New talent and old influences enter jam genre

By Chris Cooper

Approaching the “jam band” thing from some very different angles, Umphrey’s McGee manage to bring shades of vintage Yes, Peter Gabriel and Rush to the mix in lieu of the usual suspects (Grateful Dead, Phish, Allman Bros.) They also write some great tunes, possess formidable chops and still sound like they’re having fun.

Hayseed’s latest falls flat on its grass

Some jokes are really, really funny. Some even get better with age, as if their repeated telling somehow increases the comic potency. Then again, some jokes just get beaten into the ground, weren’t that funny to begin with, or suffer in the hands of incompetent would-be comedians.

A little frisky — much better than fair

By Chris Cooper

It’s harder than you would think to write a song. As a musician, it is tempting to reject anything that sounds traditional or just throws together a bunch of fancy chords. And melody — that which makes a song what it is, moves a tune the way it needs to, and feel like it should — often falls subject to sacrifice.

A mysterious masterpiece

By Chris Cooper

Beautiful and alarmingly odd, Andrew Bird makes music that ambles pretty far outside description or categorization. “Chamber pop” perhaps? And what the heck is he talking about half the time? How did he find so many things that rhyme with formaldehyde in the song “Fake Palindromes”?

The sounds of Jackson County: Landmark collection of local performers bands together for Jackson County library fundraising event

By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer

Backstage at Western Carolina University’s Fine and Performing Arts Center, the rehearsal room buzzed with activity as musicians tuned guitars, rosined their bows and warmed up their voices in preparation for last Tuesday’s (Jan. 10) Sounds of Jackson County concert.

The Sounds and the stories

By Michael Beadle

In gathering the performers who would help make the Sounds of Jackson County a reality, organizers invited 40 different local musical groups to donate their time and talents to record an album and play a concert that would serve as a fund-raising event for the construction of a new Jackson County library.

Ordinary World: twisted, welcome catharsis

By Chris Cooper

When the bio sheet for a band arrives with the greeting “Dear Pop Revivalists,” I feel a mixture of curiosity and dread. Good pop or bad pop? Classic pop, schlock pop, punk pop (ugh) or what? For Pete’s sake, Beethoven was the “pop” music of his era; so exactly what kind of pop am I reviving here?

Adam’s 29 falls short of past achievements

By Joe Hooten

When it seems like you’ve heard all there is to hear from our Carolina troubadour Mr. Ryan Adams, he follows through with his promise and comes out with his third release in one year. The album 29 is a relatively short nine-track disc that symbolically recounts a year of his life during his 20’s.

An impressive collection from a bluegrass veteran

By Chris Cooper

It’s not unusual in music circles for one’s sound to be recognizable but the name to be mostly unknown. Such is the case for bluegrass veteran Curly Seckler.

Vocal and instrumental abilities carry through a wide variety of styles

By Chris Cooper

If you didn’t know already, Jamie Cullum is that kid who was on Pay-Per-View last summer. It was a “freeview” concert, I think, during which he ran around like a complete nut on a huge stage, before an equally large crowd, in front of a gigantic English castle somewhere.

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