Festival Preview

Music on the Montford Avenue Stage

Ben Scales, Festival Co-Director

We’re really excited about this year’s music, which combines a bit of star power with the wide diversity of styles we’ve all come to expect from this festival.  As always, every act has direct ties to our neighborhood.

In between musical acts, we’ll be entertained by Asheville Shakesperience, the professional touring company of the Montford Park Players, Morris dancing from Asheville Morris Men and Ashgrove Garland, including a Maypole celebration, and the return of the Mountain Lion Chinese Dragon dancers.  Plus, there will be surprise performers, and a special guest MC or two.

Here’s this year’s schedule of musical performances on the Montford Avenue Stage.

11:00 a.m.— Kon Tiki..  Tropical lounge swing.  The band is Lin Llewellen on ukulele, Russ Wilson on drums, Hank Bones on guitar and lap steel, and Henry Westmoreland on tuba.  Described as “Sailing the South Seas (on a Balsa log Raft),” the band features the soulful crooning of Wilson and Bones set against the sweet wahine vocals of Llewellen.  www.myspace.com/kontikimusic

12:15 p.m.—Ira Bernstein and John Herrmann.  Ira is a world-class percussive step dancer and one of the co-founders of the Montford Festival.  As in years past, he’ll be joined for this performance by John, the legendary Zen Master of Old-Time, on fiddle, banjo, and guitar, and other musicians for a classic set of music and dance celebrating the rich traditions of the Southern Appalachians, plus, maybe, another special guest or two. www.tentoepercussion.com

1:15 p.m.—Buncombe Turnpike.  Buncombe Turnpike plays a variety of heartfelt tunes ranging from traditional and contemporary bluegrass to gospel and hand crafted originals. With their crowd pleasing demeanor, seasoned musicianship, and powerful vocals, the band has made a name for itself among traditional and contemporary listeners alike. www.buncombeturnpike.com

2:30 p.m.— Snake Oil Medicine Show.  Fronted by former Montford resident Caroline Pond, the Snake Oil Medicine Show is an eclectic and fun mix of bluegrass, jazz, reggae, and dance grooves from all over the world.  Being based in the NC Mountains gives their music a hillbilly undertone, but travels to Europe and Jamaica have greatly influenced their music.  www.reverbnation.com/snakeoilmedicineshow

3:45 p.m.—Free Flow Band.  Making their return to the Montford Festival after last year’s successful debut is this trio of performers with their unique brand of “Old Skool R&B and Funk.”  Percussionist and lead singer Roger “Lil’ Rog” Ware, keyboard player Kevin “Kazual” Collins sharing lead vocals, and Darrell “BNote” Griffin on bass and vocals will take you to a place they like to call Planet Funk. www.freeflowband.info

5:00 p.m.— David Holt and the Lightning Bolts with Reggie Harris.  For over three decades, David’s passion for traditional music and culture has fueled a successful performing and recording career. He has earned four Grammy Awards and performed and recorded with many of his mentors including Doc Watson, Grandpa Jones, Bill Monroe, Earl Scruggs, Roy Acuff, and Chet Atkins. www.davidholt.com  

6:15 p.m.— WestSound.  The sensation of the past three years’ festivals, WestSound will once again rock the avenue with high-energy Motown, blues, R&B, and soul that had everybody humming, singing, and dancing.  Don’t miss them!  www.facebook.com/pages/WestSound/215017765645?v=info

We hope this line-up will provide a little something for everybody for our ninth annual celebration of all things Montford.


Festival Preview

Music on the Soco Street Stage

Dave Baker, Soco Stage Coordinator

Springtime brings thoughts of festivals, sunshine, and good times. The Ninth Annual Montford Music and Arts Festival fortunately has that and a lot more. The Soco Street stage was wildly successful last year and should prove to be even moreso in 2012. Check out the amazing talent that we have for your listening and dancing pleasure.

10:00 a.m.—Evergreen EMBE Marimba Band.  This group of twelve-to-fourteen year olds from Evergreen Community Charter School performs primarily on handmade Zimbabwean style marimbas as well as a variety of other percussion instruments.  EMBE, a Swahili word for mango, also stands for Evergreen Multicultural Beat Ensemble, whose purpose is to explore music from around the world.  www.evergreenccs.org

11:00 a.m.—Dub Kartel.  This band is a seven-piece instrumental reggae act from Asheville.  Formed in 2010 from members of Shining Rock, “The Farm”- based funk band Strut, and Common Foundation, Dub Kartel makes music that will make you dance away your worries. www.facebook.com/pages/Dub-Kartel/170159459714894

Noon—BitterSweet.   Wanda Newman’s bluesy vocals and straight-ahead piano blend with Joe Newman’s mellow voice and acoustic guitar.  BitterSweet entertains with blues and rock hits, from Roberta Flack to Adele, mixed with gems that are ‘way too cool to ever make the Top 40.

1:00 p.m.—The Secret B Sides.  “We all knew about the Secret B-Sides way back when . . . But when the local old-school-meets-new-school soul/funk/R&B outfit dropped its sophomore album Flowers & Chocolate earlier this year, those sultry, sweaty, swaggering sounds hit just the right note.” Alli Marshall, Mountain Xpress.  www.thesecretb-sides.com

2:00 p.m.—The Judas Horse.  The Judas Horse has been referred to by one reviewer as “slow core” with a mix of folk band and danceable post-punk, while another reviewer has said, “the trio has carved a niche in a style full of emotions with the ability to allow the creation of a sound  . . .  full of charm and never too cloying but making a direct contact with the listener’s imagination.”  The Judas Horse performs after their Southern Regional Tour and release of their new vinyl and digital Holy Warwww.thejudashorse.homestead.com

3:00 p.m.—Lyric.  Pop, rock, funk.  With the standout voice of Leeda Jones, Lyric is a group made up of natural talents that will take you to a place you can’t forget, a group that uses music as an expression of pain, joys, and hope.  This street team is a born replica of the legends that created movements.  reverbnation.com/lyricfans

4:00 p.m.—Jahman Brahman.  Shred ‘N’ Flow is how Jahman Brahman describes their unique style, meaning dynamic sound with a wide breadth of influence but a focus on rich and fluid progressions of energy. From classic rock to electronica to punk to jazz, elements from many genres are found in the band’s music as it unfolds into powerful jams and creative compositions.  www.jahmanbrahman.com

5:00 p.m.—Pick Your Switch.  “Twangy, driving Americana . . . [Paul] Edelman and his three-piece band Pick Your Switch (featuring Dave Baker on bass and vocal harmonies and Elzy Lindsey on drums) . . . may get loud and raucous, but there’s always careful attention given to melody and storytelling.”  Laura Blackley, Take5/Citizen-Times  www.pickyourswitch.com

6:00 p.m.—The Swayback Sisters.  The Swayback Sisters are a close-harmony, country-soul trio based out of Asheville and comprised of Laura Blackley, Cary Fridley, and Mary Ellen Bush. Their music pays loving homage to the likes of Bessie Smith, Ola Belle Reed, and Memphis Minnie, and their live shows bridge the past and future, with one foot firmly planted in the here and now. www.reverbnation.com/theswaybacksisters

MontfordFest celebrates the diversity of music and art in our region, especially from the Montford neighborhood. So come out and enjoy our free one-day festival and be sure to stop by the Soco Street stage for some great live, local music!