artists Mark Flowers and Suzanne Dittenber in Off the Wall, an exhibit running from Saturday, Jan. 20-Friday, March 15. Strangers, a show by South Carolina artist Kevin Isgett, will run at the same time.
An opening reception for both exhibits will be held Saturday, Jan. 20, 5-7 p.m.
Flowers will showcase 11 mixed-media pieces, mostly from his “Baltimore Series.” The collagelike pieces resulted from his train travels in Baltimore, where he observed and took cellphone photos. Dittenber, an associate professor of painting at UNC Asheville, will display recently produced paintings using pigmented pulp on paper.
Upstairs Artspace is at 49 S. Trade St., Tryon. For more information, go to avl.mx/d9e.
Weaverville museum hosts author Roberts
Author Terry Roberts will discuss the background and composition of his 2022 novel The Sky Club at the Dry Ridge Historical Museum in Weaverville at 7 p.m., Friday, Jan. 19.
The novel is set in Asheville in the late 1920s and early 1930s and features the 1930 closure of the Central Bank and Trust Co., a real historical event, as a major plot point.
The Dry Ridge Historical Museum is in the Weaverville Community Center, 60 Lakeshore Drive. For more information, visit avl.mx/d9c.
Call for art submissions
Asheville Parks & Recreation is inviting local artists of all mediums to submit pieces that will be displayed during a pop-up gallery celebrating Black Legacy Month from Friday, Feb 16-Thursday, Feb. 29, at Dr. Wesley Grant Sr. Southside Community Center.
The exhibit, Southside Presents: Black History Through the Eyes of Art, opens with a reception on Friday, Feb. 16, 6-8 p.m.
Participating artists should register at avl.mx/d9d and drop off submissions at the center, 285 Livingston St., from Monday, Feb. 12-Thursday, Feb. 15, 9 a.m.-8:30 p.m.