Smart Bets: Rachel Brooke

“Take everything you think you know about country music and throw it out the window,” wrote one reviewer. “That pop rock crap y’all call country is nothing compared to what Rachel Brooke is laying down.” Based in northern Michigan, Brooke grew up with bluegrass fans for parents. Meanwhile, she played in a punk band. Somehow those disparate influences found middle ground in Chicago blues and vintage New Orleans jazz — all of which Brooke channeled into her own distinct take on country. She plays two WNC shows this week: No Name Sports Pub in Sylva on Friday, Feb. 21, at 10 p.m. And Water'n Hole in Waynesville, on Saturday, Feb. 22, at 9 p.m. Free. Photo courtesy of the artist


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