Fresh voices, healthy visions

Team in Training brings athletes together to fight leukemia. And singer/songwriter Jimmy Landry has brought a group of Asheville’s newest acoustic-music voices together for the same reason — and to help them get some much-needed exposure.

“New Faces, New Voices” — a May 1 concert to benefit Team in Training and the Leukemia Society of America — is the happy result of a tangled web of connections and friendships. Here’s Landry’s description of how he met Team in Training member (and benefit co-organizer, along with fellow runner Michelle Goyeau) Meredith Moore: “Meredith went to graduate school at Eastern Carolina. A good friend of mine is married to a woman who went to school with her … and she lived with a woman named Dana, who was the little sister of a guy who worked with my brother at U.S. Air.” Got that?

Moore puts things a little more simply: “I’ve known Jimmy for years, and we were talking about my involvement with Team in Training, and it occurred to me and him that, since the area is so rich with singer/songwriters, putting on a benefit concert would be the perfect way to raise money.”

Landry concurred and set about assembling a group of the area’s most recent singer/songwriter transplants (all the participants, excluding himself, have moved to town since 1995) — often relying on the same kinds of gloriously convoluted connections that hooked him up with Moore. Take singer/guitarist Charles Middleton, for example. “Charlie moved here in the fall from Minnesota,” explains Landry, “and it turns out we have mutual friends. He was acquainted with Buzzy Linhart, who I’ve known for a long time. Early in my career, I did a bunch of openings for Buzzy, because his agent lived in my town. And Buzzy, of course, was on Hendrix’s Cry of Love album and later in the movie The Groove Tube — he was the guy who … ended up running through the woods stripping off his clothes. Anyway, at one point Buzzy lived at Charles’ wife’s parents’ house.” OK?

Humorous entanglements aside, though, the hard fact is that leukemia remains the number-one fatal disease in children, not to mention the scores of adult fatalities it causes each year. Team in Training — a comprehensive training program for runners, walkers, cyclists and triathletes — funnels its collective skills through charitable marathons, cycle races and triathlons to raise money to help leukemia patients and fund research geared toward curing this ominous killer. The 33 members of the Asheville arm of Team in Training will travel with thousands of members from across the nation to San Diego for a 26.2-mile Rock-n-Roll Marathon on May 23. Some funds from the upcoming benefit will help Moore and Goyeau raise the $3,300 contribution to the Leukemia Society necessary to compete in the marathon.

Landry admits, though, that the concert’s charitable cause is just icing on the cake. “There are so many worthy acoustic musicians here, and they’re all trying to get heard, get some recognition,” he notes. “So I think that bringing everybody together for one night is great, and this is a charitable event, it’s even better.

“These people have been playing individually around the area, but it’ll be such a treat to get the chance to hear them all at once,” he concludes.

Here’s the lineup for the May 1 benefit, to be held at Asheville Pizza and Brewing Company at 8 p.m.:

Jimmy Landry, popular area singer/songwriter and founder of ISG Records.

Ron Neill, folk-rocker known for his work with the stellar band, the 11th Hour.

Stephanie Morgan, a member of Ron Neill’s 11th Hour, known for her clear, distinctive vocal style.

Foscoe, a self-described “folk-rock-soul” vocalist, songwriter and guitar player, marked by his quirkily personal lyrics.

Jamuna, a recent transplant from Russia, where his warm, captivating voice first was first heard in the ornate Moscow subway stations.

Charles Middleton, an earnest, established folk troubadour who’s been wandering the world with his guitar and backpack since age 16.

Leigh Hilger, praised for her cello-like voice and intricately delicate guitar stylings.

Lynn Rosser, a powerhouse vocalist, who’s popular both for her own graceful vocal gymnastics and her work with husband, esteemed singer/songwriter Chris Rosser.

Nola Bido Band, funky ragtime-folk-rock trio that’s been creating a stir in Asheville for the past year.

Ashley Chambliss, a new-to-the-scene pianist/singer whose shockingly distinctive voice recalls some combination of Jewel, Sarah McLachlan and Rickie Lee Jones.

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