Local News: Songwriters in the Round
Singer/songwriters now get a chance to show off their craft away from the usual coffee-fueled venues. At 9 p.m. on Fridays, Asheville singer/songwriter/pianist Dave Turner will host “Songwriters in the Round” at the Root Bar in East Asheville. Each week, Turner will share a set with two guest songwriters. The trio of artists will share stories behind their songs and then perform in a round-robin format. Following the collective segment, each artist will perform a 45-minute set of his or her music. Turner will close the evening festivities with a set of his own originals. Admission is $5. For more info, check DaveTurnerBand.com or call 225-5977.
Akron/Family at the Grey Eagle, Friday, Jan. 20: Four Stars
• Genre(s): More genres than Tolstoy has words.
• Be glad you stayed home if: You consider the intertwining of folk and feedback to be profane.
• Defining moment: “Awake” & “Moment” – Typifies the band’s penchant for contrast – lulled the crowd with delicate string maneuvers, smashed their well being with noisy discord, then brought them back to earth with a folksy romp.
“Where did all these f#@$-g people come from?” joked Miles Seaton before his Akron/Family band pounced on the crowd. Uncompromising in their music, Akron/Family lived up to the hype of their lauded two albums. Using every inch of their equipment (Seth Olinsky created noise effects by putting a mic down his pants), the quartet took brave listeners down paths of equal chaos and harmony. The only unsettling moment came courtesy of a 20-minute feedback frenzy (that some would call a jam, while others would cite as art) that nearly emptied the room. They “repented” by juxtaposing into an acoustic excursion with only the campfire missing. Damn near perfect.
Davenport at Barleys; Thursday, Jan. 19: Three Stars
Genre(s): (In your best Keef Richards voice) Bloody rock-n-roll.
Be glad you stayed home if: You feel rock-n-roll should be sequestered in a museum.
Defining moment: “Boomerang” – This original is reminiscent of a Heartbreakers tune without Petty’s nasal entries, and shows a band adding creativity to their genre without pillaging it.
Local band Davenport is like the classic-rock station before a behemoth corporation homogenizes the format. Heady covers like the Dire Straits’ “Down to the Waterline” and Willie Dixon’s “Bring it on Home” (a la Led Zeppelin) veer from the usual jukebox selections. Still, it’s their originals that deserve press. “Falling Down” alleges rock, but it also suggests a Radiohead synth feel. Miles Swartz (lead vox, guitar) plays like a rocker should – hair flying and emotion gushing. His alter-ego, Grant Funderburk (vocals, guitar), has a lower vocal twang that complements Swartz’s sometimes scratchy yells (think Rod Stewart in the Faces era). The growing pains are still evident (and the Barley’s echo chamber didn’t help), but their simplicity will draw bigger crowds as their playing becomes more complex.
[When he’s not bending readers to his will, Hunter Pope cooks, gardens, hikes and spends his mortgage money on CDs he’s never heard.]