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Posts Tagged ‘Bobo Gallery’

 “Valorie Miller is early James Taylor re-transcribed in female flesh with some very distinct differences, especially the lyrics to Haunted Hand (an’, hoo boy, you’re not going to hear that one on TV any time soon!).” —FAME

(ASHEVILLE, NC)–  The critically acclaimed North Carolina singer-songwriter and guitarist Valorie Miller will officially release her sixth album, Turtle Shell, at 9pm July 12 at BoBo Gallery at 22 Lexington Avenue in downtown Asheville.

Guest musicians at the event will include Will Straughan, Mike Holstein, Justin Ray and Moses Atwood.

Miller recorded Turtle Shell in just 10 hours of studio time at Asheville’s Echo Mountain during sessions for her project as well as for fellow singer-songwriter Rupert Wates, who traveled from New York City to record his new album, At the Losers’ Motel, there with vocal support from Miller. Along with her vocal and guitar work, Turtle Shell features Mike Holstein on upright bass, Will Straughan on dobro and backing vocals, Justin Ray on trumpet (track 4) and Rupert Wates on piano (track 9). It is self-produced and was engineered at Echo Mountain by Chris Medrano.

The record is one of Miller’s strongest efforts, every track featuring her distinctive and expressive voice, expert guitar work and originality—always with a flavor that has branded her as a reviewer at No Depression Magazine put it, “pure Carolina from whisper to wail.” But she’s known far outside of the state, having gained national recognition and sharing the stage with such artists as Merle Haggard and Leon Russell. Lucinda Williams and Tony Arata (writer of multiple hits for Garth Brooks, among others) have praised her songwriting. Some say her sound is reminiscent of artists such as Patsy Cline and Billie Holiday, but these are influences. Miller’s work is strikingly original, and Turtle Shell is a case in point.

The album opens with My Acre, a song with stunning acoustic bass and engaging motion. It exudes hopefulness, curiosity and sweetness as it contrasts fear with joy, comfort with discomfort in the life and place one makes for one’s self. The song conveys great meaning in life, in dreaming about escaping one’s boundaries but feeling self-doubt and the fear of not finding forgiveness for the past. And any artist can relate to the lyric’s conveyance of digging in deep to live the life of an artist—by unwavering choice.

The title track, Turtle Shell, features excellent dobro work and vocal harmonies. One sees a turtle crossing the road not knowing the dangers of being there. The lyric explores the challenges of change, aging, and seeking redemption and forgiveness exposed out in the world versus the desire to retreat to a place of safety, like a turtle shell, although the safety may be an illusion: “Should I pray for heaven instead of hell, or just a big turtle shell?”

With great guitar picking, Peaches Ahead is an upbeat tune conveying the Southern country experience of passing roadside signs advertising produce stands in the summer and looking forward to the peaches ahead. It seems to be a metaphor for a belief that good things are ahead, but the optimism is tempered with realism and the understanding that summers—and life—are fleeting. It brings to mind the lyric of Billie Holiday’s recording of Speak Low by Ogden Nash and Kurt Weill in which Holiday sings, “Speak low when you speak love. Our summer day withers away too soon, too soon.”

Alcohol and Elephants delivers the pleasant surprise of Justin Ray’s trumpet, and it contains visionary lyrics that take the listener to the experience of ghosts in glasses of alcohol (perhaps memories of loves past that return with drink and solitude) and elephants in rooms. It reflects on human relationships and avoidance or even self-deception in the interest of keeping a love alive. “A blind eye is turned and an ether flower blooms, alcohol and elephants in the room. The heart of a good man is tested when it’s in the hands of a woman who’s a bigger bite than he can chew.”

Also very visual, Haunted Hand to speaks to desire for lasting love, a lasting touch and a fleeting opportunity to connect with an unexpected stranger who blows into a town that beforehand seemed empty. The opening line: “Met you in a ghost town tumbling like a weed, I don’t know if you want me, but you surely haunt me.” It also creatively compares the two characters of the song and a passing chance. “I am Carolina, you are Tennessee. You are a spider, and I’m a bumblebee… You better hurry up and get me, for I’m sure you’ll agree—time ain’t nothing but a miser and endings come for free.”

American Women is a witty take on a serious subject—the big-dollar ad campaigns and pop culture that make women fail to recognize their natural beauty and spend fortunes on trying to change their looks, supposedly for the better. But by whose definition? This is a protest song. “The bodies of American women are a country that’s been occupied. From bushes to eyelashes, everything gets modified,” Miller sings, concluding later in the tune that there’s nothing that needs modification. “And love is our final rebellion, intelligence our best tool. American women come home to yourselves in a mirror that’s always half-full.”

The next track, Snowflakes, moves to a jazzy feel with Mike Holstein’s fabulous bass playing and Miller’s expressive vocals and versatile performance skills. It’s another takes-you-there song about the spirit and movement of snow, how it falls on the evergreens as one sits by a warm fire inside and watches through the window.

Drunken Tattoo is country by definition—real country in the same sense that Hank Williams was. It’s about regretting a past relationship, but being hopeful about one day forgetting. It features a great guitar solo enhanced by dobro and contains a line that sums up the how long it can take to forget: “Time flies on a busted wing.”

A perfect conclusion to the album is the final track, Some Other Sky, a contemplative piece (with an unusual and imaginative piano part performed by Rupert Wates) that asks, “Did the day live up to the dream? Did the sun promise to rise, then hand you some dark alibi and light up some other sky?”

Well, maybe it lit up another sky in the song’s story, but not on the album. This one lives up to the dreams of anyone seeking a sophisticated, original and distinctively Southern album—but not by the garden-variety definition of the region. Valorie Miller is an example of what listeners can find in the real South if they look carefully off the beaten path and listen.

For more information & to listen to sample tracks from the album, visit:
www.valoriemiller.com and www.cdbaby.com/cd/valoriemiller

Show Details at a Glance:

Valorie Miller ~ CD Release Show
Bobo Gallery
Thursday, July 12, 2012
$5, 9pm

 22 N. Lexington Ave
Asheville, NC 28801
www.bobogallery.com

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pol·li·nate : verb [pä-lə-ˌnāt] — to innovate and collaborate to grow a more sustainable and vibrant community

by Suzanne Hacket, 2009 August 30

[See the Blog for Pollinating Asheville for more links to different pollinators mentioned in this article]

LAAFF Poster Design By Sound Mind Media

LAAFF Poster Design By Sound Mind Media

LAAFF

The 8th Annual LAAFF, or Lex Fest, is coming up one week from today on September 6 from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. on Lexington Ave. in downtown Asheville. Usually I highlight specific people as “Pollinators,” but as I sat and talked with Erin Scholze, I realized that there are so many people and business involved that the entire festival is a Pollinator.

A Bit of History (or Herstory, as it were)

LAAFF was the brainchild of Miss Kitty Love and tall bike freak, Michael Mooney. In 2001, in order to celebrate their gallery and the downtown culture and businesses, they wanted to have an art car parade. Instead they decided to have a festival. Alexis Gault (former Rebelle’s and now Lush Life Designs) had already started Arts2People and wanted to partner. And, LAAFF was born under the umbrella of Arts2People in 2001. Rebecca Hecht, Adorn Salon, has organized the arts vendors since year one.

2002: enter Erin Scholze. As a caretaker for Kitty’s son, Erin caught the LAAFF bug and started organizing the music for the festival. Graham Hackett (Catalyst Poetix and Poetix Vanguard) and Alexis Gault partnered with Erin in helping to program the festival. Alexis and Graham both moved on to their own personal projects, and Erin has become a major face for LAAFF focusing on music and public relations.

2004: enter Brad and Elizabeth Reichardt, owners of BoBo Gallery. Brad, an original Burning Man visionary, wanted to be involved and expand the festival, and schedules the BoBo stage outside of the venue.

2006: LAAFF focuses on greening the festival. Long-term volunteer, Aaron Johnston, organizes with local organizations to make sure their are options for compost and recycling. They ask vendors to use Jack’s Boxes.

NEW For 2009

New LAAFF DIRECTOR: Kitty Love steps down as director to focus on Arts2People to connect with arts organizations in town around an Artist Resource Center. Frank Bloom, former music committee member, is hired as the new director of LAAFF.

LA ZOOM TOURS: Jim and Jen Lauzon made art cars for LAAFF and recently have built their most extravagant art “car” yet, a huge rococo-style purple performance bus, La Zoom. This year, LaZoom is also going to be a performance space for LAAFF. They are doing bus rides around town with live entertainment.

ASHEVILLE BREWERS ALLIANCE: Long-term partner, French Broad Brewing Company, extended an invitation to the newly formed Asheville Brewer’s Alliance (Beer City USA Y’all!) to partner with the festival. Multiple local brews will be available at LAAFF this year.

WALNUT STAGE:
The stage at Walnut is now located in the parking lot at the corner of Lexington and Walnut.

And, every year more and more businesses and Lexington Ave. spaces want to be a part of the festival and have built it into the largest independent street festival in Asheville, and perhaps in Western North Carolina. LAAFF now draws about 12,000 people.

The other most important part of LAAFF are the volunteers. Interested in volunteering? They still need help. Email Justin Mitchell, volunteer@lexfestasheville.com

And, the sponsors and partners…LAAFF wishes to thank Greenlife Grocery and Mountain Xpress, in particular, and all the other local sponsors.

Other Pollinators involved with LAAFF

LEAF in Schools & Streets, LaZoom Tours, Barley’s Taproom, French Broad Brewery, Jenny Greer of Soundmind Media, Andrew Usher, Stewart Sound, Charles Mooney, Tristan and Jackson, Bob Robertson of Mountain Roots Management, Aslan Roshon of RALAK Fest, Bill Mesmer, Arts2People Board of Directors, Honey Pot, Asheville Mural Project Artists, Phil Cheney of Cheney Graphics, Asheville Downtown Association, Margaret Lauzon of Villasonica, Christina Aurea, Jay Sanders of Sum Networks, Earthfare, The Orange Peel, WNC Magazine, WNCW, vendors, all performers and volunteers who have generously donated their time.

Erin and I sat at Earthfare and brainstormed this great pollination, but we are sure that we missed many who have helped. Please use the comment section to let us know how you’ve contributed to LAAFF!

See who’s playing this year.

Look in this week’s Mountain Xpress for further information and schedule or go to LAAFF’s new website.

from → Arts & Thoughts Artistic, Community Growth & Development, Pollinators & Cultivators: People to Know

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