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Free Music Series Resume Locally

Local native Joe Lasher is a rising country and Southern rock singer and guitarist shown performing when he was 19.

Hendersonville – Sounds and sights return some normalcy in July as several free music series resume in Hendersonville and Asheville.

Abby Bryant & the Echoes headline Hendersonville’s Rhythm & Brews on July 15 and Acoustic Syndicate plays in Asheville the next day as local free outdoor music series start their seasons this month.

The immense increase in musical entertainment helps make up for the lost summer of 2020 when many public events were canceled due to the pandemic. Some shifted to online “virtual” shows. These series are back on board this summer, though begun later than usual to coincide with many more people being vaccinated against COVID-19 and with gathering restrictions eased statewide. Unvaccinated people especially are still urged to wear masks at such events.

Music on Main, Car Show

The weekly Music on Main on Fridays begins Friday, Aug. 9 from 7 to 9 p.m. It is at its usual site outside the Visitor Center at 2012 S. Main St. in Downtown Hendersonville. Daniel Sage is performing; the New York City-based singer-songwriter is a multi-instrumentalist. He performed in Carnegie Hall in NYC and the Lincoln Center in D.C. He once sang with Carly Simon.

Patrons should bring chairs, but no earlier than 5:30 p.m. Coolers, alcoholic beverages and backpacks are prohibited. In the case of rain, the show is postponed up to an hour before potential cancellation.

A Classic Car Cruise-In coincides with many Music on Main concerts, including the opener. Dozens of antique and vintage vehicles will be parked on Main between Barnwell and Caswell streets for free viewing. That area will be closed to traffic. The area Carolina Mountain Car Club organizes these shows.

To find the Music on Main schedule, check visithendersonville.org or call sponsor Henderson County Tourism Development Authority at 693-9708.

Rhythm & Brews

Two free monthly series kick off next week. Hendersonville’s popular Rhythm & Brews draws many patrons from Asheville. The opener’s headliner on July 15 is an Asheville act. Abby Bryant & The Echoes was still known as DownTown Abby & The Echoes when they won FloydFest’s On-the-Rise Competition in 2019. This earned the band five time slots on stage in that renowned festival in Virginia in two weeks.

Abby Bryant & The Echoes’ newest single releases vary in tempo. They are soulfully rocking “Better Now,” flowing pop “Roll With Me” and ballad “Hold Me.” Abby Bryant sings soulfully like her idols Grace Potter and Susan Tedeschi. Bryant said she typically writes at least one song per week, starting with the melody. The Gastonia native is a 2017 Appalachian State grad.

The show opener is the Andrew Thelston Band. Thelston has high-pitched vocals and often creates psychedelic grooves on guitar.

The summer series is on third Thursdays. Openers start at 5:30. Main acts perform 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Other headliners and openers are Jamie McLean Band (delta blues)/Hustle Souls (soul) on Aug. 19, Mike and the Moonpies (country)/Kenny George Band (Southern rock) Sept. 16, then The Broadcast (R&B) on Oct. 21.

The Broadcast of Asheville opened Rhythm & Brews in recent years and this time anchors it. The funky rock band’s new CD is entitled Lost My Sight. The Broadcast played June 13 at Asheville’s Salvage Station – outdoors with group “pod” seating.

Earthy singer Caitlin Krisko, like Bryant, belts out very powerful and soulful vocals. Both original rock bands also feature prolific guitarists — The Broadcast’s Aaron Austin and Abby’s Bailey Faulkner. Both acts will play in FloydFest. They shared the bill for a 2019 New Year’s Eve gig in Asheville.

Rhythm & Brews was launched in 2013 by Friends of Downtown Hendersonville. Horizon Heating & Air is the main sponsor. The site is South Main between Allen and Caswell streets. That area will be closed to traffic.

The series showcases area musicians who craft original music including nationally rising acts along with local microbrews or wine from these vendors: Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards, Sierra Nevada, Bold Rock Hard Cider, Flat Rock Cider, D9 Brewing, Dry Falls Brewery, Guidon Brewing, Oklawaha Brewing and Triskelion Brewing.

A new feature this year is the R&B Super Fan Sponsor Tent. This is a fee-based shaded viewing area equipped with beer, wine and light refreshments. The series price of $400 provides two tent tickets and two T-shirts per concert. The Hands On! Kids Zone returns.

Asheville’s After Five

Downtown After Five is back in Asheville for its 33rd season. People mob North Lexington Avenue by I-240 for it. Acoustic Syndicate is the season opener’s headliner on Friday, July 16. The esteemed eclectic roots band, born out of Shelby 27 years ago, blends bluegrass with rock and other styles for energetic and danceable “newgrass.”

The opening act is country-Southern rock artist Joe Lasher. The North Buncombe alumnus is 24. He moved to Nashville when he was 19. He hunts and fishes near his 300-acre farm there. Lasher blends many styles ranging from his grandfather’s gospel singing to gritty Jon Bon Jovi-like rock. Lasher touts his “positive attitude and message” in his songs and live shows.

The other two Downtown After Five concerts in 2021 are headlined by Abby Bryant & The Echoes Aug. 20 then Asheville All-Stars Sept. 17.

Hand-sanitizing stations and vendors processing credit cards to reduce money handling are among the pandemic-era precautions arranged by series host Asheville Downtown Association.

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