Nevada with the Hellsayers at Westville Pub; Thursday, Aug. 4: Four Stars
• Genre(s): Indie, Americana
• Be glad you stayed home if: You frown upon Cosmic Country traversing into Radiohead or Spiritualized territory.
• Defining moment: Nevada’s “Let It Shine” — the second song in the set — barreled out of the gate, displaying an armada of genres, and quashing any notion of “just another bar band.”
I admit I came for the Hellsayers. All I knew about Nevada was that band member Sean Robbins is the brother of the Hellsayers’ ethereal poet Wayne Robbins. I was even more taken aback when the Hellsayers came on first. Stripped to a bare trio, Robbins and company still induced the power abundantly evident when they’re a full band. My favorite track, “Jesus,” silenced the bar rowdies, and was fortified softly by Nevada’s Vickie Burick (acoustic guitar, vocals).
I was shocked to find Nevada, a group relegated (for now) to the unknown, to be so damn good. All the members seemed to share a part, with equal acreage in the limelight. Guitarist Kevin Stanford showed traces of Johnny Greenwood, while Burick’s warm presence and voice nurtured her bandmates as they explored beyond the boundaries of their numerous influences. They even gave the Beatles’ “Rain” a luminous salute.
It seems I’m not the only one who thinks the Hellsayers rip. A little publication called Billboard chose the WNC-based band one of six finalists for this year’s Independent Music World Series (IMWS) Southeast Showcase. The contest takes place Thursday, Aug. 18 at Atlanta’s Hard Rock Cafe.
Put on by Disc Makers, the nation’s leading independent CD-and-DVD manufacturer, the showcase confers on its winner $35,000 in top-of-the-line equipment.
And as you all know (unless you’ve been sequestered in a bubble since last century), Asheville is a hotbed for bluegrass. This well-filed fact was rammed home again via local outfit Town Mountain, who just took top prize in the band competition at the 33rd Annual RockyGrass Festival in Lyons, Colo.
Self-described traditionalists, Town Mountain topped the other 11 competitors, garnering the first-place prize, which included cash, picking supplies and a full set at next year’s RockyGrass.
[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.]