Clean sweep

Though The Broomstars’ brand of skillfully executed, synth-fortified indie rock sounds anything but haphazard, the band’s inception was exactly that.
Songwriter Jason Daniello was catching a shuttle at the Charlotte airport when the girlfriend of percussionist Clayton Jones saw Daniello’s guitar case and struck up a conversation.

Living the Waffle House dream: If you want to be a Broomstar, you’ve got to carbo-load.

It was one of those potentially awkward, “Hey, my boyfriend’s a musician, too,” things, only the end result was synchronistic rather than, well, weird.

“It’s not like they were constantly auditioning drummers,” Jones notes.

The group (now about seven months into their foray as a band) also includes Daniello’s wife, Liz LeBleu, on synthesizers and vocals, and Jared White playing bass and synthesizers.

Their first gig, as part of a Bonfires for Peace concert in Pritchard Park, was really as a backup band for Daniello’s project, Jason and the Argonauts. LeBleu, who had never been in a band before, thought she was just lending her keyboard experience to a one-time thing.

Fate, it seems, intervened, and now the Broomstars have show dates of their own lined up, an EP (due out this fall) and fans (the band was recently named among Xpress readers’ favorite as-yet-undiscovered local bands) clamoring for more.

“We’re all enthusiastic, but we’re also realistic,” White says. “We’re all in our 30s. That puts us in a different bracket. I don’t want to say mature, but … .”

But the Broomstars are holding down jobs (LeBleu works in the school system; how anti-rock star is that?), raising families and dreaming (realistically) of future regional tours.

Where the group’s members (who all moved to Asheville within the past three years) set their sights high is on the quality of their records and live shows. The upcoming EP is based on Daniello’s already-completed songs with additions of what White calls “spice and accents” from the rest of the band.

“Jason’s melodies are infectious,” the bassist insists. “That’s what drew me to play with him. I do a lot of ambient affects”—such as the addition of his newborn baby’s heartbeat to the end of the song “My Heart Trembles.” (Again, more sweet cred than street cred.)

Jones adds, “Keyboards, melodies and beats give it a little electronic edge,” though the Broomstars don’t want anyone to mistake their quartet for an electronica outfit. This is rock.

“Asheville is dying for rock bands,” Jones says. “Even middle-of-the road bands are doing well. When the [Smashing] Pumpkins came, people lost their minds.”

The Broomstars are no ‘90s rock revival, however. Their songs sleekly meld fuzzy guitars, unflinching percussion, melodic keyboards and pop-astute lyrics.

Up to now, practice sessions revolved around laying down tracks at Silvermine Studios. Their plan: record a solid album and perform it live. The next step is writing songs as a group for a full-length album.

“When we first got together, we were rehearsing three or four times a week,” Daniello says with a laugh. “That kind of tapered off. It’s a cyclic process, but we all hang out. We’re all friends.”

But the Broomstars are only just getting started. While LeBleu jokes that they can count the gigs they’ve played on one hand, they’re hoping for Grey Eagle and Orange Peel slots in the future—a future that looks as bright as the Broomstars’ namesake.

The moniker refers to a Hale-Bopp type of comet spotted by an ancient Chinese dynasty—an omen of sorts.

Jones, ever the realist, says with a shrug, “Some people think we’re janitors.”


who: The Broomstars with the If You Wannas and Between the Seams
what: Rising local indie rockers put on a Hallow’s Eve bash (one night early)
where: Joli Rouge
when: Tuesday, Oct. 30

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About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts section editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. Alli is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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