It’s still winter. This is still a recession. And, even if you’ve only got five bucks, there’s still more music happening on a given weekend in Asheville then you could possibly take in—even with the help of a serious caffeine buzz. This week’s roundup covers the bargain-priced shows around town (and farther afield) as well as turning up some under-the-radar offerings.
Casey Williams (pictured) writes the kind of songs that threaten the Train and Edwin McCain monopoly on soft-rock love songs (like you don’t know all the words to “Drops of Jupiter”)—he’ll be performing his smoothly-addictive tunes this weekend at Fred’s Speakeasy. Natalie Joy brings quirky folk from Philly to a benefit, held at Downtown Books & News. And that’s just the tip of the musical iceberg.
Friday, Feb. 6
• Guitarist Joe Hallock of Americana band Southern Exposure (with the motto “Renewable Music Thru Acoustic Energy”) plays Picnic’s (371 Merrimon Ave, Asheville) at 6 p.m. The show is free; spend your money on pie.
• Rockers Wooden Toothe play a free happy hour show at Pisgah Brewery (150 Eastside Drive, Black Mountain). 6:30 p.m.
• Cabo Verde heats up Zambra (85 Walnut Street, Asheville) with Latin-favored world groove, starting at 8 p.m. Free.
• The Orange Peel (101 Biltmore Ave., Asheville) hosts a local showcase with Wilsin, The Cashmere Blackout and Peace Jones. The all ages show starts at 9 p.m., $5 gets you in the door.
• King Tut brings electronica to the Rocket Club (401 Haywood Rd., West Asheville). Vertigo Jazz Project, Eymarel, and East Coast Dirt also play the 9 p.m. show. $5.
• Ol’Hoopty stops by Mo Daddy’s (77-B Biltmore Ave., Asheville) at 9:30. Cover is $5.
• Acoustic bluegrass artists Brittany Reilly and Billy Gilmore (whose Myspace quote is, charmingly, “Let’s pick, bitches!”) perform for free at Tolliver’s Crossing (773 Haywood Rd., Asheville). 10 p.m.
• Post-punk performer Meghan Sara Mulhern (a.k.a., apparently, Megatronic “Shorty Luv” Mulhearn) takes the stage with her band, Quetzalcoatl, at the Boiler Room (11 Grove St., Asheville). 10 p.m., $3.
• Rounding out the evening 10:30 p.m., Buffalo (from West Asheville, not upstate New York) introduces Fred’s Speakeasy (122 College St., Asheville) to “rowdy Americana.” Cover is $3.
Saturday, Feb. 7
• Richie Valentine plays Catawba Vale Cafe (32 East Main Street, Old Fort) at high noon. The show is free. It’s worth noting that, as his name suggests, he’s a week early… Valentine will be playing the same place at the same time on his namesake holiday. Sweet.
• Bearded troubadour Bob Burnett takes the 6 p.m. slot at the French Broad Brewery (101 Fairview Rd., Asheville). Free (as are the beer-accompanying pretzels).
• Philadelphia-based minimalist folkie Natalie Joy (actually the brainchild and one-man-band of Elliot Harvey) plays a by-donation gig at Downtown Books & News (67 North Lexington Avenue, Asheville) with Alexandria of Tooth Ache and Chelsea of Dirty Fist. The 8 p.m. concert is a benefit for No More Deaths.
• Durham’s Shoot First, who professes to “Committing robberies and inducing comas” will drop by Warren Wilson College’s Sage Cafe (701 Warren Wilson Rd., Swanannoa) for a free 8 p.m. show.
• At 9 p.m., The Honeycutters get busy at the Westville Pub (777 Haywood Rd., West Asheville). $5 at the door.
• Blues rockers Brother Fatback play the College Street Grill (4 College St, Asheville) at 9:30 p.m. Free.
• Singer/songwriter Casey Williams (pictured) brings his impressively polished radio-ready light-rock to Fred’s Speakeasy (122 College St., Asheville) at 10 p.m. It might be worth the $5 simply to witness Fred’s regular crowd react to Williams. Just a hunch, but seeing this guy in a small bar for a small cover probably won’t be possible for long.
—Alli Marshall, A&E reporter