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Travel Guide
March 31, 2015

Museum, Festival Bring History to LifeThe Studies Building at Black ... more

March 30, 2015

Asheville restaurants turn to urban gardensChef Peter Pollay checks on the ... more

March 19, 2015

Mountaintop Retreats Top National ListThe view from one of the Asheville ... more

March 05, 2015

Where to find mountain sounds in the Blue RidgeAsheville, N.C. has a long ... more

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

Grits and Soul

  • April 1, 2015
  • Location: Pisgah Brewing Company
  • Address: 150 Eastside Drive, Black Mountain, NC 28711
  • Venue:  Pisgah Brewing Company

At the heart of Grits & Soul is the collaboration of Southern song crafters, Anna Kline & John Looney. Their sound is steeped in lonesome mountain bluegrass & drenched in Mississippi soul & blues. Whether they perform as an acoustic duo or a full band, the Grits & Soul sound haunts you. Anna & John have a dynamic musical chemistry felt through their heartfelt original songs & intricate harmonies. The release of their first full-length album, Flood Waters, follows on t...

GRiZ plus The Floozies & Artifakts

GRiZ plus The Floozies & Artifakts www.mynameisgriz.com

Recurring Events

Lex 18 Music Performer Bob Strain Playing Romantic Jazz Ballads and Standards

Lex 18 features Bob Strain performing Romantic Jazz Ballads and Standards from 7:00pm – 9:00pm. Bob Strain is a classically trained pianist who specializes in jazz and the American songbook of standards. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in music from Shepherd University, and Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts in piano performance from Shenandoah Conservatory. He has performed extensively in the Washington, DC region, with long-term engagements at venues such as the Willard Intercontin...

Live Jazz with Bob Strain Pianist at Lex 18

7pm - 9pm Bob Strain performing Romantic Jazz Ballads and Standards at Lex 18 About Bob Strain Bob Strain is a classically trained pianist who specializes in jazz and the American songbook of standards. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in music from Shepherd University, and Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts in piano performance from Shenandoah Conservatory. He has performed extensively in the Washington, DC region, with long-term engagements at venues such as the Willard Intercontinental Hot...

Tuesday Bluegrass Sessions

  • March 31, 2015
  • Location: Isis Restaurant and Music Hall
  • Address: 743 Haywood Road, Asheville, NC 28806
  • Venue:  Isis Restaurant and Music Hall
  • Recurrence: Recurring weekly on Tuesday

Every Tuesday evening Isis presents our Tuesday Bluegrass Sessions. The sessions are hosted each week by a local bluegrass musician with friends or a band. Following the host band, Bluegrass musicians from the Asheville area gather on stage to jam in an open session. Occasionally, we feature a touring band that will perform prior to the open session and help co-host the jam. It's always a great evening of music and community. Doors open 5:00 PM - All Ages Show

Lex 18 Live Jazz With Patrick Lopez Modern and Latin Jazz Piano

Musical aficionado Patrick Lopez will be performing Modern and Latin Jazz Piano at Lex 18 from 7:00pm – 9:00pm. Patrick displays tremendous musicality, versatility and the ability to entertain everyone from the casual listener to the most discriminating improvised music aficionados. These qualities have become the trademark of multi-instrumentalist and entertainer Patrick Lopez. With performances that captivate and inspire his audiences, it’s obvious that he knows where music has be...