-The Asheville Holiday Hang, featuring Town Mountain and Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters, is set for Friday at The Orange Peel. The event, which has been going now for a handful of years, is also a benefit for MANNA Food Bank. The two bands are taking this show on the road for the first time this year for a series of regional concerts.
-Charles Humphrey III, a founding member of the Grammy winning Steep Canyon Rangers, recently announced that he’s leaving the Asheville band after 18 years, the Asheville Citizen-Times reports. The bass player said in a social media post that he’s moving on to other “musical and non-musical” pursuits.”
-Speaking of the Steep Canyon Rangers, have you seen the video of their new Christmas song, recorded with touring buddy and banjo player Steve Martin?
-And one more news bit about the Steep Canyon Rangers: They’ll be playing the US Cellular Center on Jan. 27, the day after the official release of their new album, Out in the Open. Tickets are on sale now for the show, which will feature another great Asheville band, River Whyless, opening the event. Also, the Asheville Symphony will join the Rangers for five or six songs during the show. The Steep Canyon Rangers and the Asheville Symphony teamed up for a song on last year’s Asheville Symphony Sessions album, which saw the symphony team with a dozen or so local musicians/bands.
-Toubab Krewe, the Asheville-based instrumental quintet that blends Appalachian and West African music traditions, plans to release their new album, Stlo (pronounced Stee-lo) on March 2. It’s their first since 2010. Toubab Krewe will hit the road after a two-year hiatus and return to clubs and stages across North America for a 2018 album release tour. Fans can pre-order Stylo before its public release at pledgemusic.com/toubabkrewe and a portion of proceeds will benefit Seed Programs International. The group’s experimental and genre-bending sounds have propelled them for more than a decade and make them one of Asheville’s most dynamic groups. They’re scheduled to play Ellington Underground on April 20 and 21 next year.
-Sweet Claudette, the super-group of Asheville singer-songwriters Amanda Anne Platt, Amber Sankaran, Dulci Ellenberger and Melissa Hyman, recently announced that they were changing their name. Their new name: Cowboy Judy. It turns out that there’s another Sweet Claudette. She’s a 70-year-old soul/blues singer from Detroit, and she came to Asheville a couple of weeks ago to play a joint show and help the Asheville crew announce their name change.
-Underhill Rose has said goodbye to Salley Williamson, the upright bass player for the trio, which includes Molly Rose and Eleanor Underhill. Williamson has decided to move on to other work, the band announced to fans recently.
-Béla Fleck will hold his first ever Blue Ridge Banjo Camp at Brevard Music Center in August 2018, according to a press release. The camp will feature three days and four nights of banjo instruction from Fleck and a cast of world-class banjo players and instructors teaching the Scruggs, melodic and single-string styles of three-finger banjo picking, according to the release. The week will culminate with a finale concert held in Whittington-Pfohl Auditorium.
-The Asheville Regional Airport has been filled with holiday all month, and that will continue through the holiday season. Here’s a look at the schedule for the Sounds of the Holidays, which will feature Western North Carolina school choruses and local musicians, as well as the Music on the Fly podcast and pop-up concert curated by yours truly:
MUSIC ON THE FLY | Jane Kramer & Ben Phan
Friday, December 15, 2:30 pm-3:30 pm
North Buncombe Middle School | 7th Grade Chorus
Monday, December 18, 10 am-10:30 am
Brevard Elementary School Chorus
Monday, December 18, 3:30 pm-4 pm
WD Williams YMCA
Tuesday, December 21, 10 am-10:30 am
MUSIC ON THE FLY | The Dreamboat Duo
Friday, December 22, 2:30 pm-3:30 pm
MUSIC IN THE AIRPORT PIANIST | Mike Andersen
Thursday, December 28, 10:45 am-12:45 pm