Jam in the Trees, Pisgah Brewing Company, Friday and Saturday Night

Asheville’s premier annual bluegrass event returns to Pisgah Brewing Company, this year with Travelin’ McCourys and Jerry Douglas headlining Jam in the Trees. For our purposes though, it is the undercard that I want to talk to you about.

Now I know what you are thinking, “he is going to talk about Jane Kramer playing on the indoor stage Friday night at 8 p.m.”

But that is not in fact what I am going to talk about. I want to talk to you about this local Colorado-style grass band named Fireside Collective who is playing that same stage a couple hours later.

You see, this is the perfect set-up for these guys. They really are a live band, and their grass is driving and powerful, mimicking the heavy rain and not the bubbling brook. They are the perfect late night bluegrass. Mandolinist Jesse Iaquinto explains why.

“From start to finish, we try to do something that keeps you on your feet and keeps you grooving and entertained. We really like to get into it and put it all out there, switching between soloists and vocalists and playing fun covers and everything flowing into one danceable energetic set. We are big fans of The Grateful Dead, of Phish and how they play live and keep people engaged.”

Having seen them play, I can’t argue. Honestly, for late night sets, I can’t think of many bluegrass bands better suited. Horseshoes and Hand Grenades come to mind. The Little Smokies. Greensky. That’s some good company to be named in.

“We have two guys that go to school in Johnson City,” Iaquinto tells me, “so during the school year we are weekend warriors, but the summer is full-time, non-stop.”

With stops at festivals and venues all over the East Coast, they’ve been building a fan base and perfecting their live sound. Still, it’s nice to come home.

“Pisgah is great they have a reputation for putting on quality concerts, you know?” Iaquinto expounds. “The sound is always good there and the whole crew seems invested on maintaining that high quality. Some breweries you go to have music, but its like a background thing, whereas Pisgah puts it front and center.”

And beyond that, they have great beer. Iaquinto prefers the Pale Ale, and as an almost honorary local (the going rate being 10 years uninterrupted living in Asheville) his opinion counts double.

“I been rocking the Pisgah Pale ever since I moved to Asheville nine years ago and it is still one of the best.”

So why not go enjoy some great beer and groove the night away to some outside-the-box grass. And shit, while you are at it, you may as well go ahead and buy tickets for the whole weekend, cause after hearing everyone cover Jerry Douglas and the McCourys, you may as well hear them play their songs themselves.

Check the schedule here!

Blake, Woods, Armitage Free Isis (the goddess not the organization) Lawn Series Saturday

The Isis Music Hall’s lawn series, which has grown into quite the standard West Asheville event over the last few months, is back this week with a couple heaters. Friday night Ashley Heath will be playing and Saturday is a trio featuring Josh Blake (Tuesday Night Funk Jam, Granola Funk Express), Patrick Armitage (formerly of JS3, now playing with Dirty Logic among others) and, since I can’t find any information about it anywhere online, I can only assume it to be Tiger Woods rounding out the trio (winner of 13 masters).

I’m not sure what instrument Tiger plays, but I know that Blake will be playing his custom guitar while Armitage bangs the drums, and that is really all I need to know. They play early, 6:30, so if you happen to be cruising out west you should stop by. Even if you aren’t it may be worth the trip.

Hoot and Holler, Moe’s Woodfin, Friday Night

While Kramer, Fireside Collective, and Gangstagrass rock Pisgah Friday night, local old-time band Hoot and Holler will be putting on the best show to see in North Asheville. Fresh off taking third for traditional band at the Appalachian String Band Festival, H-squared is on fire and ready to preach their old-time religion, errr, I mean music, to the good folks of Woodfin.

Of course, it wasn’t just their band that took some honors up at Clifftop – half of their band (they are a duo), Amy Alvey took second place in the fiddle competition against literally hundreds of competitors.

While not original to Asheville, these are some of the talented folks that have moved here to be a part of this thriving scene, and have chosen to make it their home. They would love for you to come out to this low key, personal show, introduce yourself, and become their friend. They would also love to help you understand why they are on a quest to “make bluegrass old-time again.”

Crosstown Traffic

Friday at 9PM Lyric is at 5 Walnut, a great opportunity to catch this local rock star in an intimate setting, while Chuck Lichtenberger is at Noble Kava at the same time.

Over at Asheville Music Hall, Noah Proudfoot and the Botanicals will be releasing an album with support from Hustle Souls.

Ian Ridenhour plays Saturday night at White Horse Black Mountain at 8pm, and earlier in the evening Lo Wolf is featured at the Ambrose West courtyard series.

Friday Circus Mutt is at Foggy Mountain Brew Pup, err, I mean Pub and Saturday DJ Honey is at La Zoom room, both at 10pm.

Caleb Calhoun is an author who hates hyperlinking text. He also lives in Asheville and listens to music. You can reach him at caleb.calhoun@gmail.com.

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