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CANCELED – Whetherman CD Release Party w/Ben Phan + Alexa Rose – [indie-folk / singer/songwriter / americana]
May 14, 2017 @ 7:00 pm
WHEN: Sunday May 14, 2017
DOORS: 6:30pm | SHOW: 7pm
GENRE: indie-folk / singer/songwriter / americana
AGES: all ages
SEATING: seated general admission
TICKETS: $10 adv. / $12 d.o.s. / $15 VIP (guaranteed seating in 1st three rows!)
Whetherman is the moniker of 32 year-old independent artist Nicholas Williams, who in the last decade has released seven full-length albums of “Sunny, soulful folk music that will lift your spirits and feed your soul” (Indie Music Reviewer). The traveling troubadour has artfully bridged the gap between American-made sounds spanning folk, blues, country, soul, and bluegrass with a timeless tinge, earning his keep amongst international independent touring artists. His eighth full-length album This Land releases in May of 2017.
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A year of jazz conservatory at Virginia Commonwealth University left Ben Phan rebellious: uninspired by the environment and fedup with the structure, he knew he didn’t want to be an academic musician.
So Phan began his professional career as a founding member of the Richmond Afrobeat Movement, a blend of jazz, funk and African dance music which earned significant attention in the South, including a TV appearance and other media features.
A stint as Musical Director for Free Run Wine Merchants gave Phan a chance to develop his professional skills, setting up musical events for the company, which included solo jazz gigs as well as band arrangements.
Phan then joined a bluegrass and folk band, the Rusty Strings, and discovered the joy in sitting on a porch and singing together with others, simply for the love of music.
In 2014, Phan decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail and his life changed forever. Along with everything else he needed, he carried a miniguitar on his back and became known by the name “Shredder” because of how he “shredded the guitar” when he played. Five months of travel on foot, 2,668 miles from the Mexican border all the way into Canada, playing for himself and the people he met, transformed his relationship with music. He began writing songs, drawn from his experiences on the trail as well as his past struggles with depression, addiction, loss and love. The music offered hope and solace, to him and to his audiences.
The time on the Pacific Crest Trail renewed Phan’s passion for music. With a prolific body of original work, he returned to Asheville to record his first solo EP, “Hold On, Let Go.” He then assembled a band, made up of some of the best musicians in Asheville. Besides liking his music, they appreciate the dedication and professionalism Phan brings to his work. The band’s debut album, “Dreams in Modern Folk”, is a sonic a lyrical masterpiece. The choice of three different strings (cello, violin, and upright bass) to accompany Phan’s guitar and the drums gives an orchestral feel that brings out the emotional quality of his songs.
Phan is a prolific poet, songwriter, and guitarist, with the soul of an improviser. He crafts his songs to give room for presence, selfexpression, and improvisation in the moment. He believes that the best live music is when everyone playing is cocreating – which means that every one of his concerts offers audiences a different sound and a unique experience.
Virginia-born singer-songwriter Alexa Rose spent her formative years writing songs on a hand-me-down guitar in a little mountain town, and scaled down the Blue Ridge to settle in Western North Carolina in 2013. At 19, she released her debut album, “North,” which spoke to her folk influences and featured simple renditions of handmade songs on piano and guitar. The album’s premier track, “The Bear,” was featured on WVTF Public Radio’s “Back to the Blue Ridge” program, as well as other regional radio stations.
Rose has been writing songs for nearly a decade now, but only recently became vagabond, touring her Appalachian folk-infused Americana since she graduated from Appalachian State University in 2015. She has been called a “rising voice of the region,” sharing the stage with artists like Joy Ike and Jessica Lea Mayfield, and winning Asheville’s acclaimed Brown Bag Songwriting Contest in 2016. “She has been touring up and down the region heavily, gathering fans along the way.” – The Mountain Times
Rose’s sophomore album, due for release on New Year’s Day, was recorded at famed Echo Mountain, a studio that has fostered the work of artists like T Bone Burnett, The Avett Brothers, and Steep Canyon Rangers. “Low and Lonesome” is, at heart, a folk songwriter’s album; the simple arrangements lend themselves to the frankness of Rose’s masterful phrasing, allowing the natural beauty of her warbling soprano to transport the listener to new places through familiar territory. Rose’s nonchalant delivery ebbs and flows in optimal sync with her band. The album features Pretty Little Goat Stringband members Tim Fisher on fiddle and JT Linville on bass. Other highlights throughout include backing vocals from fellow singer-songwriter, Clint Roberts, and sweet pedal steel courtesy of the Honeycutters’ Matt Smith. Though “folk” is most likely the term that will come to most listeners’ minds, Rose proves to be far from one-dimensional.