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Blues for the 21st Century: Jarekus Singleton 

I enjoyed Jarekus Singleton's life story almost as much as his music before meeting him at WNCW recently. Once we sat down and talked about how he came to make his unique brand of blues music after overcoming obstacles that would have discouraged most anyone else, I was even more impressed with him as a person. He's also a lot of fun to be around.  Jarekus and Joe at WNCW studios



Check out our time together on air in the podcast here, and find out more about Jarekus on his website


Catching Up With Floating Action + Transfigurations II Preview

Asheville NC's Seth Kauffman and Evan Martin visited WNCW last week for a live performance as Floating Action prepared to play its CD release show at the Grey Eagle in support of their New West debut album, Body Questions. I had the pleasure of welcoming Mark Capon and Matt Schnable of Harvest Records to the studio recently as well, as they played guest DJs and talked about their upcoming 10th anniversary festival, Transfigurations II.

Download the sessions with Floating Action here and with Mark and Matt here. Enjoy!



Getting To Know River Whyless and Treetop Flyers

My live music outings are fewer and farther between these days, but when I do make my way to a show I like to get as much music in as possible. This June I managed to pack in a night with three bands, emceeing two of them at RiverFest (locals River Whyless and Brit-band Treetop Flyers) before zipping over to catch most of Balsam Range's CD release show.

When I arrived at RiverFest it was pouring rain and the evening looked like it the outdoor event might be in jeopardy, however the worst of it was already over, and all we had to contend with from then on was an occasional sprinkle. There were plenty of large puddles left over which made trekking across the grounds require a bit of forethought, unless you were one of the many children who took full advantage of them by splashing and dancing their way through all night.

I had heard of River Whyless but was largely unfamiliar with their music, and their set was a real treat. The four piece has strong elements of folk and pop which are augmented by tight, inventive harmonies. They closed their set by going off stage into the crowd for an acoustic finale.

In a small-world moment, I ran across Ben Lovett in the crowd. We had last seen each other at Echo Mountain when Ben was in this episode of What It Is. I asked what brought him to the show, and he replied that he was there to see one of the members of the band, singer and fiddler Halli Anderson. After her set with River Whyless was done, I found out that Halli had first heard Treetop Flyers on my radio show at WNCW; it was like a little circle in the universe was made complete.

Treetop Flyers were playing Asheville for the first time. Their first LP has been a huge hit, and I got to talk with drummer Tomer Danan before their performance. Tomer is the lone Yank in the group, although now he has dual citizenship in the UK, having married an English bride. Tomer can live anywhere from America to England and the rest of the European Union, depending on his mood. He described how the raging soul and groove scene in London has influenced their next record, which is self-produced. Instead of the distinct Americana influence that you hear on The Mountain Moves, which was recorded in Malibu, their new material will have more in common with rhythm and blues. And indeed, a pronounced Muscle Shoals vibe rang out from the solar powered stage for much of the night.

I'm looking forward to hearing more from both of these bands, and wholeheartedly recommend experiencing the free RiverFest series. -Joe


Music Marketing Workshop 7/10

I'm excited to work with Nashville consultant and author Rick Barker on a one-day workshop at Moonlight Mile studio in Arden, NC on Thursday, July 10th.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Rick last summer for my Lingua Musica series and was quite impressed with his abilities and his character. Since then, I've worked with Tony Preston at Moonlight Mile when he opened his full-service audio and video facility early this year, producing seven live performance and interview sessions. I hired Rick to look over our work and give me advice on the series, and he enjoyed the videos so much that he booked the studio for filming his Music Industry Blueprint series, and is now coming to western NC for a day-long workshop for artists and music professionals.

We would love to see you there on the 10th! Here's the link to more information.


Photos from Moonlight Mile

Most of my live music experiences of late have revolved around my work with the Lingua Musica show, so until I kick back into gear with What It Is shows and posts, here is a photo update of notable performances at Moonlight Mile studio in Arden, NC. Enjoy! Hank West & the Smokin' Hots play the Lingua Musica show 3-8-14

And get ready for Danny Barnes coming up on 3/22! Danny Barnes, banjo man extraordinaire