Asheville’s Steep Canyon Rangers are no strangers to the road. The Grammy Award-winning bluegrass and roots band, which sometimes includes comedian Steve Martin, has toured nationally and internationally for close to 26 years. But it’s the hometown shows that are “a world apart” from the rest, says vocalist and banjoist Graham Sharp.
“Your favorite people are out there in the audience smiling and dancing,” he says. “It’s a chance to put your best foot forward and say, ‘Hey, you know, we’re all over the place playing all year long and we’re not around as much as we’d like to be, but here’s what we’ve been doing.’ I think we always took the Asheville crowd interaction as a good sort of metric for how we’re feeling with the music.”
The band kicks off a six-month tour on Saturday, July 1, at 7 p.m. at Salvage Station, with another Asheville-based, nationally touring band opening — gypsy jazz and folk punk group the Jon Stickley Trio.
The Rangers last played in Asheville in May 2022, when they held a free concert in Pack Square Park. “That felt like an Asheville love-in, with 6,000 people in the park. And strangely, it felt like they were all people from around here that we’ve known for such a long time,” says Sharp. “That’s kind of what you hope for your hometown show to feel like.”
The July 1 show will also be the first show at home since Aaron Burdett replaced Woody Platt on vocals and guitar last fall.
“We’re so focused on making this six-piece band the best it can be,” says Sharp. “We have different strengths in different places that we can expand a little bit more and also explore some territory which might not quite suit us anymore. When you’re in the arts, you’re never at an endpoint.”
“For so long, we were the new kids on the scene in bluegrass, and I felt like just in the last two years [we became] one of the established bands on the scene,” he says. “So, it’s cool seeing all these amazing groups and individuals coming up in Asheville and across the country. It’s really inspiring.”
The all-ages show will take place on Salvage Station’s outdoor stage.
Salvage Station is at 466 Riverside Drive. For more information, visit avl.mx/cs9.
Recording studio Citizen Vinyl’s new producer-in-residence comes from a background working with international recording artists including U2, Sinead O’Connor and Van Morrison.
Ireland native Kevin Moloney, who comes from a technical rather than a musical background, started on his career path while growing up in Dublin. There he became an assistant engineer in a recording studio and first encountered members of U2. They were all teenagers at the time. “We worked on their first five albums before I moved to London and went freelance as a producer,” says Moloney in a press release.
After a career in London that included producing O’Connor’s first album, The Lion and the Cobra, Moloney found himself settling in Los Angeles in 1992 and worked with artists such as The Caulfields, The Judybats and Naked.
Since moving to Asheville, Moloney has led the production of Asheville-based singer-songwriter Anya Hinkle‘s forthcoming album Oceania. He says in the press release that he likes aspects of working both in studio and on location. “It’s whatever serves the song. It doesn’t have to happen in a professional room — that doesn’t make it right. It’s about being ready at the moment to capture it.”
Moloney describes the recording studio in Citizen Vinyl as “a half-sized version of the Abbey Road room,” referring to the iconic Abbey Road Studios, where The Beatles recorded much of the album of the same name.
Citizen Vinyl is at 14 O. Henry Ave. For more information, visit avl.mx/csa.
Art for the soul
A new exhibition from local artists Jenny Pickens and Andrea Clark will be housed at Wedge Brewing Co.’s Grove Arcade location. Soul Renderings: An African American Women’s Exhibition will display paintings by Pickens and photographs by Clark from Friday, June 30, through September.
Pickens, an Asheville native, works in several mediums and is also known for her local murals, including her role in the Black Lives Matter mural downtown. Clark, originally from Massachusetts, has lived in Asheville since the 1960s and has documented through photography the changes in the East End neighborhood, as well as other local subjects.
The exhibition will kick off with an opening reception June 30, 5:30-9 p.m.
Wedge Brewing Co. at the Grove Arcade is at 1 Page Ave., Suite 152. For more information, visit avl.mx/csd.
Red + blue = purple
A celebration of freedom will take place the weekend before Independence Day. The Sovereign Campout: Celebrating Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness will be held from Friday, June 30, at 2 p.m. through Sunday, July 2, at 6 p.m., at Sacred Mountain Waters Wellness Sanctuary in Marshall.
The event, which is alcohol and drug free, will feature speakers, wellness practices, live music, a DJ dance party, a kids zone and food and beverage vendors.
Discussion topics will include health, financial and political freedom; permaculture and food independence; and legal sovereignty. Attendees will have opportunities to participate in facilitated “sharing circles.”
“This gathering is sponsored by Purple Nation USA to bring the best of red and blue together to seek the truth and cultivate unity,” according to the website.
The 200-acre venue is in a private mountain valley bordered by rivers and has a pond, hot tubs and grills.
Sacred Mountain Waters is at 2932 Big Laurel Road, Marshall. For more information, visit avl.mx/csb.