Influential eight: Xpress spotlights Asheville’s hidden heroes

/ Issue

Cover Design Credit:

Scott Southwick
Xpress set out to find some of the lesser-known folks who are quietly doing important work in the Asheville area. Out of a total of 41 nominations, our editorial team narrowed that number down to eight, whose profiles we share in this issue.


  • British arena rockers The Struts play Asheville

    -by Bill Kopp
    The group's big sound invites comparisons to 1970s megastars like Queen. And two tracks were written and produced by American artist Gregg Alexander.
  • The Big Crafty expands into a new event space

    -by Emily Glaser
    With live music, local food vendors and trademark “Craffle Giveaways,” it’s part party, part marketplace and part reunion. The winter iteration takes place on Sunday, Dec. 4, at the US…
  • Smart bets: Fruit Bats

    -by Alli Marshall
    The band, led by singer-songwriter Eric D. Johnson, returns to The Mothlight on Sunday, Dec. 4.
  • Smart bets: Sierra Hull

    -by Emily Glaser
    Brevard listening room 185 King Street hosts an intimate evening with the bluegrass virtuoso on Saturday, Dec. 3.
  • New holiday play shares local stories and songs

    -by Alli Marshall
    For the show, Tom Godleski penned a pair of holiday songs, as well — something he says he’s always wanted to do. A two-song CD with those new tracks will…
  • Smart bets: The Nutcracker and the Mouse King

    -by Emily Glaser
    The fifth annual performance of the darkly surreal ballet will take place at Diana Wortham Theatre on Friday, Dec. 2, and Saturday, Dec. 3.
  • Smart bets: David Dondero

    -by Emily Glaser
    Local rockers Minorcan will open for Dondero at The Altamont Theatre on Thursday, Dec. 1.



  • The art of forest ‘bathing’ comes to WNC

    -by Nicki Glasser
    The Japanese art of shinrin-yoku, or forest "bathing," has come to WNC. Forest guides help people experience the woods in an intentional manner, while the forest itself acts as therapist…


  • WNC battles flames, considers fires’ effects

    -by Thomas Calder
    Whether triggered by climate change or normal variability in cycles of temperature and drought, recent wildfires have been some of the most extensive in living memory. With tens of thousands…
  • Conscious party: Mama Maisha fights maternal mortality

    -by Kat McReynolds
    Asheville-based nonprofit Mama Maisha, which promotes family planning, healthy pregnancies and safe deliveries in Tanzania, is holding its next benefit at Lexington Avenue Brewery on Friday, Dec. 2. Emma's Lounge…