If you haven’t heard Maradeen, it’s about time. Having toured with The Revivalists, Earphunk, and Moon Taxi, among others, they’ve been making waves and gaining fans across the Southeast. The Southern-jam quintet from Nashville is excited to be in town this Friday sharing the stage at Asheville Music Hall with our city’s own, Travers Brothership.

“It just always seems like one of those cities,” drummer John Rodrigue tells me, “where people are really into things that are homegrown and organic,” and after a brief pause adding, “of course, I’m talking about music here.”  He and I chuckle for a minute and he continues, “It really feels like a very embracing community.”

“Also,” keyboardist Kaitlyn Connor adds, “I have really wanted to play the Music Hall for a long time.”

“Yeah,” Rodrigue says, “Asheville Music Hall is the kind of place that you can tell means business just by the name.”

This is a band that knows a little something about venues that mean business. Less than two weeks ago, after being hand-selected by Bon Jovi himself, they opened for him at Philips Arena in Atlanta.

“First of all,” Connor explains, “the moments leading up to us going on stage were just as special as the 20 minutes on stage.”

“The whole staff made us feel really comfortable,” adds John, too impatient to wait. “You could sense the camaraderie and that everyone was just working their hardest to make sure the show went well.”

“I got really anxious,” Connor continues. “Then about 15 minutes before we were scheduled to go on I got to set up my keyboard. The house lights were on and you could see all of the people and immediately all of my nervousness went away. It was so special to me, especially being from Atlanta myself.”

It was in Nashville that Connor and guitarist Whit Murray came together to form Maradeen. Both of them were at crossroads in their careers and the timing just seemed right.

“When Whit left Mama’s Love he went to Berklee and then moved back to Nashville right as Afro (Connor’s former band) broke up. We hadn’t talked in three years but we had coffee and he was like, ‘Do you wanna start a band?’ I was so depressed. It was perfect.”

They added bassist Sterling Miller and then, after going through eight separate percussionists, found Rodrigue to be their lucky number nine. After playing as a four-piece for a while, they brought on another former member of Mama’s Love, Thomas Galloway.

It was a natural fit from day one and Galloway gave Murray a creative cohort for songwriting. With the full band they hit the road. After releasing their second album last year (produced by Wes Bailey of Moon Taxi), and wowing increasingly larger crowds with their powerful yet intimate live performances, they appear to be on the fast-track to success.

The rest is, as they say, history in the making.

Maradeen plays with Travers Brothership on Friday, February 24th.  Tickets are $7 in advance and $D.O.S.

Caleb Calhoun studied writing at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and music at a plethora of clubs and bars across the southeast. He is the author and publisher of Rosman City Blues and currently resides outside of Asheville with his dog and best friend, Dr. Gonzo.

You can reach him at Caleb.calhoun@gmail.com and/or Facebook.com/GonzoNC.

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