The Sunday bands

Jazz/rock/fusion outfit Jonathan Scales Fourchestra plays the Coxe Avenue Stage Saturday from 2:30-4 p.m.

Baby Rattlesnakes

Originally called “The Lonely Christmas Band,” the band that would become Baby Rattlesnakes played holiday covers for their friends. But the chemistry of the group inspired them to expand beyond the seasonal repertoire, writing their own material inspired by elements of soul, pop and Appalachian folk. The Asheville-based six-piece band melts hearts with its self-proclaimed goal of inspiring marriage.

Balsam Range

Local bluegrass quintet Balsam Range is a bit of a supergroup. Each player (Tim Surrett, Buddy Melton, Caleb Smith, Darren Nicholson and Marc Pruett) multitask — Surrett even acts as emcee. And live shows often feature guests with star power, such as Tony Rice. Even better, Balsam Range is currently releasing its new album, Papertown.

Boys in the Well

So earnest are N.C.-based Boys In The Well that they call themselves earnest. And the band’s debut EP was called Mostly Honest. Topping the Boys’ list of priorities are meaningful lyrics, catchy melodies and universal themes of love and loss. They also switch instruments between songs, keeping the live show exciting.

Brandi Carlile

Singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile has toured with the likes of Ray LaMontagne, The Fray and Tori Amos. She's been produced by T Bone Burnett and Rick Rubin and landed songs in both a GM TV ad during the Olympics and on the National Geographic channel in Latin America. And this summer she's already dropped her new album, Bear Creek, and announced her engagement to her girlfriend, Catherine Shepherd. Congrats, Brandi!

David Holt

Southern Appalachian folksinger and storyteller David Holt is also the host of PBS show Folkways. He's well known for his Panama hats, his friendship and collaboration with the late guitar legend Doc Watson and for his own roots band, The Lightning Bolts. Holt is a Bele Chere staple.

David Wax Museum

Part indie-folk band leader, part troubadour from a bygone era, singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist David Wax fronts his "Mexo-Americana fusion" ensemble David Wax Museum. And, despite the staid and hushed suggestions of "museum," this band is an exhibit of unbridled enthusiasm and boundless energy — within the confines of catchy, storied indie-folk.

Jonathan Scales Fourchestra

Though Jonathan Scales technically plays the steel drum, he's really transcended that instrument with a sound that taps jazz, jam, experimental and rock. Scales regularly collaborates with Jeff Coffin, Yonrico Scott and Kofi Burbridge, all of whom make guest appearances on his most recent album, Character Farm. Scales and his Fourchestra are based in Asheville, but are spending much of the year on tour.

Lacy Green

Lacy Green intended to leave college with the skills to write about music, but by the end of her senior year at UNC-Chapel Hill she was working on her debut EP. Her warm melodies enliven the Nashville polish of her potent country songs, hinging on emotionally rich hooks that are both affecting and accessible. With a Top-100 country single already to her credit, Green is a songwriter with a powerful voice and a bright future.


Understatement is a rare and valuable thing among some bands. In a genre where extended jams and unnecessary bouts of soloist bravado can sometimes mar otherwise powerful expressions, a band like Asheville’s Lyric is an immensely admirable treat. The seductive sway of tuneful guitars and muscular bass backs narratives that reveal themselves in hypnotic tumbles. There is nothing brash or over-the-top about Lyric. The group allows its talent to shine through naturally.

Randall Bramblett

As a sideman, one couldn’t hope for a better resumé than Randall Bramblett. A multi-instrumentalist with roots in rock and jazz, he’s worked with Traffic, Steve Winwood, Levon Helm and Bonnie Raitt. But apart from a pair of ‘70s LPs, his solo career didn’t take of until the late ‘90s. Since 1998, the jack-of-all-sounds has released five albums under his own name, conquering radio-ready classic rock jams with the panache of someone used to owning the spotlight, not sharing in the afterglow.


2011’s Starfruit — the most recent effort from Asheville’s stephaniesid — is the band’s most refined statement to date. It was also born in a basement. Taking a break from studio recording, the five-piece pop outfit that centers on the brightly brash pipes of Stephanie Morgan, recorded at home with their own equipment. The extra time resulted in dense, rhythmically diverse expanses that retain the infectious energy of the group’s lively performances. Sometimes doing it better means doing it yourself.

Ten Hollow

Asheville’s Ten Hollow (previously known as Tennessee Hollow) describe themselves with words such as “roots” and “Americana.” They could just as easily ascribe a term with a touch more stigma: “soft rock.” Ten Hollow’s solidly crafted mix of folk and blues carries with it more twang-filled character than most music that earns that description, but their most endearing songs follow enjoyable lightweight melodies matched by Dave Dribbon’s Rod Stewart-esque croon. There’s other flavors here to be sure, but none that would offend any palates.

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