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Posts Tagged ‘Snake Oil Medicine Show’

Extract 17. Photo by Rob Gardner

Stop. Listen. Dynamic changes happen simultaneously with nuanced timbre shifts, while the notes, chords, and poly-rhythms travel past you. Extract 17 is not a jam band, or math rock or even a hybrid of anything. They are four musicians of remarkable talent, pushing each other and themselves to make something wonderful. Equal parts Mahavishnu Orchestra, Strength In Numbers and original innovation, Extract 17 plays a palate of original electric instrumental compositions focused on both the spirit of adventure and the beauty of arrangement. You can see them live for *FREE* every Tuesday in March at Modaddy’s Bar in Asheville.

In the past year, the four musicians that comprise Extract 17, Jay Sanders, Bill Cardine, Andy Pond and Ian Cunningham, have been composing, arranging, and experimenting with a variety of provocative new sounds. Their repertoire features tunes written by each member of the group and a select list of covers from some of their biggest influences including Bill Frisell, MMW, and Hank Williams.

As a bass player, what characterizes Jay Sanders‘ music is an overwhelming sense of space, time and genre. His compositions tend towards the melodic and sublime while improvisations can go from the most peaceful melody to full-scale free jazz and noise music. Attention to style and unique versatility are the hallmarks of his playing. Sanders is best known for his work with Acoustic Syndicate and Donna The Buffalo.

Bill Cardine brings his innate sense of musicianship, melody and texture with his muse instrument of choice, the slide guitar. Jerry Douglas has said of Cardine “I couldn’t have picked a better example for them of where the Dobro is now or what the possibilities are with the instrument.” His innovative work on the Dobro, Moog Slide Guitar, Chaturangui, Weissenborn and Electric Steel guitars has lead him as both a performer and educator around the world, as well as to some of our country’s most revered venues and major festivals. Internationally, Cardine is known for his work with the Biscuit Burners; he is also the newest member of Acoustic Syndicate.

Andy Pond is one of the most exciting progressive-acoustic banjoists on the scene today: melodic and tasteful with a raw edge of improvisation. His approach to the banjo is all encompassing and includes Middle eastern/Balkan flavours, newgrass and dixieland grooves as well as funky dance beats. For almost two decades, Pond has been the driving force behind the Snake Oil Medicine Show, is half of the Pond Brothers, and the lead of CX1.

Ian Cunningham‘s drumming boldly combines the best parts of rock, jazz, African and things completely different and unknown into a powerful beat that is the perfect landscape for Extract 17. Cunningham is a formidable drummer and presence in the Asheville music scene; and as the pulsating foundation for UNC Asheville’s African Dance and Drumming classes, he excels at bridging the worlds of music.

In September of 2010, Sanders, Cardine and Pond performed a series of shows with the legendary Jeff Sipe on drums including memorable performances at the LAAFF Festival, Pisgah Brewing’s beautiful outdoor stage, the Pour House in Charleston, and Asheville’s juke-joint MoDaddy’s. 2011 finds the quartet breaking ground in new directions with the addition of Ian Cunningham on drums. This new lineup will debut as part of MoDaddy’s monthly residency series, playing every Tuesday in March. The shows are all free and begin around 9:30. Enjoy being carried away into a vast soundscape of innovative instrumental music.

Show details at a Glance:

Extract 17
Sanders-Cardine-Pond-Cunningham
Tuesdays in March
MoDaddys

9:30pm
*FREE SHOWS*
828-258-1550
77-B Biltmore Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801
www.modaddysbar.com

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WNCW’s “What It Is” recently had me ad a guest  along with Barbie Angell and host Joe Kendrick. We discussed all sorts of things including New Weird America, The Asheville Music Scene, Earbits & Tubify, Low-Powered Radio and more. “What It Is” Airs weekdays on WNCW at 10:15am.

Click to  listen to more podcasts

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The Asheville Music Scene

08 Feb 2011 05:00:00 GMT
What It Is examines the burgeoning, diverse music scene in Asheville, NC with new panelist Erin Scholze and Barbie Angell.
Play:Play

The Weird American Music Scene

04 Feb 2011 05:00:00 GMT
What It Is welcomes new panelist Erin Scholze to the conversation with Barbie Angell and host Joe Kendrick in a quest to bring out our inner weirdo. From Harry Smith to Snake Oil Medicine Show and from the early 20th century to today, we’ve got plenty of niches to scratch.
Play:Play

Low Power FM Spreads As College Radio Stations Are Sold

28 Jan 2011 05:00:00 GMT
As the Local Community Radio Act enables low power FM stations to expand into new areas, many colleges and universities are selling their student-run stations for millions of dollars. What It Is examines the sea change for radio in this conversation with new panelist Erin Scholze, Barbie Angell and host Joe Kendrick.
Play:Play

Tubeify and Earbits

28 Jan 2011 05:00:00 GMT
What It Is examines two new means of music discovery in this conversation with host Joe Kendrick and panelists Barbie Angell and Erin Scholze
Play:Play

Poetry In Music

16 Feb 2011 05:00:00 GMT
What It Is welcomes poet Barbie Angell and new panelist Erin Scholze to this conversation focusing on the many intersections of poetry and music. From artists like Leonard Cohen to spoken word artists with musical accompaniment, there are plenty of places where these two worlds meet.
Play:Play

Click to listen to more podcasts from “What it Is”

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Acoustic Syndicate is excited to announce that they will be returning to the Visulite Theater in Charlotte, NC on December 17th & 18th for their annual holiday show! Joining them will be very special guest & long time friend and collaborator, Jeremy Saunders on saxophones! That being said, the mix of the McMurry ClanJay Sanders on bass, Saunders on sax, and Syndicate’s newest addition to the group, Billy Cardine on dobro, along with all the new tunes… This show is going to ROCK!

Here’s a nice video featuring Saunders on Sax from the Visulite in 2007:

Now imagine that with Cardine’s blistering dobro for the first time ever and you’ve got two historical Syndicate nights!


…And to think it all began from a simple Chritmas gift
in December of1977 when Joe and Fitzhugh McMurry, a couple of brothers from Cleveland County, NC got together and decided to get their kids bluegrass instruments for Christmas that year. The kids were brothers Fitz Jr. and Bryon McMurry, and their cousin Steve McMurry. Fitzie, as he was known back then, got a Gibson Hummingbird guitar. Bryon got an Eagle banjo and Steve got a fiddle from Sears & Roebuck. All were excited and happy.

Skip forward some years, lots of parties, & lots of bars later and in 1994 the band caught the attention of Steve Metcalf of the world famous Green Acres Music Hall, in Bostic, NC. He featured them at “The Acres” on a couple of big bills like David Grisman and Bela Fleck. In 1997, the Syndicate added Nashville bassist, Jay Sanders, formerly of the Snake Oil Medicine Show to their line up to complete the Syndicate core. In 2001 Syndicate added Jeremy Saunders on saxophones. The rest is a matter of record.

Acoustic Syndicate plays on with its message of peace, earth, unity and family. Come on out and celebrate the holidays with friends & family at the Visulite for 2 nights in December!



Show Details at a Glance:
ACOUSTIC SYNDICATE
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Visulite Theatre
Show starts at 9:45
Doors open at 8:00
$15 adv, $17 day of show

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Acoustic Syndicate


The Lincoln Theater ~ Raleigh, NC
Friday, November 26th, 2010
 

&

The Orange Peel ~ Asheville, NC
Saturday, November 27th, 2010


Acoustic Syndicate is:
Steve McMurry: Acoustic guitars, mandolin, vocals.
Bryon McMurry: Banjos, electric guitar, vocals.
Fitz McMurry: Drums, vocals.
Jay Sanders: Acoustic upright bass, electric bass.
Billy Cardine: Acoustic and electric dobros.
………………………….
Acoustic Syndicate was born in December, 1977 when Joe and Fitzhugh McMurry, a couple of brothers from Cleveland County, NC got together and decided to get their kids bluegrass instruments for Christmas that year. The kids were brothers Fitz Jr. and Bryon McMurry, and their cousin Steve McMurry. Fitzie, as he was known back then, got a Gibson Hummingbird guitar. Bryon got an Eagle banjo and Steve got a fiddle from Sears & Roebuck. All were excited and happy. The trio was nicknamed the “The Maple Creek Three” by Fitzhugh Sr. They learned a few songs, mostly church songs from the Methodist hymnal, and threw in a couple of country and bluegrass numbers and before long they were playing whenever they could…mostly serving at the pleasure of the parents at family gatherings and church functions. Joe and Fitzhugh, taking great delight in the results of their scheme, had unwittingly laid the foundation of what was to become Acoustic Syndicate. The boys spent the remainder of their childhood and adolescence singing, playing, living and working together on the family farm in Cleveland County.

After high school the trio drifted on separate paths for a while…moving off to college, taking jobs, getting married and so on. But the boys would always make time to get together and go see some good, live music…anything from bluegrass to punk rock. One could find them at a reggae festival on Lake Norman as easily as you could see them at the Milestone in Charlotte to see the Bad Brains, or in DC at a Grateful Dead show. In 1992 the three landed back in Cleveland County, quite by coincidence, and started playing again. In 1993 the trio added Doug Rogers to the group on upright bass. The band played their first gig as The Mint Jubilee Blues at the suggestion of a friend. After some debate on the topic, the band decided on “Acoustic Syndicate” over dinner at the old El Cancun Mexican restaurant in Shelby, NC in October of that year. Bryon actually came up with the name.

Photo by Bright Life Photography

The Band started out pretty much as any other, playing at parties, bars and alike. In 1994 the band caught the attention of Steve Metcalf of the world famous Green Acres Music Hall, in Bostic, NC. He featured them at “The Acres” on a couple of big bills like David Grisman and Bela Fleck. In 1997, the Syndicate added Nashville bassist, Jay Sanders, formerly of the Snake Oil Medicine Show to their line up to complete the Syndicate core. The rest is a matter of record. From there, with the help and connections of Steve Metcalf and the booking of Hugh Southard at Blue Mountain Artists, the band went on to tour the country extensively for the next eight years, completing six recording projects, two of them for Sugar Hill Records.

In 2001 they added long time friend and collaborator, Jeremy Saunders on saxophones. With their distinct brand of folk rock, bluegrass and reggae, coupled with their romper room, ultra high-energy, live performances they went on to be regulars at the biggest music festivals in the country, playing Bonnaroo, Farm Aid, High Sierra Music Festival, Telluride Music Festival, Merle Fest, Magnolia Fest and many more. The band played most of the A list rooms in the country and continued to tour and record until 2005.

The collapse of the record industry along with growing family needs at home forced the band to either commit to a long term tour schedule, or stop playing. The band decided to call it quits at Smilefest in May of 2005. The decision to disband would not stand. After only a two year break, the people called for the music to continue, and at the frequent and steadfast urging of Blue Mountain Artists, the Syndicate decided to play again.
From the very beginning the band resolved to play honest, good music with emphasis on musicianship and vocal harmonies. The mission was to provide good music to the masses as an alternative to the cookie cutter, self-centered industry standards of the day. Their body of original material always conveyed a positive message of coexistence, peace, conservation, sustainability and happiness. They opted to leave the sappy love songs to those who take no exception to wasting the precious time and minds of the body politic.

Acoustic Syndicate plays on with its message of peace, earth, unity and family. The Syndicate will enter the studio this winter to begin work on their 7th recording. They can be found out and about in the South East touring with their new music and their newest addition to the group, dobro player Billy Cardine.

Biography: Lyle Cordova.

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Jay Sanders has long been a staple in the Asheville music scene. One of the “go to” bass players in the area, Jay has toured extensively with Acoustic Syndicate, Donna The Buffalo, Snake Oil Medicine Show, and countless others.

Throughout the spring of 2010, Sanders lead the Mindtonic Music Series on Tuesday evenings at the Rocket Club in West Asheville. He brought together a dynamic edge of collaborative players, each performance resulting in a completely different sound than the week before. Groups were assembled to bridge various music scenes and to showcase the co-creations that form when unlikely musical companions of contrasting styles are set free in an open environment.

On Wednesday, November 3rd, the Best of the Mindtonic Music Series will be making a special appearance at The Grey Eagle in Asheville. The new combination of Jay Sanders, Bill Cardine and Andy Pond will be joined by special guest percussionist, River Guerguerian. The improvisational spirit of The E.Normus Trio opens the show. The show starts at 9pm. $8 Advance, $10 Door.

Collectively, Sanders, Cardine and Pond are three of the most celebrated talents in Western North Carolina. Dobro master Bill Cardine has long been a signature sound of the Biscuit Burners and was recently featured on Jerry Douglas’ tribute to Tut Taylor. Andy Pond is one of the banjo world’s best kept secret, making his sound known through the Snake Oil Medicine Show. The Porous Borders of Music was an experience that brought together the musical talents of Andy Pond and Bill Cardine and could easily describe their continued odyssey as they expand upon infinite creative horizons.

For a sneak peak at what they have to offer, check out these videos from their first show at Pisgah Brewing with Jeff Sipe sitting in: http://wp.me/pxjHY-HR.

Some of their music is also available to download at http://mindtonic.net/media/SCPS. Just right click on the link from the index page and you can save it to i-tunes.

______________________________________________________________________

Formed in 2007, The E.Normus Trio is an adventurous Jazz spirit comprised of Steve Alford on alto & bass clarinet, Billy Seawell on drums, and Jay Sanders on bass. Steve Alford is the director of the jazz program at Mars Hill College and a frequent participant in the Asheville Jazz Orchestra. One of the most expressive drummers you will ever see, Billy Seawell is best known for his work with the Snake Oil Medicine Show. The essence of creativity is emphasized in collective improvisations that traverse a wide musical spectrum. The E.Normus Trio has held residencies at the Jolie Rouge and The Rocket Club, making weekly performances the stuff of legendary exploration.

For more info visit: www./mindtonic.net


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I had such an amazing time this weekend at Shakori Hills in Silk Hope, NC hanging with friends, seeing some fantastic music, eating great food and generally lovin’ life! I got to see some of Donna the Buffalo, Preston Frank Zydeco, Snake Oil Medicine Show, Woody Pines, The Double E’s, Amelia’s Mechanics, Hee Haw Nightmare, Greg Humphreys, Big Fat Gap, Mandolin Orange and lots more!

I also spent a lot of time with my friends in the new “Green Room Lounge”‘ that they set up at the festival to take some film of musician interviews and sessions. They are going to launch their new website, Fingerlakes Unplugged and post some of the footage in a month or so, so stay tuned to http://fingerlakesunplugged.com. Posted below are some of the snapshots I took while in the Lounge.

Greg Humphreys in the Green Room Lounge

The Hee Haw Nightmare Band

The Smart Brothers

Tara Nevins, Ed Poullard, and Preston Frank discussing Creole, Cajun, and Zydeco

Woody Pines

Luigi at work...

Check out Caroline Pond’s Blog from the fest as well. It’s got a great video of Snake Oil Medicine Show: http://carolinepond.wordpress.com/2010/10/12/dance-tent-joy/

And click here for great footage from Shakori Hills Festival uploaded by people on YouTube.

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Click the album art to get downloads and the vinyl~

Just in time for Halloween:
Mad Tea Party’s  ROCK N ROLL GHOUL

EP Release events:

Oct 2nd ~ The Pour House ~ Raleigh, NC
Oct 15th ~
Stella Blue (opening for Mark Sultan) ~ Asheville, NC
Oct 16th ~ The Double Door Inn~ Charlotte, NC

Asheville’s rock ‘n’ roll duo Mad Tea Party celebrate their favorite holiday again this year with ROCK N ROLL GHOUL, a follow-up to 2009’s ZOMBIE BOOGIE. With garage-rock icon Greg Cartwright (Reigning Sound, Oblivions) at the production helm, this year’s monster offering promises to make you howl at the moon.

Mad Tea Party provides their usual palate of shimmering vocal harmonies over Jason Krekel’s one-man-band juke joint guitar/percussion and Ami Worthen’s electric ukulele. Of course, ROCK N ROLL GHOUL also includes some sonic surprises.

The EP offers up 4 spooky selections for your rockin’ Halloween party. “Possessed,” a 60s-tinged psychedelic number, features Worthen’s wicked vocals and a demonic guitar solo from Mr. Cartwright. The furious screamer “Rock ‘n’ Roll Ghoul” expounds upon the theme of flesh-eating music critics while drivin’ rocker “Dr. Phibes” is an ode to the popular Vincent Price villain. The duo close with the Hollywood Flames’ song “Frankenstein’s Den” with Cartwright on drum kit and Caroline Pond (Snake Oil Medicine Show) joining Worthen on doo-wop vocals.

ROCK N ROLL GHOUL is available as a 7” vinyl record and as digital downloads. The EC horror comics inspired art for the record was hand drawn by San Francisco artist Gus Cutty.


Start off the season with some new spooky songs!
If you pre-order the vinyl record before October 1, they will also give you a limited edition hand-carved Dr. Phibes poster by Mad Tea Party’s own Jason Krekel!

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Music on the Mountaintop in Boone enters is third year:
Lineup includes Sam Bush, Railroad Earth, Keller Williams, Toubab Krewe, Acoustic Syndicate, Larry Keel, Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band

August 27-28, 2010

Boone fairgrounds (formerly The High Country Fairgrounds)
748 Roby Greene Road
Boone, NC 27607

Music on the Mountaintop is scheduled for August 27th and 28th, tucked away in the heart of the high country at Boone fairgrounds (formerly the Old High Country Fairgrounds). MOTM is the first ever green festival in Boone, NC and it took the High Country by surprise and is now entering it’s third year. What started as a class project at Appalachian State University grew into one of the largest musical events the town had seen in nearly a decade.

Acoutic Syndicate

Music on the Mountaintop has expanded this year to include two full days of unmatched music featuring several national acts, creating an eclectic blend of Americana, bluegrass, and acoustic funk and folk. Festival goers can enjoy a kids zone, a 30 ft. climbing wall and multiple jump arounds, limited 2 night camping, over 30 bands throughout 20 hours of music, 30 art and craft vendors, 10 interactive and hands on non-profit exhibits. Music on the Mountaintop is entertainment for people of all ages and backgrounds.

MOTM’s Lineup includes Sam Bush, Railroad Earth, Keller Williams, Toubab Krewe, Acoustic Syndicate, Larry Keel and Natural Bridge, Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band, Josh Phillips Folk Festival, Snake Oil Medicine Show, Holy Ghost Tent Revival, The Movement, Do it to Julia, Uncle Mountain, Now You See Them, The Mumbles, Big Daddy Love, Moon Taxi, The Native Sway, Naked Gods, Farm Vegas, BPL, The Moderate, Doc Aquatic, Mama’s Love, Sign of the Rhino, Tom Tom Roach, Gurad the Van, Southern Exposure and more.

Larry Keel

MOTM’s Mission is to bridge the gap between traditional business and environmental stewardship. Through the medium of music MOTM hopes to educate while entertaining, offering practical and useful information to help people live a more sustainable and green lifestyle. MOTM hopes by offering the best musical talent, as well as positive environmental message, “we can change the world one person at a time”.  At the end of the day, MOTM hopes to offer a significant financial contribution back to the cause and research of renewable and alternative energy.

Live Environmental Forum – Recreating an idea from the Bonnaroo Music Festival, MOTM is hosting a live forum made up of some of the the top artists performing. This will allow fans to interact with the musicians on relevant and current environmental issues. Similarly to the MOTM particular sponsor selections, MOTM also books musicians that have similar ecological mindsets.

Food Drive – MOTM has teamed up with several Greek social organizations from Appalachian State University to host a canned food drive benefiting the local Hunger Coalition, as well as encouraging our attendees to give financial donations. The fraternities and sororities at Appalachian State have always had effective and generous community activism and we are happy to bring the two together.

Yo Mama's Big fat Booty Band

Other Greeen Initiatives include a River cleanup of the New River, solar staging, attentive recycling and composting campaigns, large scale shuttle and carpooling efforts.

The Green Village
In addition to their coop with, the Green Village at Music on the Mountaintop is a conglomerate of some of the most efficient and amazing non-profit organizations in the field of environmental and social awareness.  These organizations include: NC Green Power, Appalachian Voices , ASU Energy Center , High Country Conservancy , Dogwood Alliance , Habitat for Humanity , Hunger Coalition, amongst others

Non-profit beneficiary: This year MOTM has teamed with one of the most active non-profits out there today, Appalachian Voices (www.appalachianvoices.org) Appalachian Voices brings people together to solve the environmental problems having the greatest impact on the central and southern Appalachian Mountains, specifically air pollution and mountaintop removal.

2009 Details: In 2009, MOTM gave $5,000 to AIRE, recycled nearly 2,000 lbs of aluminum, and had over 4,000 in attendance., doubled from the year before. MOTM was voted number one green fest in country 2009 by Blue Ridge Outdoors.

For more information on the festival and the company, please view this video produced by Chris Bledsoe of Appalachian State’s media services: http://today.appstate.edu/music-on-the-mountain/

Fun Quotes about MOTM:

Won a Greenie Award for Country’s Greenest Festival by Blue Ridge Outdooors:

Amazingly, the festival, which takes place on August 29, was started last year as a school project by recent Appalachian State University graduate James Hunt. His assignment was to create a business plan for an entrepreneurship class. Hunt saw a void in large-scale music production in Boone, so he mapped out a plan to bring the area a festival of its own. Unwilling to let the idea sit dormant in a class paper, he formed his own company and moved forward. Last year the inaugural event drew 2,500 people. ~ Jedd Ferris,  Blue Ridge Outdoors

“The efficient, earth-conscious event requires relatively little land space, and the organizers strive and succeeded in making the festival one of the most environmentally considerate in the country. Volunteers combed the grounds all day encouraging garbage gathering and recycling, while a village of eco-conscious organizations and companies greeted the nearly 4,200 attendees upon entry.

Music on the Mountaintop has an impressive musical history for such a young event, and there’s already a legacy of artistry being established via repeat performances from headliners and local favorites alike. Luminaries like Sam Bush, Acoustic Syndicate and Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band have performed at both iterations, helping give the event an air of tradition waiting to take hold.”

The town of Boone would do well to hold on to and foster the event, which this year became the largest music event ever staged in the picturesque town. There’s a dedicated and enthusiastic team of people and a cavalcade of top-notch artists ready to make the festival a treasured yearly tradition.”


“Stellar performances were to be expected from these world-class artists, but none could have anticipated the numerous collaborations that occurred.” … “~ Bryan Rodgers,  Glide Magazine

“One thing, though, that I really liked about some of the food vendors were those who were a little more conscientious about what was being served. For example, the food made by students using locally grown produce, and another who offered antibiotic/cage free chicken. Small things. But a step in the right direction. It was refreshing to have these types of options at a ‘green’ event such as this.

I was also pretty impressed with the emphasis they put on recycling with signs and stewards who walked around passing out personal trash bags for groups accumulating cans and other garbage to help cut down on litter found later on. I was extremely pleased with the extra measures put in place. The Music on the Mountaintop Festival is clearly becoming a great example in keeping the focus on sustainability.” ~ Jessica Maceda,  Wayfaring Wanderer

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Music on the Mountaintop is a one of a kind, ecologically driven large-scale music festival, offering first class entertainment as well as educational awareness on current environmental issues.

Music on the Mountaintop will now be 2 days!

3rd Annual Music on the Mountaintop, August 27th and 28th, 2010.

2010 Initial Lineup:

Sam Bush, Toubab Krewe, Acoustic Syndicate, Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band, Larry Keel and Natural Bridge

Snake Oil Medicine Show, Josh Phillips Folk Festival, Holy Ghost Tent Revival

Do it to Julia, The Movement, The Native Sway, Uncle Mountain, Doc Aquatic, Farm Vegas, BPL, Mama’s Love, The Moderate

Remember that the message of Music on the Mountaintop is to “Educate While Entertaining” and keep the messages of the event with you all year around.

The first ever green festival in Boone, NC took the High Country by surprise. What started as a class project at Appalachian State University grew into one of the largest musical events the town had seen in nearly a decade.

Nearly 2,500 attendees enjoyed a full day of top notch musical talent from the local and national scene as well as interactive educational exhibits promoting environmental stewardship provided by more than 15 non-profits from across the state of North Carolina. Music on the Mountaintop was entertainment for people of all ages and backgrounds.

Whether it was enjoying the Grammy-winning dobro of Jerry Douglas, grubbing down on the local barbeque and burgers, or practicing your skills on the 30-foot climbing wall, there was certainly never a dull moment down at the High Country Fair Grounds.

The Cause:
At the end of the day, MOTM hopes  to offer a significant financial contribution back to the cause and research of renewable and alternative energy.

The Mission:
The mission with Music on the Mountaintop is to bridge the gap between traditional business and environmental stewardship. Through the medium of music we hope to educate while entertaining, offering practical and useful information to help you live a more sustainable and green lifestyle. MOTM hopes by offering the best musical talent, as well as positive environmental message, we can change the world one person at a time.

Find Music on the Mountaintop on the web:

musiconthemountaintop.com

facebook.com/MusicOnTheMountaintop

twitter.com/MOTMBoone

yellowdogent.com

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by Alli Marshall in Vol. 15 / Iss. 23 on 12/31/2008

Mountain Xpress

http://www.mountainx.com/ae/2007/123108any_reason_for_the_season_the_other_new_year/

Once, when Asheville-based musician Andy Pond passed through customs into the Montego Bay airport, a member of the Mento band (which greets tourists) noticed his banjo case. “Going to Jamaica with a musical instrument makes people treat you differently,” Pond says. He suddenly found himself picking along with the band, welcoming fellow tourists—including the cast of MTV’s “Jackass” series.

Sound crazy? In under three hours’ flight time, you could be in sunny Jamaica, rum drink in hand, warm breeze blowing off the turquoise ocean and strains of—no, not reggae or steel drums—Larry Keel welcoming you to paradise.

Unlikely but true, and all part of the annual random-but-not-without-reason Chinese New Year Celebration (CHNY), held in the Jamaican beach town of Negril. This January’s gathering, which attracts many Western N.C. residents, artists and musicians, heralds the year of the Ox.

This particular Chinese New Year event got its start as a gathering of friends that moved from country to country. The Jamaican location stuck—despite the oddity of a Chinese holiday in the Caribbean—and soon word got out, catapulting the private festivities to public ones.

“The intention of the celebration is to … build a culture of peace and community through travel, music, arts and play to set a positive tone for the New Year,” reads the event Web site. In fact, CHNY has been taking place for the better part of a decade and not only provides a full itinerary of music and fun in the sun, but also opportunities to explore Jamaican culture and contribute to social projects.

One project, close to the heart of Pond (who first came to CHNY—and Jamaica—in 2001 when his band, Snake Oil Medicine Show, was invited), is the West Haven Children’s Home for the Disabled. “We originally volunteered to play a concert for the kids,” he recalls. “It was heavy. This is an orphanage for physically-challenged children andadults.” Organizers approached the Children’s Home staff to see how CHNY attendees could help. The answer: “We don’t need money, we need humans to visit,” Pond says.

“We spent a week doing art projects and serving food,” Pond recalls. “I always wondered if we helped them or just helped our own consciousness.”

He adds, “You can impact one person for one week. I go [to Jamaica] and realize how much I actually have.”

Pond understands that for some, the visit to Jamaica is about vacation and concerts. “That’s okay,” he says. “We know it’s not comfortable to go to the orphanages and see people who have less.” CHNY’s service mark also comes in the event’s commitment to support Jamaican-owned businesses. This is especially important on the Caribbean island where international resorts bring no return to local economies. It’s worth noting that while CHNY comes with a price tag (even musicians and volunteers pay their own way), the event organizers have already done the legwork to help visitors make the most impact with their American dollars, and avoid as many hassles as possible.

Another opportunity to learn (and WNC connection) comes through the ongoing One Love Reasoning Seminars, lead by Robert Roskind, author of Rasta Heart: A Journey into One Love and Gathering of the Peacemakers, both of which deal with Jamaican elders who wish to further the Bob Marley principal of love and freedom for all humanity. Roskind is a resident of Blowing Rock, N.C., but he and his wife Julia travel frequently to Jamaica.

Pond notes that there’s a long-standing (if informal) exchange program between the Appalachian Mountains and Jamaica. “Asheville and Negril have a strange exchange of music. Before there was Snake Oil Medicine Show, there was Ras Alan,” he says. “I personally had a musical epiphany. The simplicity and the poetry of reggae touched me.”

what: Chinese New Year 2009, a week-long celebration of peace, community, the arts and travel
where: Negril, Jamaica
when: Saturday, Jan. 24-Saturday, Jan. 31 (Packages run $750-$2610, not including airfare. At press time, airfare ran around $300 for a direct flight from Charlotte, N.C. to Montego Bay, Jamaica.http://www.chny.org.)

The lineup

Chinese New Year 2009 attendees may be surprised by just how familiar the bands performing at the Jamaican resort seem. That’s because a significant portion of the roster is Asheville-based. Here’s who’s playing:
• Kenyatta “Culture” Hill: The son of ‘70’s era reggae star Joseph Hill, Jamaica-based Kenyatta carries on the family legacy. He recently released his first solo album, Pass the Torch.
• Laura Reed and Deep Pocket: Influenced by roots reaching from front woman Reed’s South African home to the American South, this Asheville-based big band blends reggae, R&B, soul and funk for a captivating and high-energy live show.
• CX-1: At first look, CX-1 is a mini-version of Snake Oil Medicine Show. In fact, the Pond Brothers’ side project (a.k.a. “The Blackhole Bluegrass Boys”) allows its members to further explore the connections between reggae and bluegrass.
• The Overtakers: This Negril-based husband and wife project (led by Ruben and Ruth Brooks) has collaborated with CX-1 for a transcendent Asheville show, as well using their music to uplift their own Jamaican community.
• Josh Phillips: Formerly of Asheville’s Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band, Phillips recent went solo with a the seamless debut release, Wicker. Upbeat songwriting and folky reggae-meets-hip-hop make up a not-to-be-missed Josh Phillips performance.
• Fred Tackett and Paul Barrerre: These guitarists, both of the legendary band Little Feat, have their own band known appropriately, as Paul and Fred-The Acoustic Duo. Fred is from Arkansas, Paul from California.
• Acoustic Syndicate: Formed in 1992 by brothers Bryon and Fitz McMurry and cousin Steve McMurry, the acoustic Americana outfit logged many road miles and built an impressive fan base before they quit touring in 2005. After a two-year hiatus, the core group reunited for occasional show dates.
• Larry Keel & Natural Bridge: Expert picking, fiery licks and roots music performed with modern flare underscore a Natural Bridge show. The sounds are second only Virginia-based musician Larry Keel’s penchant for creating a family feel wherever he goes.
• Snake Oil Medicine Show: This long-term Asheville collective, including George and Andy Pond, Caroline Pond, Billy Seawell, Sean Foley and, occasionally, painter Phil Cheney, has the uncanny ability to turn any crowd into a party.

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