This Wednesday the Altamont Theatre is serving up something a little extra special. Leyla McCalla, formerly of the Carolina Chocolate Drops and currently touring in support of her second solo release, will be joined by local songstress Jane Kramer.
Both women, despite coming from very different places musically, are well known for their intelligent, vulnerable song-writing as well as their distinctively emotive voices. The double-bill should provide a moving night of beautiful music.
Kramer, who hails originally from Pennsylvania, moved to Asheville when she was 19 and almost immediately found it to be home. After spending several years playing with the Barrel House Mama’s and a few years honing her craft in exile in Portland, OR, she returned to Asheville where she found herself quickly embraced by the local music scene.
Known for her delicate yet honest songwriting, her emotionally charged vocals, and her passionate connection with the audience her following continues to grow. With a sound that is reminiscent of Emmy-Lou Harris and a talent for being able to put obscure emotions into pointed lyrics she seems the perfect choice to support McCalla at this show.
McCalla, while perhaps being best-known for her time in the Carolina Chocolate Drops, has a varied and impressive musical resume. Raised in New Jersey by Haitian immigrants she found a deep connection to her heritage when she moved to New Orleans in 2010.
After 2 years with the Chocolate Drops she left the band to pursue her own work. Her debut album, Vari-Colored Songs was released in 2014 to rave reviews by every outlet from NPR to The New York Times. It featured a collection of songs inspired by Langston Hughes as well as several Haitian folk songs.
Her sophomore release, titled A Day for the Hunter, A Day for the Prey, is a collection made up of both traditional folk songs and original tunes. Like her first effort, the record was released to critical acclaim. Additionally, while the themes have changed, this album, as with Vari-Colored feels deeply personal.
Both of these women invite you to do more than just listen. They invite you to open up and feel what they feel. They invite you to step behind their eyes. What a wonderful way to spend a Wednesday night.
Leyla McCalla and Jane Kramer play at The Altamont Theatre on Wednesday, March 22nd. Tickets are $15 in advance and $18 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.