It’s been nearly seven years since sarahbrown, Tasha Trasher and Todd Weakley relocated to Asheville (sarahbrown and Trasher from Portland, Ore., and Weakley from Boston) and began playing their first round of shows as Hope & Anchor. Since then the trio’s subdued sets filled with sweet melodies and heartfelt lyrics have become a staple of Asheville’s musical landscape. Trasher also plays with local bands Little Nervous and Boys of Summer.
So it comes as something of a gut punch to the scene then that the band has announced a final performance: Friday, April 17, at the Grey Eagle. Following much deliberation, Trasher resolved to return to Portland; born and raised in PDX, she misses the town and her friends there.
“I think all three of us will play music until the day we die,” says sarahbrown, assuring that she and Weakley will still be playing music in town and resurrecting an old side project, Desperate Pilot, to fill the void. “I’ve already written new songs for Desperate Pilot … We played around town for a couple years before it kind of tapered off and went on hiatus, but it never really died.”
(Desperate Pilot is very different, sarahbrown says, though the songwriting is similar to hope and anchor, DP is louder and has different arrangements and instruments, including a drum machine).
There will also be a final hope and anchor album. Oddly enough, the final show will also be a CD release.
“We still haven’t reached consensus on a title,” says sarahbrown with a laugh, “but we’ll have copies the night of the show.”
The album collects the final 14 previously unrecorded hope and anchor songs. Local audio engineer Darren Stroup recorded the whole thing in the classroom where Weakley teaches—all in a one-day marathon session. “It was kind of an impossible scenario, but Darren was incredibly patient and we got it all done,” Brown says.
As for the final show itself? It promises to display the band’s same intimacy and unamplified (literally—the three play utterly acoustic with no amps) simplicity. “It’s just going to be us. We decided to keep it a simple, all-ages kind of deal,” sarahbrown says. Two sets, starting at 9 p.m.
Then that will be it. At least for the gestalt known as hope and anchor. Certainly there will be solo performances galore and a plethora of other exciting projects. Trasher already has several possibilities lined up once she’s settled in Portland. “I know she’s got a lot of ideas and she’s been talking to a lot of different people,” sarahbrown says. “It might not happen right away, but she’ll have many projects to come.”