Skeletons in the jukebox
“Skeletons” provides a forum for local musicians, artists, record-store owners, etc., to erase cool points by expressing their unseemly affection for an unhip album from their past.
Rocky IV Soundtrack, by Kevin Cassels, owner of Good Music and Other Stuff.
“If you suddenly smell Velveeta while driving past a flea market, chances are there is a cassette tape of the Rocky IV soundtrack for sale inside. For many young men between the ages of 25 and 35, Rocky IV was not just a movie, it was an era.
“I admit it, there have been times when I was very upset, and hopped in the car and put in ‘No Easy Way Out.’ It’s great therapy. I’ve done a push-up or two to ‘Training Montage.’ And to this day, I stand up and throw ghost punches during the movie’s finale. Shut up, you know you did too.”
Whitewater Bluegrass Company, Still Havin’ Fun: Two Stars
• Genre(s): Bluegrass, classic country
• You’ll like it if: You’re a bluegrass fan, but for some uncanny reason (i.e., cave-dwelling) you’ve never heard staples like “Rocky Top” or “Fox on the Run.”
• Defining song: “Route 66″ — shows the band’s rollicking side, as they expertly teeter between country and bluegrass.
It seems unfair to categorize Whitewater Bluegrass Company as a mere cover band. For starters, member Marc Pruett won a Grammy for his banjo work on Ricky Skaggs’ Bluegrass Rules album. Second, each member is authentically steeped in local culture. But every song can be heard issuing from any bluegrass pub, front porch or busking corner. Some more obscure traditional tunes would be refreshing to hear. Still Havin’ Fun is for folks who need familiarity to stave off the demons of the unknown.
Bailey Mountain Trio at Blue Mountain Pizza in Weaverville; Tuesday, June 14: Three Stars
• Genre(s): Mountain, classic country, gospel
• Be glad you stayed home if: You’d take the long way home to avoid a front porch jam.
• Defining moment: Carol Mallett Rifkin summoning Sunday on a Tuesday with her moving rendition of the bluegrass-gospel tune “Angel Band.”
Occasionally, it’s good to step out of the bright lights of Asheville and go where anonymity reigns. One such place is Blue Mountain Pizza, a trendy little eatery in Weaverville. Every Tuesday night, it hosts the Bailey Mountain Trio, the most talented band to sit on a tiny stage. Bassist Buddy Davis (co-producer of Nashville Network’s “Fire on the Mountain”) guided listeners through each song with a breezy eloquence. Rifkin’s voice soared like dove wings on each gospel number. And Madison County hero Roger Howell strutted his stuff on fiddle, clawhammer banjo and guitar.
Never flashy, his picking hearkens back to the days when songcatchers would traverse thick hollers to get any taste of authenticity.
[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.]