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Travel Guide
February 26, 2015

A New Kind of Pet-Friendly VacationThe Aloft hotel's adoptable pets program ... more

February 18, 2015

Beard Foundation Names First Round PicksIf the 2015 list of James Beard ... more

February 06, 2015

Where to Eat in Asheville for Valentine's DayPretty in Pink at MG Road, one ... more

February 05, 2015

75 stores prepare for May openingPhoto courtesy of New England ... 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

Gogol Bordello plus Fly Golden Eagle

“I’ve come full circle and I’m comfortable being a total outsider,” says Gogol Bordello’s Eugene Hutz, explaining the philosophy behind the band’s new album, Pura Vida Conspiracy. Like everything they’ve ever done, this outing is an uncategorizable blend of international influences, anchored by the gypsy rhythms Hutz grew up with in Ukraine. “Most people are looking for a box to put stuff in,” he says. “I try to avoid it. The message of...

The Wilhelm Brothers - Folk Rock with Cello Infusion

  • March 2, 2015
  • Location: The Phoenix
  • Address: 14 S Gaston St, Brevard, NC 28712

The Wilhelm Brothers – Folk Rock with Cello Infusion. There was chemistry and musical sparks flying when The Wilhelm Brothers Chris Wilhelm (guitar/lead vocals) and Cristof Ensslin (cello/vocal harmonies/tamburin) hit off their first note together at a recording session for Trail Of The Lonesome Pine in early 2012. Since then, they have been sharing the same dream: to play for crowds of 10,000 and more. All their energy is focused on this vision, playing over 200 shows per year. Highlights...

Natalie MacMaster & Donnell Leahy

Natalie MacMaster & Donnell Leahy — March 4, 2015 Two of the world’s most celebrated fiddlers, appear together as husband and wife, combining their incredible individual talents in a new show, Visions from Cape Breton and Beyond. Mainstage Music Series, Diana Wortham Theatre. Wednesday, March 4, 2015, 8:00 p.m. Tickets/Info: (828) 257-4530 or www.dwtheatre.com

Sundays With Brevard Music Center

  • March 4, 2015
  • Location: Reuter Center, UNC-Asheville
  • Address: One University Heights, Asheville, NC 28804

The Brevard Music Center in partnership with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) presents its Sundays with Brevard Music Center concert series at a special time this month - on Wednesday, March 4, 2015, at 3:00pm in the Reuter Center on the campus of UNC Asheville. The program will feature Soprello - a musical collaboration between Brevard Music Center artist cello faculty member Alistair MacRae and soprano Allison Pohl. Soprello explores the connections between vibrating strings and th...

Live Music Thursday with Chris Smith

In his debut release Love & War, Carolinabound singer/songwriter Chris Smith brings a fresh, distinctive sound from a old country barroom in a southern ghost town. He conjures up the ghosts of Townes Van Zandt, Gram Parsons, and a number of other sweet but not forgotten spirits.

The FATE Jam Series: All Them Witches

March 5th, 2015 FATE Jam Presents: All Them Witches All Them Witches Onstage at 11PM The rest of the night to be curated by FATE Jam Tickets: $7 FATE Jam draws on the deep musical talent pool in Asheville to provide a weekly expose of high caliber music combined with a philanthropic twist. The jam features a few anchor musicians every week and a featured act. The idea is to create an opportunity for patrons to enjoy a collaborative musical environment so common in Asheville. Also, patrons and mu...

Jeff Sipe Trio

Two-time Grammy nominee Jeff Sipe brings together the incredible virtuosos Mike Seal on guitar and Taylor Lee on bass to form the Jeff Sipe Trio. An alumni of Berklee College of Music, Sipe has established himself as one of the greatest drummers in the United States. He has toured and/or recorded with highly renowned artists such as Bela Fleck, Phil Lesh, Jimmy Herring Band, Trey Anastasio Band, Derek Trucks, Col. Bruce Hampton & the Aquarium Rescue Unit and many others.

The Breakfast Club

The Breakfast Club® is the longest running, most recognized ’80’s tribute band in the United States. Formed in 1993, the group was the first of its kind. The mission was simple: create an entertainment group that embodied the enigmatic, creative, and buoyant spirit of music and live performances of the original MTV generation of the 1980’s. That mission remains today. This is NOT some wig wearing, mall fashion version of an ‘80’s cover band, lip syncing to track...

The Breakfast Club - 80's Cover Band

The Breakfast Club® is the longest running, most recognized ’80’s tribute band in the United States. Formed in 1993, the group was the first of its kind. The mission was simple: create an entertainment group that embodied the enigmatic, creative, and buoyant spirit of music and live performances of the original MTV generation of the 1980’s. That mission remains today. This is NOT some wig wearing, mall fashion version of an ‘80’s cover band, lip syncing to track...

ODESZA plus Little People

In 2012, a striking new voice emerged from the wider surge of electronic music in the U.S. ODESZA’s Summer’s Gone stood out from the crowd; it was a collection of songs, not just beats; and its irresistible, startling dreaminess, addictive drums and fathoms-deep bass set it apart from the by-the-numbers brutality of EDM’s also-rans. In an age of manufactured internet buzz and carefully plotted hype, ODESZA’s story was refreshingly authentic: A brilliant new duo unveiled t...

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