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Raising awareness for the cause — and the arts, and the music
PhilanthroPEAK wraps filming with a six-hour multimedia extravaganza
by Dane Smith in Vol. 16 / Iss. 34 on 03/17/2010
Mountain Xpress
Last year, Chris Gaspar had an inspired idea: to spotlight the diverse and thriving philanthropic movement in Asheville through the eyes of local artists, musicians, business people and activists. The result: PhilanthroPEAK, a documentary highlighting the efforts of local outreach programs and the people who drive them. The hope, Gaspar says, is not only to raise awareness for the various causes, but also to introduce Asheville to a national audience.

Now, with the shooting phase (which has been underway for about a year) drawing to a close, Concepts4Charity is hosting a six-hour fundraiser — PhilanthroPEAK Live — at the Diana Wortham Theatre, featuring live music (Aaron Price with Kellin Watson, Woody Wood, Jar-e, Underhill Rose, The Secret B-Sides and Jenny Greer of Jen and the Juice), comedians Scotch Tomedy, visual artists, theatrical performances, interactive displays from the Bob Moog Foundation and a ceramics demonstration by local author and artist Shay Amber. Local nonprofits will also be on hand with information about their organizations. Basically, says Gaspar, this is the “capstone event,” complete with film crews on hand to capture the entire evening.

Now, with the shooting phase (which has been underway for about a year) drawing to a close, Concepts4Charity is hosting a six-hour fundraiser — PhilanthroPEAK Live — at the Diana Wortham Theatre, featuring live music (Aaron Price with Kellin Watson, Woody Wood, Jar-e, Underhill Rose, The Secret B-Sides and Jenny Greer of Jen and the Juice), comedians Scotch Tomedy, visual artists, theatrical performances, interactive displays from the Bob Moog Foundation and a ceramics demonstration by local author and artist Shay Amber. Local nonprofits will also be on hand with information about their organizations. Basically, says Gaspar, this is the “capstone event,” complete with film crews on hand to capture the entire evening.

The film itself features many of those artists, performing and speaking about causes they support. PhilanthroPEAK Live headliner Kellin Watson says she’s grateful for the opportunity to raise awareness for such a wide range of causes, two of which are especially close to her heart.

“I’ve always been a big supporter of breast cancer awareness,” Watson says. “I’ve lost a friend, and then both my grandmothers had breast cancer, so that was something that was always important to me. And also, the music in public schools programs are something that I’m always behind, because there was such a cut in funding in the last eight years. And that’s what Concepts4Charity seems to be about, putting it back into schools.”

Read the full article here: http://www.mountainx.com/ae/2010/031710raising_awareness_for_the_cause

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On Saturday, March 20th, PhilanthroPEAK Live will feature over six hours of music, visual arts, theatrical performances, live filming, as well as tabling for community businesses and nonprofits all united under one roof at Pack Place and the 500-seat Diana Wortham Theatre in downtown Asheville, located at 2 South Pack Square. This  all ages event starts at 5:00pm and tickets are only $10 in advance and $15 the day of the show. From 5:00-6:30 there will be an opening with beverages and an arts demos by Gabriel Shaffer and Shay Amber, a Moog Synthesiser and theramin demo with Dave Hamilton, and music by Jenny Greer of Jen and the Juice; theatre music begins at 6:30. To purchase your tickets visit www.dwtheatre.com or call 828-257-4530.

To find out more about this event go to my previous Blog post

Get to know the Performers that will be at PhilanthroPEAK Live!

Kellin Watson and Aaron Price:

Kellin Watson and Aaron Price. Photo courtesy of the band

Kellin Watson has been playing music and writing songs for the past 12 years. Releasing her first demo album, Littlethings in 1998, Kellin got her first taste of recording in a studio. Since then, she released her debut solo indie album, Paper Bird, in December 2003, at 22. After touring the east coast, Kellin recorded her second album with her band in 2005, Kellin Watson Band LIVE, Red Flag. Proving to be a fan favorite, Kellin decided to head back into the studio in 2007.

Kellin’s latest album, No Static, which was recorded at Echo Mountain Studio in Asheville NC this past year includes an array of talented musicians. The album includes a song written by Grammy Award winning Gordie Sampson called Your Place In this World as well as a few guest appearances from members of Afromotive, Sugarhill recording artists The Duhks, local singersongwriter Tyler Ramsey, and many others.

More recently, Kellin has been lucky enough to appear on a couple different television shows. Studio South (www.studiosouth.tv) shot for HDTV. As well as a show for CMT called Big Break, in which Kellin Watson made her first nationwide television debut on August 4th 2007. Kellin was chosen as one of the top 2 finalists out of the top 40 contestants from western NC to compete to open for Sara Evans at The Thomas Wolfe Aud.

Aaron Price is a three-time Buncombe County Internet Chess Champion with over 28 wins this year. When not playing internet chess, he can often be found playing keyboard in Kellin Watson’s band. Kellin and Aaron first teamed up in 2005 when Kellin recorded her record “Red Flag” at Aaron’s Collapseable Studios in West Asheville. Aaron produced Kellin’s follow-up “No Static” featuring their co-written “Chains of Love” in 2007. Kellin invited Aaron to join her band following that project.

Aaron Woody Wood:

Aaron Woody Wood - Photo by Push Revolution Photography

“My voice, my music is influenced by the world around me. It’s not my voice or influences I’m describing,” says Aaron Wood who is in a definitive period of his long career.

Wood’s inventive approach to musical style and raw emotion displayed in his songwriting has created a cohesive sound that is hard to find but heavily sought after by music lovers across the country. Throughout his long career, Wood’s has never been a musician that fits neatly into one genre. His appeal runs deeper than just a definition and calls to people who love music no matter if they prefer rock, blues, americana, or soul.

Throughout his career, Woods has toured internationally, performed with an extensive list of music legends, and received national media acclaim. In 2010, Aaron will release a new album with a distinctive approach to the 6-string and his unique twang. Fans will witness a different intensity with a polished approach.

Touring from city to city and stage to stage, Aaron “Woody” Wood will  turn heads with his commanding style. Don’t miss the opportunity to hear someone truly unique that people constantly look for but rarely find.

This is your chance; don’t you feel the push?

“(Woods) success shows, while not truly fitting into one category, TRUE TALENT can still prevail in the face of a genre driven music industry…” GoTriad, Raleigh, NC

“He seems the most likely to single-handedly tear down what seems like a hundred years of accumulated rock pomposity.” SubPop Free Times, Seattle, WA

Jar-E:

Jar-E. Photo courtesy of the band

Jar-e’s music has an infectious ethos that dissolves boundaries. It recalls soul, rock and funk; it defies categorization and it’ll make you dance.

Since he started gigging at age 12, Jar-e has played in rock bands, jazz bands and duos and performed as a solo artist. For his sophomore album, Chicas Malas, he found his pace working in the style of hip-hop producers and jazz composers, writing musical sketches for the keyboards, bass, drums, guitars and horns while assembling a crew of skilled cohorts to play the parts. When each musician brings his or her personal style to the music, Jar-e explains, “the vision changes,” and there’s fresh energy to every intense live show. What emerges with Chicas Malas is an album that represents Jar-e more intimately than ever before.

Chicas Malas was conceived in Mexico after Jar-e’s travels took him through Greece, Cuba and Britain. It’s a clear product of his psyche: totally self-sufficient, self-aware and responsive to the environment and people around him. “I start as an empty vessel,” Jar-e says, “and I absorb the sounds of my environment into the music.”

Jar-e both relates to, and is enchanted by, the transgressive, marauding freedom fighters the “chicas malas” (literally translated as “bad girls”) represent. “They’re women that flaunt our definitions,” he says. In Chicas Malas, Jar-e looks at how certain women breed love, desire and jealousy in him. He considers how “women push me past myself, away from what is safe and known.” His music follows suit; he plays with key signatures, rhythm, time and tone, but the melodies maintain a singable, heartfelt charm.

While Chicas Malas was inspired in Mexico, it was born back in Jar-e’s home of Asheville, NC, where Jar-e returned after his travels and convened an all-star group to help him realize his musical visions. In the year and a half since his last release, War Songs and the Muse, the band earned a reputation in the Southeast for adventurous, genuine shows that always get the crowd on its feet.

Longtime producer and friend Keith “Touch” Saunders, came down south and set up a state-of-the-art studio in a barn in the mountains to help bring that live energy to the record. While their work together on War Songs was experimental and sample-heavy, this record emphasizes the raw energy of stripped down live shows. “The thing that links all of his work is a soulfulness,” says Saunders. “We definitely captured that.”

Underhill Rose:

Underhill Rose. Photo courtesy of the band.

Underhill Rose boasts a unique sound built of original songs and heartfelt singing in a genre they like to call country soul. Eleanor Underhill (named Asheville Idol a few years ago) brings her prolific songwriting, soulful singing, and banjo playing to the plate, while Molly Rose Reed too sings straight from the heart, picking that guitar of hers and captivating audiences with her joyful stage presence. Eleanor and Molly Rose met at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC in 2002 and soon thereafter were co-founders of what was to become Asheville, North Carolina’s beloved all-female quartet the Barrel House Mamas. From their trips playing festivals around the southeast and making a jaunt to the FOX studios in Los Angeles for an audition call-back, these two ladies have played on stages across the country belting their dynamic tunes. During their time with the Mamas, the band was named the number two folk/bluegrass band by readers of the Mountain Xpress and voted their album gathering one of the top 20 regional releases of 2006.

These roses are very excited about what is to come, and be sure to look for their highly anticipated six song EP in 2010!

The Secret B-Sides:

Secret B-Side. Photo by J. Briscoe

Based in the mountain stronghold of Asheville, North Carolina, the Secret B-Sides turn out magic-made, Soul-powered, future-Funk for kids in love. Blending flowers and chocolate, with R&B, Hip Hop, and Jazz in the mix, the Secret B-Sides help create a world where it is easy to dance, love, and laugh.

The concept of the band is simple to understand; It’s all about three things,
3) Flying saucers, 2) Dinosaurs, and 1) LOVE!
Fully equipped with these three essentials the Secret B-Sides are here on the planet, ready to help the good people of Earth get together, feel sexy, and have unforgettable joy.

The Secret B-Sides foundation of groove is laid down by none other than
Robin Tolleson, a rock-solid funkster with plenty of Old-school credential to go around. Vibrational booty-bump factor is multiplied by Shayne Heather’s considerate electric bass stylings. Juan Holladay contributes sweet and deep lyrical play à la vinyl-smooth vocal-cords and guitar strings. Hammond organ, Wurlitzer, Clavinet, Moog and other classic keys sounds are tastefully dealt through the kaleidoscopic lens of Jeff K’norr. Jason Moore gives up his flute and saxophones with decided heft, as if lifted backward from unknown Hip-Hop instrumentals in his head. Meanwhile, the starry-eyed Sean Smith attempts to kiss the sky with his trumpet, again and again, like an alien beacon, urgently calling out for the Mothership’s landing:
Please, BE . . . HERE . . . NOW!

On a musical mission to connect past, present, and future into one, flowering continuum of love, the Secret B-Sides have touched down running. When cosmic weather patterns are just right, Charles Stewart (the one you know as CHACH the NC MC) appears to share front-man duties with Juan Holladay (“so why we gotta font, man?”) In essence, however, every-man in the band, better known as the B-sides, is a man in front (“so we don’t got to front, man!”) each giving his own interpretation of life and love to the true math and madness of this music shared. The Secret B-Sides bring what has been missing, and deliver like it has been a long time coming, in hopes that you will bliss out like always.
Let the party unfold.

Jenny Greer:

Jenny Greer. Photo by René Treece Photography

Jen Greer travels the guitar neck, deftly cruising the chords of jazz, swing, rock and folk. Jenny Greer is lead vocalist and songwriter for Jen and the Juice. She writes songs that are exciting audiences to connect immediately at both the emotional and fun level, wanting to know her and become part of the groovin’ picture. A multi media wizard who juices websites, music, lyrics, guitars and cover art like Willy Wonka makes candy, Jen’s a powerhouse in the singer songwriter and arts community at large. If ever a person could make things work, rouse a crowd, organize a party, create a concert and art happening with a walloping big collaboration of sound/ fun/ art and anything else, it’s Jen.

The arrangements smart, smooth and funky. Rolling melodies gently cruise through a lyrically painted canvas and stories dot the landscape of their tunes.

Scotch Tomedy:

Scotch Tomedy is the comedy pairing of Asheville’s own Scott Bunn & Tom Chalmers. Both began doing comedy at college: Scott at Wake Forest and Tom at Columbia University. After developing the craft in Podunk towns like New York and Los Angeles, Scott and Tom move to Asheville to make it big and eventually meet. Since arriving in town, they have created and starred in the sketch comedy shows Laugh Free or Die Hard, The Audacity of Ham, and most recently Scottch Tomedy III: Building A Butter Tomorrow. Other area appearances include Tom as Crumpet the Elf in ACT’s The Santaland Diaries, and Scott at The Bebe Theatre in Judy Blume’s Forever and Heathers (where he again teamed up with Tom).

Concepts4Charity, Inc (C4C) is a national 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to engaging youth in philanthropy through the development of sports and arts programs. C4C’s recent documentary, A Call To Action, featured many high profile artists including tour heavyweights Bob Weir(The Dead), Trey Anastasio(Phish), Dave Matthews, Grammy winner Bela Fleck(The Flecktones) and outspoken activist Michael Franti(Spearhead). C4C hosted the premiere of the documentary at the HBO Screening Room in Times Square.

Concepts4Charity, Inc Contact Information
Christopher Gaspar; cgaspar@concepts4charity.org; 877-656-2469; Concepts4charity.org

March 20th Event Details at a Glance:
PhilanthroPEAK Live
produced by Concepts4Charity
Saturday, March 20th
Diana Wortham Theatre

5pm-11pm
All Ages
Tickets $10 adv/ $15 d.o.s.
828-257-4530
2 South Pack Square
Asheville, NC 28801-3521
www.dwtheatre.com

www.concepts4charity.org
http://concepts4charity.org/events/87 (event site for tickets)

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