Conscious party: Mavis Staples headlines MountainTrue benefit

MELODIC MEANING: MountainTrue's Hartwell Carson says Mavis Staples felt like a great fit for a benefit concert, considering her well-loved voice and longtime support of social justice. "Even though we do environmental issues, there is a lot of overlap," he says. Photo courtesy of the artist

WHAT: A benefit concert featuring Mavis Staples and Lyric

WHERE: The Orange Peel

WHEN: Sunday, Nov. 13, at 7:30 p.m. (VIP pre-party at 5 p.m.)

WHY: “When you start Googling around, you realize what a legend [Mavis Staples] really is,” says MountainTrue’s French Broad Riverkeeper Hartwell Carson.

The civil rights-era songstress’ recent accomplishments include releasing album Livin’ On a High Note, winning a second Grammy Award and touring as the opener for Bob Dylan (who once proposed marriage to Staples and has a duet song with her planned for 2017, according to Rolling Stone). Earlier this year, Staples was named a Kennedy Center honoree.

Opening the iconic vocalist’s Asheville performance is local act Lyric, who is also scheduled to play an intimate acoustic set for VIP ticketholders downstairs before the main show.

“It’s a fundraiser for the French Broad Riverkeeper program,” Carson explains, and proceeds will specifically help expand the nonprofit’s presence on swimguide.org. MountainTrue currently takes water samples at 23 sites throughout the French Broad Watershed, monitoring levels of E. coli. and reporting that data on the SwimGuide website. Outdoor adventurers use the information to decide whether to recreate at certain locations, and MountainTrue can sometimes use it to track down sources of pollution or push for additional cleaning in affected locales.

Between sets, attendees will get a rundown of MountainTrue’s various other initiatives, which involve further water quality analysis, transportation education (I-26 ConnectUs Project), land-use strategies, invasive plant management, cleanups, plantings and more. Plus, the nonprofit will raffle off a Dagger kayak donated by French Broad Outfitters.

“It’s a unique opportunity to see a living legend, and you get to support your local river,” Carson says, pointing out that Dylan is scheduled to play Asheville one night before the MountainTrue benefit. With a hopeful laugh, he adds: “We were trying to get some collaboration going, but I don’t know if that will happen or not.”

A limited number of seats are available at this standing show. For more information or tickets ($35-$65), visit theorangepeel.net. VIP tickets include food, beer and admission to the pre-party.

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About Kat McReynolds
Kat studied entrepreneurship and music business at the University of Miami and earned her MBA at Appalachian State University. Follow me @katmAVL

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