By Caleb Calhoun
Taylor Martin CD release at Isis Music Hall on Friday
And while this isn’t the first album Martin has released, it is the most local by far. Every musician who plays on this record is from Asheville, and it was produced by one of Asheville’s own superstars, Amanda Anne Platt (of Amanda Anne Platt and the Honeycutters). In fact, in our conversation it’s clear that that local mentality, and especially the presence of Platt as the producer, made this project extra special for him. According to Martin:
“It was really beautiful (working with Platt) because we got a chance to have a really good, feminine kind of energy. It was the first record she produced, outside of The Honeycutters, and she excelled at it. She was so good I can’t wait to make another record with her.
“My name is funny, Taylor Martin, and so I gave her a Gibson guitar cause I am broke all the time. She loves telling people she plays Taylor Martin’s Gibson.”
In fact, even the layout of the album, the way it all fits together, he gave Platt credit for.
“What was very important to me was songs that Amanda (Platt) believed in. She really kind of picked it all out so we did three covers, one by Merle Haggard, one by Bob Dylan, and one by Neil Young, and the rest were mine.”
The album, which was engineered by Robert George at Sound Temple Studios, definitely shows the maturity and depth you would expect from a Platt project being recorded at such a high-level studio.
“I have never been more proud of anything I have ever done in my entire life,” Martin tells me. And there is no reason he shouldn’t be. This album is a success, start to finish. Mixing elements of Americana, outlaw and steel pedal psychedelia with a solid dose of straight-ahead radio country, all layered over impressive song-writing, it really is something to brag about.
In the end though, it is more than just the music that makes this thing special. “This record was made with a lot of love from Asheville local musicians,” Martin gushes. “Asheville is the new Austin in my opinion and I’m glad I got to take a snapshot of it in this time and place.”
Dirty Dead at Sly Grog, Saturday (donation-based show)
Well, well, well. If this doesn’t just combine two of my favorite things about Asheville. The Sly Grog and bad-ass Grateful Dead cover bands.
Coming in a little hotter and heavier than Phuncle Sam or DSO, Dirty Dead is more in the JRAD than the Dead and Co. vein. Led by local badasses Paul De Circe and Sean Mason (The Snozzberries) their blend of muddy Dead covers has been keeping hippies’ hips moving in this town for years, and at a venue as unique as The Sly Grog, I imagine they will be making themselves some new fans.
Sunday Drew Matulich Bluegrass Jam at Bywater (2 p.m.)
Still one of the most chilled out and enjoyable indoor/outdoor venues in the area, The Bywater is the perfect place to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon, especially now that Asheville’s Secret Weapon (as wunderkid Billy Strings refers to him) Drew Matulich is leading a bluegrass jam there.
Matulich is considered one of the premier mandolin players in the country, and counts most of the areas strongest professional musicians among his close friends, meaning there should be no shortage of talent to serenade you as you drink cocktails and hang out by the river.
Also, being one of the only dog-friendly bars in town and with plenty of space to spread out and play for the kiddos, this is something you can bring the whole family to.
Friday and Saturday is LEAF Downtown, the in-Asheville version of the storied festival held in Black Mountain in spring and fall. With multiple stages and hundreds of acts, this is always a blast. Local cats to look forward to include Free Planet Radio (12:15 Saturday, Pack Stage), Brie Capone on the Cafe Stage (Saturday, 5 p.m.), and local bad-ass DJ OSO REY opening for, and hopefully performing with, Wax Tailor at the Asheville Music Hall official afterparty on Saturday night.
Free for All: Thursday evening those cats from Bean Tree Remedy will be playing a 6 p.m. patio show at the Grey Eagle and – you guessed it – it’s free. Ryan (of BTR) and I recently took a free class together, as well. Weird.
Friday you can catch Hannah Kaminer for free on the Ambrose West patio stage. Thursday is also Pleasure Chest, a side project for some of the most talented musicians in town, at 5 Walnut, and, like everything in this section, it’s free.
Then it’s just all over the map, guys. Abby the Spoon Lady is playing with Chris Rodriguez at White Horse Black Mountain Friday night. I’m sure you are familiar with their work, and have probably walked past them playing together over by the Flat Iron, but the opportunity to see them play in a nice venue like WHBM is pretty special.
Same night (Friday), Daydream Creatures will be over at The Odditorium at 9 p.m., and then Supatight will play at the Grey Eagle at 10 p.m.
Thursday, local reggae rockers Turnup Truk will be in the tap room at Pisgah for anyone looking to start their weekend early. On Sunday, Alexa Rose is at the Grey Eagle at 8 for anyone not ready for their weekend to end yet.
So get out there and enjoy yourselves, you dirty hippies.