This must be the place: Haynes conjures rock spirit through symphony

Arguably the hardest working man in rock-n-roll, guitar legend Warren Haynes has never been one to shy away from testing his own boundaries, blurring the lines between the knowns and unknowns of music — especially when performed live. 

Over the hills and far away: Music, heritage comes alive at Stecoah Valley Center

Way out in Graham County, high up in the rugged wilderness of the Nantahala National Forest, is a lonely stretch of N.C. 28.

To the north lies Robbinsville, to the south the Swain County line. But, where you’re standing, seemingly in the middle-of-nowhere, is actually the hottest ticket in Western North Carolina — the “An Appalachian Evening” series at the Stecoah Valley Center.

This must be the place: Don’t play what’s there, play what’s not there

It was 60 years ago this past weekend (March 2, 1959) when Miles Davis’ seminal “Kind of Blue” album was recorded. This is an immortal masterpiece, a cornerstone of not only American music, but the music of the world, too. 

Devil on my shoulder: With new live album, The Get Right Band to play Boojum

The hardest balance for a rock band is to straddle the line between honest emotions in your lyrics and also simply being able to get people to groove along to what beats and tones swirl around the wordplay. 

Smoky Mountain Brass Quintet celebrates 25 years

The Sylva-based Smoky Mountain Brass Quintet will present a concert celebrating 25 years of music, travel and fun together on Sunday, Feb. 17, in the Community Room of the Jackson County Public Library.

Outside the bounds of time: Longtime WNC songwriter releases debut album

Tucked up along a hillside overlooking Richland Creek and the Frog Level district of Waynesville is a cozy bungalow. 

The walls are covered with all types of artwork collected over the years. Shelves filled with books on world travel and Appalachian culture. Dozens of vinyl records lean against the corners of the back room. 

In pursuit of the moment: Greg Ormont of Pigeons Playing Ping Pong

In a day and age where everything that glistens and captures society’s short attention span is seemingly a smoke screen blurring the lines between appearance and reality, one of the most intricate and sacred of human experiences remains pure and untouched — live music. 

What lies beyond the horizon: Porch 40 kicks off ‘Pour 40’ tour, new album

Coming into seven years together, the members of Porch 40 continue to hold steady and elevate each other’s craft, with a constant motto of “all for one, one for all” echoing loudly through the band’s purpose, passion and performance. 

Last November, the Cullowhee-based quintet rolled down to New Orleans, Louisiana. They headed into the studio of musician Robert Mercurio, bassist for legendary funk/rock act Galactic, whose personal collaboration and professional influence on Porch 40 is not only evident, but clearly bountiful. 

Out in the open: Steep Canyon Rangers to play homecoming show

Adjusting his baseball cap, Graham Sharp leans forward and takes another sip of coffee. It’s late morning at the Tastee Diner in West Asheville. The constant traffic buzzes by the small restaurant bordering Haywood Road. 

Banjoist/singer for the Grammy-winning Steep Canyon Rangers, Sharp is part of one of the marquee acts in string music today. The Western North Carolina group isn’t bluegrass. It isn’t Americana. It’s isn’t folk or indie, either. It’s all of the above, which is something Sharp and his bandmates have purposely set out to present to the listener.

How we got here, nobody knows: The best albums of 2018

In a year of turmoil, trepidation and tragedy, thankfully we can retreat into the one thing that can shift any emotion back to that of positivity and progression — the sound of music. 

Below are a handful of the finest releases of 2018. Seek these albums out, immerse yourself in the power of song and dance, and pass along the melodic happiness to those known and unknown. Remember, we’re all in this together.

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