Asheville Music Weekend: Drayton and Friends, Empire Strikes Brass, Indigo De Souza


Drayton Aldridge

Drayton and Friends, Imperial Life, 9pm TONIGHT

“He’s a dreamboat.” – Local dreamboat Brie Capone on Drayton Aldridge

What are you doing Thursday night? Seriously? No plans?

Well let me help with that. There is this guy named Drayton Aldridge, and although he doesn’t really comb his hair, he happens to be a hell of a vocalist and violinist. You may have heard him playing with Sirius B or one of the other 75 bands he consistently sits in with around town.

If not, you are missing a treat. But you don’t have to. Tonight he will be playing with some friends (the band is titled, originally enough, Drayton and Friends) at the Imperial Life, and unless you have something pressing going on, it might be just the place for what ails you.

Not just because Imperial Life has some of the best cocktails and charcuterie boards in town (although they do), but because what is better than listening to some swinging jazz and dirty, old-school, crooner country music while sipping something blue and refreshing from a glass that costs more than your shirt?

Born in 1894 to a pair of shamans living in middle Romania, Drayton’s music sounds like exactly what you would expect from an ageless, Bohemian wonder, and he has the shirts to match. Part Willie Nelson, part Bing Crosby, and a large part uniquely himself, he is an entertainer through and through, ready not just to set his fiddle on fire but to keep the audiences attention throughout.

Earlier, sitting at the 27 Club during one of Jessica Tomasin‘s Asheville Music Professionals mixers, Brie Capone had elaborated.

“I once watched him climb up onto a stool while playing fiddle and jump from stool to stool as if he were a skeleton or a creature capable of things most others aren’t.”

“I do like to climb on things,” Drayton had responde. “Bars, tables, pianos. I often jump off of them.”

Which happens to be the reason that one of his pinkie toes resembles something from an Adam Sandler movie. Not that you can see that through his dusty, wing-tipped cowboy boots.

I have been all but assured that the music will be played through a state-of-the-art sound system, which Drayton bought used for less than $50,000 but for more than $124, and that the bassist definitely knows these songs.

Not that it matters, I’ve seen Aldridge play in houses, bars, and even acoustic in the middle of a tent when the sound on stage wasn’t working, and it doesn’t take any kind of fancy gimmicks or wizard-like sound technician work to make his fiddle sound good.

Aldridge’s violin speaks for itself, and it’s worth taking a listen to.

Empire Strikes Brass at The Salvage Station Saturday Night

One of my favorite Asheville bands, Empire Strikes Brass, will be at it again Saturday night at The Salvage Station. Fronted by Debrissa McKinney this seven-piece, heavy duty horn ensemble brings an edge to traditional second line sound.

Their live performances include a mixture of timely covers and a heavy dose of their own music. Ranging at times from funk to street to folk (think “Boxcar in the Sky”) their varied sound and impressive musicianship holds the audience from start to finish.

Their shows are high energy and driven – powerful affairs that carry the audience through a full-range of emotions and often force the fans to look inward throughout – while still filling the building with love, acceptance, and hope.

Playing here at home it’s a safe bet that there will be some sit-in’s from other local musicians, and while all of their shows feel like a bit of a party (there’s that second line influence), a hometown show at the Salvage Station should be pretty darn close to Mardi Gras east.

So bring some beads if you want, or just bring yourself, but definitely wear your dancing shoes because this isn’t the kind of band you can righteously watch from a table in the back.

Indigo De Souza’s Album Release Show, The Mothlight, Saturday

First gaining a reputation as one of the best up-and-coming song writers in town, Indigo De Souza recently followed up her debut release with a powerful duo EP called “Don’t Cry, Just Do.” In so doing, she has furthered her musical evolution.

With a solid debut album, “I Love You Mom,” and an organic and knowledgeable fan base this project, like everything else De Souza does, seems to be pure gold. It should be a solid crowd at The Mothlight, and the perfect music for that space. If you are looking for something a little more indie and down to earth, this would be a good show to spend your hard-earned dollars on.

Caleb Calhoun is an author, journalist, and poet who lives in Asheville for the sole purpose of pissing off everyone who moved here before him. He likes wearing dresses, using Oxford Commas, and reading Wendell Berry. He lives on South Slope with his mermaid Dr. Gonzo but is looking for a place July 1st so if you know anyone…