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The 10th annual LAAFF is right around the corner in Downtown Asheville on Labor Day Weekend Sept 3-4th on Lexington Ave. 

A handful of Dreamspider bands and friends are performing at the Fest:

  • Stephaniesid is doing their CD release at their show on Saturday Sept 3d at 7:30 on the main stage.
  • Galen Kipar Project plays on Sunday 2:45-3:30 pm on the main stage
  • Jonathan Scales Fourchestra on Sunday 5:45-6:30pm on the Mai Stage
  • Spork! on Sunday 1:15-2pm on the Main stage

Also, be sure to check out 23 Skidoo & The Family Band (Sat 11am Main Stage), Santos (Sat. 1pm bobo stage) , Paper Tiger (Sat 3:15 Main Stage), Vertigo Jazz Project (Sat 4:15 Main Stage), The Secret B-Sides (Sun 6pm bobo stage), Lotion (Sun 2:30-3:10 Mountain Xpress Walnut Stage), GFE (Sun 8:15 MX WaLnut Stage), Ten Cent Poetry (Sun 11:45- 12:30 Main Stage), Jeff Santiago y Los Gatos Negros (Sun 1:45- 2:30 main stage), Zansa (Sun 6:30-7:15 Main Stage), Moses Atwood Band (Sun 4:45-5:30 main Stage) and lots of oither great stuff.

For the full schedule and lots more fantastic Asheville bands check out the Mountain Xpress: http://www.mountainx.com/ae/2011/083111laaff-bandsschedule#.Tl-jfWoglIE

The Xpress also did this wonderful interview with Stephaniesid about their album release:

The new Stephaniesid album, Starfruit — despite its name-association with things tropical and celestial — was conceived in a dark basement. “A universe leapt out of the grayness,” says front woman Stephanie Morgan.

An advance listen of the album reveals lush pop, layered vocals, rich horn parts and a certain velvety darkness (perhaps it’s the snarl of baritone sax or echoes of reverb ). But even through an edge of bitterness (despite dance beats and bells, the track “Starf—ker” is not without teeth), the record is backlit by undeniable sparkle.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE:http://www.mountainx.com/ae/2011/083111ripe-for-the-picking#.Tl-m_WoglIE

LAAFF is not only a music festival, it is also a arts and fun festival.. So be sure to wander around and stumble into many other fabulously freaky things that will happen both day! Here are some fantactic pics of last years LAAFF by local Photographer Lissy Whelan with Bright Life Photography:


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Jonathan Scales had an amazing album release event this past weekend in Asheville at the Emerald Lounge.  The new album, Character farm and Other Short Stories, is now available on his website and i-tunes. Bold Life did a great interview with Jonathan Scales and below are some excerpts:

Building Character

BY ROBIN TOLLESON in Bold Life www.boldlife.com

For his third album, Character Farm And Other Short Stories, steel drumming frontman Jonathan Scales wanted to imitate long form. “Back in the day the great composers like Wagner wrote complete works from top to bottom as opposed to just a bunch of songs mixed together,” he says. “An epic saga that takes you through all the movements.”

To help tie together the musical fusion of his Fourchestra, Scales called upon the comic book-inspired artwork of Gregory Keyzer. “There’s a different illustration for every song,” Scales says. “It’s cool because you can kind of put a visual image with each piece. The album is packaged like a book of short stories, but there’s an overlying theme. The sonic tapestry, mixed with the congruent artwork, really ties the whole thing together. The pictures help people make their judgments about what it’s about and how they feel about it. It’s not complete long form, but it’s closer.”

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“Every time I put out a CD I want to get further along,” Scales says. “It takes a lot of planning to have a successful release. You work hard on the music, and you want people to hear it, so that’s when you have to kick in on the other side and try to get things rolling.” Scales planned a pre-release campaign to build some momentum. In February he released a behind-the-scenes video with footage from the recording session. And last month he released a full-length music video of his song “Muddy Vishnu.” “I’m trying to get people interested,” he says.

The Fourchestra recorded Character Farm at Diana Wortham Theatre in Asheville, in the fashion of classic jazz records. “We all played together,” Scales says. “We got enough separation that we could get some real good sounds, so it comes off like a studio album with a lot of energy, as a mixture between a live recording and a studio album, kind of like the best of both worlds. That was (sound engineer) Michael Hynes’ approach to the thing.

Character Farm features the churning 6/8 “Jam We Did,” the slightly-island strut of “Science Fair Project,” the breakneck steel-drum’n’bass of “The Longest December,” and “Muddy Vishnu,” a dynamic tune filled with plot twists reminiscent of The Flecktones’ classic “Sinister Minister.”

“This set has my same style, as far as some metric complexities and style changes. Different uses of rhythms and timbres and harmonies,” Scales explains. The music is solid, he says, because the lineup was solid. “My other two albums had streams of different people. This album is definitely more focused.”

Guitarist Duane Simpson, drummer Phill Bronson, and bassist Michael Libramento are the main backing cast on the album, with four guests, saxophonist Jeff Coffin, flutist Kofi Burbridge, percussionist Yonrico Scott, and fiddler Casey Driessen.

“Overall it has a pretty edgy sound,” Scales says. “It has highs and lows as far as dynamics and styles. ‘Muddy Vishnu’ is definitely on the more rockin’ side — my take on a mix between Muddy Waters and the Mahavishnu Orchestra. I wanted it to be a subtle thing to where if you understand or if you’ve never heard them, it’s not a big deal and you’ll still enjoy the song.”

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READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE and find out more about Jonathan’s history and the rest of the Fourchestra:  http://www.boldlife.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A18113

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Ryan Snyder with Yes! Weekly interviewed with Acoustic Syndicate’s Steve “Big Daddy” McMurry in preview for their show coming up on Saturday March 5th at the Blind Tiger in Greensboro. Here are some excerpts from the article. Be sure to click the link to the full interview!

As the Syndicate Family Grows, A New Album Finally Awaits

By Ryan Snyder

Yes! Weekly www.yesweekly.com

Acoustic Syndicate ready their first new material in years for their Saturday show in Greensboro.

There`s maybe no better way to sum up the outlook of Acoustic Syndicate circa 2005 than the words of Bryon McMurry on the Shelby folk-rock oufit’s song “It Was Good While It Lasted.” “Nothing lasts forever and we find out who we are,” he sang on the band’s 2000 album Tributaries, unaware then that it might be the band’s mantra in only a few years time as they entered an indeterminable furlough. The McMurrys — Bryon, Fitz and cousin Steve — knew just who they were: a close-knit group built upon rural values of sustainability and commitment to the family. When the two brothers began to experience growth in their own families, their incessant touring lifestyle of the past decade suddenly became an afterthought.

“Fitz and Brian were both having to be gone during pregnancies and the last thing we wanted to do is have our families suffer on account of what we’re doing,” said Steve. “It’s important for us to stay centered and understand what’s most important. It was the obvious thing to do at that point.”

The group was arguably going out at their peak. They had just released one of their best-received albums in 2004’s Long Way Round (Sugar Hill), and kicked off the album’s supporting tour with a return to the Bonnaroo Music Festival after performing the inaugural festival two years earlier. Steve says that show in particular was instrumental in that tour’s success.

Photo by Bright Life Photography

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At the urging of their booking agent Hugh Southard, the group started playing more and more shows around 2007, learning how to juggle being a working band and family men at the same time. The days of 180- 200 shows per year may be over for the band, but Steve says that being able to have their families present has engendered a new kind of creative freedom in them.

As of now, they’re not only looking to begin recording their first album in seven years, but their arrangement is growing as well. Bassist Jay Sanders invited a friend, dobro player Billy Cardine, to join the group for a performance at last year’s Asheville Earth Day Celebration, and Steve said they knew almost immediately that he was a perfect fit for the group.

The addition is progressive for the group’s sound, which Steve describes as being edgier than any other era of the band, and for the first time, they’ll be writing songs specifically to feature a certain instrument. They hope to hit Echo Mountain Recording in Asheville with the pool of 15-16 songs later in 2011, many of which Steve describes as being written from a deeper, more personal place than ever before.

“I always tried to keep songwriting away from my personal life, but there’s been a couple of things in my life with living and people dying. Some major influences that really changed my reality,” he said somewhat hesitantly. “I thought about it and thought about it, and sort of avoided writing anything about it, but something kept bugging me to do it.”

He added that the time away has allowed him and his cousins to refocus their creativity after admittedly becoming burnt out in the year before their hiatus. Reenergized as a group, Steve believes that the band is in as good of a creative place as they’ve ever been.

“When you get burnt out and you start to write songs from the gut, it’s just not good,” he said. “It’s better to be creative out of a desire to be creative and not a need to be creative.”

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READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: http://www.yesweekly.com/triad/article-11650-as-the-acoustic-syndicate-family-grows-a-new-album-finally-awaits.html

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Jonathan Scales Fourchestra
Casey Driessen opens the show!
Friday, April 1st, 2011
Emerald Lounge

9pm, 21+
$7 cover / $15 gets you a copy of the new album AND ticket
828.232.4372
112 N. Lexington Ave.
Asheville, NC
www.emeraldlounge.com

The steel pan, an amazing musical discovery born in the Caribbean nation of Trinidad & Tobago, is often times associated with sandy beaches, tropical climates, and cruise ships: that’s not exactly what you get at a show by the jazz-fusion quartet, Jonathan Scales Fourchestra. Modern Drummer Magazine recognizes, “… Jonathan Scales makes the pans fit in unconventional musical spaces…” and Jazz Times goes on to state that Scales’ brings forth a “new vitality to the traditional Caribbean instrument… picking up where Othello Molineaux left off 20 years ago with Jaco Pastorius.”

Here you have a classically trained composer turned steel pan maestro and front man of the Fourchestra, Jonathan Scales, heavily influenced by the complexity of banjo virtuoso Bela Fleck to the hustle of Jay-Z. Gritty blues guitarist, Duane Simpson, and fusion-chops bassist, Cody Wright, provide the harmonic support for Scales’ sound, while jazz/hip-hop drummer, Phill Bronson, drives the time-shifting, modern grooves. The cast of Characters hold this mind-bending concoction together with jazz edge and classical sensibility.

The 3rd installment in the Jonathan Scales’ musical saga, Character Farm & Other Short Stories, is a 45-minute dive deeper into the compositionally-twisted work of steel pannist Jonathan Scales.  The nine original instrumental “stories” on the album take listeners from the primal Jam We Did to the lush Hallucinations of the Dream Chasers. The title track Character Farm takes the audience into a chilled, ‘worldly’ ride after the frantically emotional The Longest December.   Guest appearance on the record include Jeff Coffin (of Dave Matthews Band / Bela Fleck & the Flecktones), Yonrico Scott and Kofi Burbridge (of Derek Trucks Band fame) and the dazzling work of fiddle virtuoso Casey Driessen.

Jonathan Scales has also been busy creating a NEW Music Video for the song Muddy Vishnu from the album shown above. The album is available for pre-sale through the brand new website www.jonscales.com in a variety of options through April 1st. Scales’ also got a lot of fun new merch including a glossy 19 x 13 poster depicting the custom designed comic book graphics illustrating each song with artwork by Gregory Keyzer.

19x13 poster. Full artwork for "Character Farm & Other Short Stories". Illustrations by Gregory Keyzer.

Steel pannist and virtuoso composer, Jonathan Scales, formed his ‘Fourchestra’ in 2007 as a means to deliver his musically complex, but somehow accessible ideas to anyone willing to listen. Since then, Scales has released two well received, full-length works, 2007’s One-Track Mind and 2008’s Plot/Scheme which features the likes of Jeff Coffin (of Dave Matthews Band), Joseph Wooten (of Steve Miller Band), and Jeff Sipe (of Aquarium Rescue Unit). 2011 will usher in Character Farm & Other Short Stories.  Scales’ versatility and innovative nature have allowed him to share the stage with acts like The Wooten Brothers Band, Larry Keel & Natural Bridge, The Duhks, Everyone Orchestra, Toubab Krewe, Ben Sollee, Casey Dreissen, and Futureman.

Scales has been called a “…rising star of the steel drums…” by Traps Magazine, while Pan on the Net refers to him as “the Real Deal” and having “A Thelonius Monk-like attitude with a Mozart creativity that works.”  When Steel Talks sums it up with, “At the end of the day, Scales is going to be a major play in rewriting the books on steelpan music outside of the box.”

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