Relatively famous: Chart-topping Canadian rockers visit The Grey Eagle

Chances are, you’ve never heard of Sam Roberts. But that’s because, chances are, you’re not Canadian.

If you were, catching him at a club like The Grey Eagle would be a big deal. Roberts remains an unfamiliar name in the states, but our neighbors to the north are a step ahead on this one. Since independently releasing Brother Down in 2000, the Quebec-born singer/songwriter has earned a spot in the upper echelon of Canadian rock stardom, garnering six Juno awards (the Canadian equivalent of a Grammy), a slew of gold- and platinum-selling albums, a contract with Universal Records and a host of chart-topping singles.

For whatever reason, mass appeal has alluded Roberts outside his home country, but that doesn’t stop the singer from making frequent appearances at U.S. festivals. I was first introduced to him in 2006 at the Austin City Limits Music Festival and instantly blown away by the band’s energy and ease onstage. Over the years, I’ve run into Roberts a number of times and have yet to be disappointed by his straightforward rock sensibilities and guitar-centric arrangements. There’s a palpable charm and charisma to the shows, and why he hasn’t made a bigger impact on the American music scene remains a mystery to anyone who’s seen him live.

Tonight, the band stops in Asheville to support its fifth release, this year’s Collider. Non-festival U.S. dates are rare, especially in the Southeast. So embrace your inner Canuck, brave the cold and snow, and discover what Canada has known for a decade: Sam Roberts rocks.

9 p.m. $12.


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