VIDEO PREMIERE: ‘Asheville’ by Hannah Kaminer

DOWNTOWN DELIGHTS: From left, Olivia Springer, Hannah Kaminer and Jackson Grimm busk in the video for Kaminer's song "Asheville." Photo by David Gwaltney

Hannah Kaminer wasn’t going to film the video for her song “Asheville” in anywhere but the city itself. Precisely where within her longtime home was more up for debate, but the locations referenced in the song — the opening track of her new album Heavy on the Vine (released Jan. 5) — gave her some strong guidance.

“My vision for this video was to capture some of the magic of the Asheville I grew up with,” Kaminer says. “I remember going to Pack Library and Beanstreets as a kid and seeing the most remarkable people downtown. People weren’t afraid to be themselves and be weird. It was incredibly non-conformist, a bit gritty and a beautiful mosaic of people.”

The city feeling significantly different today is at the heart of the song, as is the sense that residents don’t always realize what they’re losing, despite certain voices speaking their concerns for a long time. In turn, she asked director David Gwaltney to try and capture downtown’s old Art Deco architecture as well as the buskers that have stuck around — a journey that led them to Woolworth Walk.

“I love Woolworth’s and have often seen buskers there, so it felt like a natural location. David came up with that location — he had a lot of ideas for capturing the feel of the city,” Kaminer says. “I also wanted a nod to the old Beanstreets [now Green Sage Cafe], and the leafy muraled streets and alleys near Lexington Avenue. I remember Lexington being super grungy and cool, and it’s hard to even explain that now.”

On a Sunday morning in late August 2023, Kaminer and two of her Hannah & The Wistfuls bandmates — Jackson Grimm (banjo/vocals) and Olivia Springer (vocals/violin) — played “Asheville” six or seven times outside the iconic building while Gwaltney filmed.

“I think a lot of people thought we were real buskers, so they put money in my guitar case,” Kaminer says. “It was really fun just to play the song with friends and enjoy the moment with them.”

Additional footage finds Kaminer walking around town with her Wistfuls drummer Ross Montsinger, as well as shots of musician friends Chris “Old Sap” Kammerer playing in front of the Flat Iron Sculpture and Andrew Scotchie shredding solo guitar outside The Orange Peel. While both artists answered Kaminer’s call to participate in the video, busker Dusty Buckets and street poet Catalina Rose Otero were serendipitous discoveries founds while she, Gwaltney and Montsinger traversed the Asheville streets.

Rounding out the imagery are some stunning drone shots courtesy of Gwaltney. At first, Kaminer thought the shots were almost too beautiful and clashed with the grungy, scrappy tone she was after. But she soon came to see them in a different light.

“They capture how precious this landscape is, and that we are small parts of it,” she says. “We’re all in it together now. Our decisions affect the river and the mountains, even though they will far outlast us.”


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About Edwin Arnaudin
Edwin Arnaudin is a staff writer for Mountain Xpress. He also reviews films for and is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA) and North Carolina Film Critics Association (NCFCA). Follow me @EdwinArnaudin

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