Who anticipated the day avant-garde artists and national musicians would mingle with the bluegrass pickers and retired tobacco farmers on Main Street in Marshall?
The tiny town 20 minutes north of Asheville, once a sleepy rural outpost, has become a haven for an innovative and pioneering community that likes good music and supports a wide spectrum of the arts. Marshall still has its old-fashioned Main Street, which is akin to stepping through a time portal. But now it buzzes with an energy that makes it seem anything is possible.
Anything, such as a rock show featuring bands like Brooklyn-based Cordero, Shake It Like Caveman (Asheville) and El Hub (Marshall) along with performance art by dancers from the Neighborhood Studio (Marshall)—all in one venue, just because it sounds like fun.
Musician Erich Hubner, a member of the Madison County Arts Council, organized the event. Hubner says he “wanted to have the show in Marshall to celebrate the existence and fertile nature of the Marshall arts scene.” When Cordero agreed to play, it set the event apart.
Cordero has gotten its share of accolades lately with the release of De Donde Eres (Where Are You From?), the band’s first LP in Spanish. De Donde Eres takes the bilingual band further along its trajectory, forgoing its trademark “tension-laden independent rock” sound of earlier recordings to rediscover band leader Ani Cordero’s love of the Latin music sounds of her childhood. De Donde Eres seamlessly marries Cordero’s indie-rock musical progression with a lush, often unruly internal life that seems best expressed in her native tongue.
“I was going through some heavy stuff when I wrote this record and needed comfort,” Cordero reveals. “Spanish is more comforting to me because it’s the sound of my mother’s voice, my father’s encouragement and my family’s affection.”
Many Latinos grew up listening to both their parents’ music and popular contemporary music, Cordero notes.
“The blending of those sounds is a natural consequence of my life and is evident in my songwriting,” she says. “When I was a young teenager, I would listen to Fugazi or Psychic TV in my room and Cortijo y su Combo or Danny Rivera in the living room with my family.”
Cordero has won media attention over the past few years. They’ve been highlighted on NPR’s Director’s Cuts on Weekend Edition, and WNYC’s The Next Big Thing; plus, their video Rulete Rusa has been featured on MySpace Latin Music.
But let’s not forget the other aforementioned treats:
• Shake it Like a Caveman (aka Blake Burris) opens with his one-man entourage of sounds. It’s like Bob Log III meets Hasil Adkins in a phone booth—fun, dirty, chunky sound that makes you want to slap your thigh.
• El Hub’s local orchestra of sound runs the gamut from humming rockabilly to jagged rock improvisations. “Think of it as The Flaming Lips riding in a spaceship with David Bowie on their way to planet Beatles,” offers Hubner, formerly of Man or Astroman? who founded the band and also plays with Wayne Robbins and the Hellsayers.
• Lisa Mandle and others from the Neighborhood Studio (which offers dance and yoga classes at Marshall High Studios) will be performing throughout the venue with “Movement installation for a small space and little time,” the first in a series of performance-art pieces that will take place at the Madison County Arts Council throughout the season.
Cordero, whose members have visited Marshall before, is jazzed to play Marshall, forgoing Asheville or Charlotte for a more intimate venue.
“There’s a real, intentional community happening of artists and musicians in Marshall,” Cordero says. “Let’s get those people out on the dance floor. You know they can shake it.”
[Natasha Shealy grew up in Marshall and can be reached at Natasha@thenoise.us.]
who: Cordero, Shake it Like a Caveman, El Hub and Neighborhood Studio performance
what: French Broad Friday: A night of rock ‘n’ roll, some in Espanol. Art presented by French Broad Friday Art Walk and Madison County Arts Council.
where: Madison County Arts Council, Main Street, Marshall
when: Friday, Oct. 10. 8 p.m. ($10. www.madisoncountyarts.com)