There have always been upstarts, like high school kid-turned-Rolling Stone-writer Cameron Crowe, and skatepunk-turned-bluesman Jonny Lang. Asheville’s answer to those prodigies of cool has to be Skinny Legs and All. The quintet, ages 12-17, started as a music club at Evergreen Community Charter School. But these are no mere American Idol-hypnotized teens. The group’s name references a classic novel by psychedelic-intellectual Tom Robbins; their catalog includes gems like Hendrix’s Little Wing and The Meters’ Cissy Strut—songs possibily older than these kids’ parents. Lead singer Jesse Barry channels a clean-scrubbed Janis Joplin while Paul Chelmis infuses his keyboard with a ‘70s groove a la Big Brother and the Holding Company.
And this band’s talent is no secret. Skinny Legs and All has been selected by the Southern Fried Blues Society to perform in the Youth Showcase at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis on Friday, Feb. 6. To raise money for the trip to Tennessee, the group takes the stage at White Horse/Black Mountain this Friday, Jan. 30. The show (which also features Peggy Ratusz & Daddy Longlegs and We Sing Nasty Blues), starts at 7:30 p.m., is teen-friendly and costs $5 at the door.
Also on the bands front, a local standby returns after a hiatus with a new name. Folk musicians Cregan and Danielle, formerly known as The divineMAGgees, are now the electro-ambiant duo Osaka Pearl. The story, by way of explanation, as told on the group’s MySpace page: “I am the Osaka Pearl. I am an ocean flowing from your mouth. I am the beat that persuades your heart. I am the salt of your sorrow. I am the sun and the moon and the stars and everything else in between in all the worlds of every Universe.” The band debuts at BoBo Gallery on Saturday, Jan. 31, 9 p.m.