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October 24, 2014

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Asheville Music Scene

From Bluegrass to Newgrass to Nograss

A progressive and collaborative arts community, Asheville's modern music scene melds old and new with surprising ease. Music permeates the city from the street musicians who serenade you downtown, to multi-generation bluegrass jam sessions, to a rock club (Orange Peel Social Aid and Pleasure Club) named one of the best in the country by Rolling Stone.

Today, Asheville's music scene is all encompassing. Traditional mountain music still rings out from national artists such as David Holt and Laura Boosinger who live in the area. Classical music from the Asheville Symphony Orchestra fills the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium throughout the year.

These Hills are Alive with the Sound of Appalachian Music

The instruments needed for distinct mountain sound have old world origins. The banjo hails from Africa and the fiddle has European roots. However, the only native instrument to the mountain region, is the Appalachian dulcimer. This instrument is considered to be one of the easiest to learn due to its small string count and simplified fret system. Want to find one for yourself? Visit the Grove Arcade in downtown Asheville where the Woodrow stringed instruments are sold. If you travel to Black Mountain visit Song of the Wood to see a wide collection of mountain dulcimers for sale.

Roots & Trails: New Guidebook!

Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina

Mountain music traditions are alive and well in the Blue Ridge and a new travel guidebook, Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina, offers an epic tour to the public settings where folk music and dance still thrive. Mountain musicians are as laid-back and welcoming as they come, so when heading out to find some Asheville music, bring your dancing shoes and banjo and play on in…

Musical Road Tripping

A CD Guidebook for the Ears

Listen while you explore. Many of the region's historic musicians are featured on a 20-track companion CD for the newly released Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina. Imagine driving along the famed Blue Ridge Parkway with sweeping mountain views—nothing could be more fitting than a soundtrack of authentic Asheville music with that distinct Appalachian flavor.

Songs from this “guidebook for the ears” include “Swannanoa Tunnel,” “Frankie Silver's Confession,” and “Tom Dooley” and are based on actual events that took place in the region. The rich storybook of folk songs features raw, field recordings made in musicians' homes as well as professionally recorded tracks.

Top 8 Toe-Tappin' Adventures in Asheville

  1. Shindig Under the Stars - Bring your lawn chair (and an instrument, if you play one) for a free evening of traditional Southern Appalachian music, jam sessions and folk dancing at Shindig on the Green, Saturday nights under the stars from June through August in Pack Square Park. This is one of the most popular Asheville festivals of the year.
  2. Pick 'n Pie – Learn the secrets of mountain kitchens and mountain music in the same evening! Native Ground Music and Log Cabin Cooking partner to share their deep knowledge of Appalachian arts in beginners' classes in a charming farmhouse setting.
  3. Old Time Jam Session – Appalachian and Celtic music legacies are honored at the informal weekly jam sessions at Jack of the Wood. Rub elbows, and instruments, with Asheville bands and the locals while you enjoy a fresh, hand-crafted pint from Green Man and some time-traveling acoustic tunes.
  4. The Nation's Longest Running Folk Festival – Since 1928, mountain fiddlers, banjo pickers, dulcimer sweepers, dancers, balladeers and others have come to enjoy themselves "along about sundown" the first weekend in August at the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival.
  5. Bluegrass Buskers – Nowhere is the music culture and bluegrass influence more accessible than on the streets of Asheville. When the weather is nice, nearly every downtown corner offers a spontaneous stage. Head to Pack Square or the iconic Flat Iron statue along the Urban Trail for bands like 13 Strings and a Two Dollar Bill, Flat Creek Trio and The Leather Britches.
  6. Asheville Music Hall Haunts – From intimate listening rooms to large music halls ideal for dancing, Asheville area music venues run the gamut: Grey Eagle, White Horse Black Mountain, Isis Music Hall and The Orange Peel offer variety in their line-ups, but bluegrass and roots can always be found if you watch the schedules. Tip: Asheville's breweries are also musically inclined. Pisgah, Highland, Wedge and French Broad Brewing all offer live music with craft beer cool.
  7. Asheville Drum Circle
  8. Contra and Square Dance – Pack a skirt that twirls! European and American folk dance is seeing a revival, and nowhere is that more clear than in the mountains of Western NC. At Grey Eagle, Warren Wilson or White Horse Black Mountain, the locals will take you in their arms, quite literally, and show you the steps.
  9. Asheville Drum Circle – You might hear a fiddle or banjo thrown in the mix, but the instrument of choice for this 10+ year Asheville music tradition is the drum. Follow the pounding rhythm downtown to a dance party under the stars. You can't help but move your feet.

A Thriving Music Scene

Miike Snow and Petter Winnberg on stage at Moogfest 2012

The sounds of the modern era also thrive in Asheville. Bob Moog, the inventor of the Moog synthesizer and pioneer of electronic music, spent his final years in Asheville and set up a company here that continues his musical vision.

Alternative rockers The Smashing Pumpkins made Asheville their temporary home with a nine-show residency in 2007 at the Orange Peel. And well-known artists such as Gladys Knight, Warren Haynes and David Wilcox have made Asheville their newfound home and drawn inspiration from the area.


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Upcoming Events

Celtober at Highland Brewing Company

A celebration of the best in Celtic Tribal / Rock / Pop / Traditional / Fusion, featuring three of the most exciting bands on the Celtic festival circuit today: Albannach, Rathkeltair and The Screaming Orphans. Vendors of handcrafted and imported Irish/Scottish goods, award-winning regional barbecue and fresh local-brewed beer.

Lake Street Dive

Lake Street Dive find themselves on the cusp of stardom, though they insist they will always be the same people whose stage outfits once consisted of matching sweater vests. “We realize this could all go away tomorrow,” says Rachael Price. “But that won’t change what we do. We want to continue to do this for a long, long time. This is what we love. We just want to make sure we keep enjoying ourselves.” Lake Street Dive have been performing for nearly a decade after ...

TV Star of Jackass, Steve O, to Perform in Asheville

  • October 26, 2014
  • Address: 66 Asheland Avenue, Asheville, NC 28801
  • Venue:  The Millroom

Steve-O has become a household name, best known for his stunt-work on JACKASS, the TV show and movies. It all started when he snatched his dad's video camera. Later he enrolled in Clown College to become a professional stuntman. Steve-O’s videos made it into the hands of Jeff Tremaine and Johnny Knoxville, creators of JACKASS. In 2001, Steve-O launched his own "Steve-O Don’t Try This At Home Tour" and in 2009 competed on DANCING WITH THE STARS. He lasted 6 weeks, despite an...

K.Flay

  • October 27, 2014
  • Address: 66 Asheland Avenue, Asheville, NC 28801
  • Venue:  The Millroom

The path to self-discovery is often littered with obstacles – a journey one must make on his or her own terms. This was no different for K.Flay, who found her sound only after climbing over more than a handful of roadblocks. The indie hip-hop musician, born Kristine Flaherty, had released two mix tapes and three EPs, but was trapped on the roster of a major label that wouldn’t commit to an album. So at the end of 2013, Flay unhooked herself from the label and began writing songs for ...

First Aid Kit

“Nothing gold can stay.” So says Robert Frost, at once encompassing everything from man’s fall from innocence and the fleeting nature of beauty to lost love and ultimately death. It was that line that caught Klara Söderberg, who along with her sister Johanna makes up Swedish duo First Aid Kit, and stopped her in her tracks. “I started writing the first verse of the song ‘Stay Gold’ and I was kind of stuck,” says Klara. “I had this collection o...

The Ragbirds

Treat yourself to: World-beat/Americana Led by dynamic, energetic front woman and multi-instrumentalist Erin Zindle, The Ragbirds utilize an arsenal of instruments from around the world. The Ragbirds are a fusion of folk rock and pop hooks over danceable world rhythms stirred with a Celtic fiddler’s bow. Surrounding Zindle’s earthy-sweet voice is the whirlwind of guitarist T.J. Zindle and dynamic bassist Dan Jones, spinning over the world-beat grooves of drummer Jon Brown and percuss...

Beats Antique Creature Carnival Tour

Beats Antique’s Creature Carnival is coming to US Cellular on October 30th! Coming along are Shpongle (Simon Posford DJ Set), Emancipator, and MC LAFA Taylor to bring an unpredictable and otherworldly live music experience like no other.

Bombassic: A Beats Antique After Party

New Mountain Asheville Presents: Bombassic, A Beats Antique After party! Thursday, October 30th, 2014 Bombassic BomBassic is the musical collaboration of Brucey B and Cpt. HyperDrive focused on creating sound full of emotion and energy. Raised on the raw sound of NY hip-hop, and groomed in Asheville’s eclectic electronic music scene, they exhibit a wide range of influences. From funk, classical, jazz to glitch-hop, house, and future bass, every resonating genre is explored. With Brucey B ...

Live Music Thursday with TLQ +2

Terry Lynn's soulful, honest, sometimes gut-wrenching vocals are reminiscent of Linda Ronstadt meets Bonnie Raitt with a little bit of country mixed in.

The Bug + Manga Official After Party for Beats Antique Creature Carnival Tour

The Bug : Main mutation of producer Kevin Martin who over the years has been, and is also currently, known as… King Midas Sound, Techno Animal/Ice/God (with Justin Broadrick ofGodflesh/Jesu), Razor X Productions (with The Rootsman & various M.C’s), Pressure, Ladybug, the man behind Pathological Records, compiler of various compilations for Virgin Records (Macro Dub Infection, Jazz Satellites), production work/collaborations with noise-jazz outfit 16-17, Pete “Sonic Boom&rd...

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