Taking Action: Live on Linden Avenue

STEP OUTSIDE: Brushfire Stankgrass performs on the front porch of drummer Micah Thomas, far right. The group launched Live on Linden in 2020 amid COVID-19. Also pictured, from left, are Ben Saylor, Danny Iannucci, James Schlender, Ben Colvin and Caleb McMahon. Not pictured is bandmate Will Saylor. Photo courtesy of Thornwell May

Following a winter hiatus, Live on Linden Avenue, a weekly porch concert series, resumed this month with a three-hour set from local band Brushfire Stankgrass. The series originally debuted last year as a Mother’s Day event but quickly grew into a regular happening for a community deprived of art and culture during COVID-19.

“We started the porch shows to give back to the neighborhood,” says Micah Thomas, the band’s drummer and concert host.

“We’re just using the gifts we have to bring people joy in the community,” Thomas continues. “During the pandemic, these shows were our saving grace, and the neighborhood loved it. They literally begged us, ‘Please keep playing your shows!’”

Linden Avenue, a neighborhood in North Asheville, has its own musical history. Legendary guitarist Warren Haynes of the Allman Brothers and Gov’t Mule grew up in the house right across the street from where Thomas lives.

As with all aspects of life, COVID-19 has forced musicians to reimagine how their work is shared. “The game has changed,” says Ben Saylor, Brushfire Stankgrass’ singer and banjo player. “And hopefully in a positive direction, around a more open format, like pop-up outdoor shows. … It’s nice to have that one-on-one connection with fans.”

Live on Linden will continue through the fall with a heady lineup of local musicians, providing North Asheville residents live music outdoors every Sunday, 3-6 p.m. To learn more, follow @MicahLeighwoodThomas on Instagram.


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