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WHERE: The Altamont Theatre, 18 Church St., 28801
WHEN: Friday April 14, 2017
DOORS: 7pm | SHOW: 8pm
GENRE: improv comedy
AGES: all ages
TICKETS: $10 g.a. / $15 VIP (guaranteed seating in 1st three rows!)
SEATING: seated general admission
WEB LISTING: http://thealtamonttheatre.com/event/RPB

Reasonably Priced Babies:

Improv Comedy of Western North Carolina and called into being by the Universal Mind to spread joy, odd noises and viral goofiness for the betterment of man.

An Evening of improv comedy with Reasonably Priced Babies

WHERE: The Altamont Theatre, 18 Church St., 28801
WHEN: Saturday July 15, 2017
DOORS: 7pm | SHOW: 8pm
GENRE: americana / folk
AGES: all ages
TICKETS: $10 adv. / $12 d.o.s. / $15 VIP (guaranteed seating in 1st 3 rows!)
SEATING: seated general admission
WEB LISTING: http://thealtamonttheatre.com/event/Jane

Jane Kramer, Songstress:

WEBSITE: www.janekramer.net
HEAR SOME MUSIC: www.janekramer.net/audio
SEE A VIDEO: https://youtu.be/Nez4n8JjpLI

“Jane Kramer makes gorgeous music. With sensual magnetism in her voice, honesty in her lyrics and elegance in her melodies, her songs cast a wonderful spell. Give ‘Carnival of Hopes’ a listen, you will be taken on a lovely ride deep in the mystical world on an artist on the rise.”
-Mary Gauthier, American songwriter and performer

Vocalist and songwriter Jane Kramer independently released her gutsy and ambrosial second solo album entitled Carnival of Hopes on Friday, February 26, 2016. With deep ties to the area, Carnival of Hopes boasts a sparkling cast of Ashevillian producers and players. Kramer’s longtime friend Adam Johnson of Sound Lab Studios, whose portfolio of clients includes such names as Alison Krauss and Yo Yo Ma, produced and engineered the album. You can now pick it up at iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/carnival-of-hopes/id1071615103

The ten-song album was recorded at the award-winning Sound Temple Studios in February of 2015, while she still lived on the other side of the country in Portland, Oregon. A few months later, after a four-year run spent writing and reflecting on the West Coast, Jane Kramer pulled up stakes and returned to Western North Carolina with a renewed energy to share her new music with the world. The sense of homecoming that rings through was a conscious effort, Kramer says. “I did that because Asheville is my dirt. It’s my home and my culture, musically and otherwise. I missed it and knew somewhere in my bones I would be coming back to stay soon,” she says.

Kramer is backed by Chris Rosser on piano and harmonium, Eliot Wadopian on upright bass and River Guerguerian on drums and percussion, the virtuoso trio that comprises Free Planet Radio, as well as master Georgia-based bluegrass musicians/ multi-instrumentalists, Pace Conner (steel string, high string and baritone guitars, ukulele, mandolin, and backing vocals) and Michael Evers (Dobro, banjo, mandolin, and backing vocals) who arranged the songs for recording and perform and tour with Kramer regularly. Virtuoso players, Nicky Sanders of Steep Canyon Rangers and Franklin Keel of Sirius B play orchestral fiddle and cello, respectively, on “Good Woman.” The New Orleans jazz-influenced “Why’d I Do That Blues,” features a horn section comprised of JP Furnas on trombone and Ben Hovey on trumpet.

She credits her songwriting hero and mentor, Mary Gauthier, with helping her reach for, and express, everything she hoped to communicate with the album. Carnival of Hopes aches and soars with her connections to Appalachian balladry, a force she first encountered at Warren Wilson College and honed while performing with the Asheville-based all-female trio, the Barrel House Mamas, who helped reintroduce Americana music to the Blue Ridge Mountains a decade ago. However, it is as a solo artist where the power of Kramer’s songwriting and world-class vocals truly shine. The songs on the album were all penned by Kramer with the exception of one cover, “Down South,” written by Tom Petty.”

An Evening with Jane Kramer, backed by Free Planet Radio & Billy Cardine – [folk / americana / Appalachian]

WHERE: The Altamont Theatre, 18 Church St., 28801
WHEN: Thursday May 18, 2017
DOORS: 7pm | SHOW: 8pm
GENRE: indie-soul / americana
AGES: all ages
TICKETS: $10 adv. / $12 d.o.s. / $15 VIP (guaranteed seating in 1st 3 rows!)
SEATING: seated general admission
WEB LISTING: http://thealtamonttheatre.com/event/Dulci

Big Sound Harbor:

WEBSITE: www.dulcisings.com/big-sound-harbor.html
SEE A VIDEO: https://youtu.be/4OXnqlfkCVs

Original music by Dulci Ellenberger, along with carefully-selected and thoughtfully-arranged covers.

An Evening with Dulci & Big Sound Harbor – [soul / americana]

WHERE: The Altamont Theatre, 18 Church St., 28801
WHEN: Thursday June 22, 2017
DOORS: 7pm | SHOW: 8pm
GENRE: rock n’ roll
AGES: all ages
TICKETS: FREE SHOW!
SEATING: seated general admission
WEB LISTING: http://thealtamonttheatre.com/event/Rett

Rett Smith:

WEBSITE: www.rettsmithmusic.com
HEAR SOME MUSIC: https://soundcloud.com/rettsmithmusic
SEE A VIDEO: https://youtu.be/H_otLUIHWjs

Rett Smith comes from a dark place. Literally. Oscuro, New Mexico, to be exact – a town named for the Spanish word for “dark,” near where he spent time as a teen in those southwest mountains. It’s also the title of his new EP, a four-song journey into those shaded corners of existence, exploring hardship, heartbreak and redemption through bluesy riffs, a retro soul and Smith’s raw, honest howl. A new and unstoppable presence on the musical landscape, Smith’s focused on cranking the feedback high, the guitars loud and keeping the studio tricks to a minimum: Oscuro may conjure darkness, but it’s pure, analog rock & roll that he’s helping back into the light.

With that approach, it’s no wonder that Grammy-wining producer Joe Nicolo, who has worked with the Rolling Stones and Aerosmith, was so drawn to Smith’s early recordings that he invited him to create his debut, Tularosa, in his Philadelphia studio – in a world enamored equally by synth-based EDM and earnest banjo-laced roots music, Smith stands out as someone more intent on bringing back the days of when guitars sounded like guitars, and artists looked to blues and soul gods like Lead Belly and Robert Johnson for true inspiration. Some might say rock & roll is dead, but Smith would beg to differ: and Oscuro is his argument why.

“Rock is where my heart lies,” says Smith, who refuses to buck to trends. “On stage, and on the record, I just always want something to happen – that intangible moment. My heart lies in rock and heavy, charging blues, and I if didn’t play that, how could I say my songs were real?”

Born in Texas, Smith has lived everywhere from Austria to New York to now Nashville, with time spent, of course, in New Mexico, where he grew up on the professional skiing circuit. Though sports seem like a far cry from his days now as a singer-songwriter, the similarities were often more numerous than not: he lived a life on the road away from his family, constantly pressuring his body to perform even when it was pushed to the edge, looking for sanity and companionship in an increasingly isolating world. Turns out, sanity and companionship often came through words and music.

“I felt true isolation, and used words and writing as a way to channel that,” Smith says. “I was always journaling, writing short stories, poems; I was listening to music like early blues and country, and reading constantly – authors like Hemingway and Fitzgerald, who told the great American story.” While other teammates and competitors were being lured into the perks of a life that included big-name sponsorships, Smith would dig deep into his artistic world instead.

But tenure as a professional athlete is not easy on the body, especially for someone like Smith, who never powers on anything less than all cylinders – and soon, after numerous injuries, he found his career on the snow had to end. Once again, he turned to music: this time picking up the guitar and finally turning all of that writing into lyrics. Though he got a late start, it made sense to him instantly, and soon had enough material cobbled together to released four original songs online. Within a week, KCRW took notice – the famed Los Angeles radio station featured his music on-air, a moment most burgeoning artists can only dream of.

But it didn’t stop there. The radio recognition led to an invitation to play the House of Blues – an amazing opportunity, with one small problem. Smith had never preformed his songs live with a band before. No matter: he said yes, and quickly assembled a trio. “The first time I ever sang in public was at the House of Blues,” says Smith, who eventually went on to sell out the Viper Room. “I’d never even sung in front of my sister or a campfire. From there, I started playing constantly. I took a lot of pride in being the guy who said yes to everything.”

It was then that Nicolo took notice, leading to a two-week recording session together and even a distribution deal with Sony. But for Oscuro, Smith decided to take things into his own hands, recording in his new home of Nashville at Blackbird Studios – Nicolo mixed the EP, but Smith produced it himself. Gritty and full of spontaneity, it’s a high-octane set of blues-driven tracks packed with chugging riffs and jangly melodies, from the fuzzed-out sadness of “Broken Heart and T.B.I” to the devastatingly honest “To Death.”

“It’s a landscape of disparity,” says Smith about the EP. “These aren’t happy songs. If you dive into the lyrics, they are sad. And they reflect a hard time in my life. But there has to be hope at the end of this, too.”

From sidelining injuries to headlining shows, from athletic sponsorships to one from Gibson guitars, from darkness into the light, Smith has weathered it all. The lesson? Always leave room for growth, honesty and rock & roll.

FREE SHOW: Rett Smith & his Band – [rock n’ roll]

WHERE: The Altamont Theatre, 18 Church St, 28801
WHEN: Saturday March 18, 2017
DOORS: 7pm | SHOW: 8pm
GENRE: soul / singer/songwriter / gospel
AGES: all ages
TICKETS: $25 adv. / $30 d.o.s. / $40 VIP (guaranteed seat in 1st 3 rows)
SEATING: seated general admission
Event Listing: http://thealtamonttheatre.com/event/Farris

Mike Farris:

WEBSITE: www.mikefarrismusic.com
HEAR SOME MUSIC: https://soundcloud.com/tedxmusicproject/tedxnashville-mike-farris-track-3
SEE A VIDEO: https://youtu.be/W4FHDnDEt_I

There’s a hallowed hall, deep within the recesses of the heart, where an amazing truth resides: The power in your life can only be experienced when broken open and shared with the people who come into it.

Back in 2005, Mike Farris cracked open the hallway door when, for the first time since the age of 15, he was clean and sober. Recording what would become the critically acclaimed Salvation in Lights (2007), a resurrected Mike eagerly anticipated the future. But with two ruptured discs, back surgery and the death of his beloved manager Rose McGathy all within a few weeks of the record’s release, a rolling fog settled in. And with it, denial.

Nevertheless, Mike’s career was picking up steam. He won an Americana Music Award for New/Emerging Artist in 2008, followed by a Dove Award in 2010. His live performances at Bonnaroo, SxSW, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, and others-were drawing rave reviews. Revered artists like Rodney Crowell, Buddy Miller, Patty Griffin, and Marty Stuart were struck by his incomparable voice, and Mike opened shows for Patti LaBelle, Mavis Staples, Blind Boys of Alabama, Ricky Skaggs and Bruce Hornsby.

By 2010, having released the award winning SHOUT! Live followed by an EP for Nashville flood relief efforts, Mike launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund his next record, an independent release. His fans generously funded the project.

Serious invitations kept coming: first, to the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame’s 16th Annual American Music Masters concert honoring Aretha Franklin, then TEDx Nashville, and then to the inaugural Austin City Limits Hall of Fame with Double Trouble.

Mike’s spirited, soul-gospel fusion had found an enthusiastic audience, but denial has a way of biting back. Compared to his former life, he thought he was fine, but truth be told, Mike had become addicted to pain medication. The new album would have to take a back seat to a gut-check, life-changing recovery. Mike went to rehab and finally began excavating the root causes of his addiction with the help of support groups at AA and NA. An isolator by nature, he struggled laying all his burdens on the table to complete strangers, but gained encouragement through the stories of others. Each honest step led to fertile, hopeful ground.

What eventually emerged from that fertile ground is Shine For All The People, the evolution of true sobriety, of finding a new identity as a servant, first as a man but also as an artist. “I’d been working on the record before my recovery, and then there was a pretty huge delay,” explains Mike, who recently signed with Compass Records. “I had to back up, take time to grab the ground, to re-acclimate, to learn how to live now, truly sober for the first time since I was a kid.”

This new normal included getting back to the process of creating new music, but there was a distinctive trajectory shift in Mike. “So many avenues of music flow through me, 100s of years of music, the music that I grew up with-from Blues, Rock, R&B and gospel-there had always been this pressure to try to force it into a box that would sell somehow. It’s crazy and overwhelming at times, the weight of trying to meet expectations and make a living, but this time, that all fell away. I know now that this gift only exists to encourage people in their struggles, and if there’s any power in it, it’s not from me.”

Released in September 2014, Shine For All The People pushes beyond Salvation in Lights in that it reveals hope not in any glory to come, but in the failures and suffering of the present. “My music has always been first and foremost for the downtrodden, the wayward…people who’ve had to go up the rough side of the mountain. Even when it’s upbeat and inspiring, there’s always been an element of pain, because truth be told, we’re all flawed. Not everybody knows it, but we all are.”

From the opening Cuban/St. Louis blues horns of “River Jordan,” originally written and performed by Blind Willie McTell, to the divine salvation of J.B. Lenoir’s “Jonah & the Whale,” to the determined stance of the Rev. C.J. Johnson’s “Something Keeps on Telling Me,” a chorus/mantra that Mike fleshed out into a song in the months after rehab…one listen, and it’s clear there’s something mystical in the waters here.

“When I first heard the Rev. C.J. Johnson’s version, I could feel the air in that church get still, no music, only the sound of feet on the floor and hands in the air,” Mike says. “I got such strength from it, I knew I wanted to add part of my story. With his words as the chorus, and with Brigitte DeMeyer helping me out, the song serves as a compass for anyone who has lost their way.”

Mary Gauthier’s soul-stirring “Mercy Now,” one of the first songs Mike chose for the record, is clearly foundational to the whole. “The song just mystically appeared before me a few months before my Dad was diagnosed with lung cancer,” he says. “Not only did it play a major role in just helping me deal with the year that followed, including his death, but brought comfort to my entire family.”

Like other choice cuts on Shine For All The People, the songs simply arrived at the appointed time, Mike says. “There was a time when I carried all the songwriting on my shoulders, but then the ego gets in the way of what it should be. These days, I don’t have to write everything. I just open the door and these songs show up…songs I need to hear in my struggle, songs I know people need to hear in theirs.”

Whether rearranging songs of centuries past or infusing new lyrical life to half-songs, it becomes clear that Mike’s vocal gift is simply the surface of a very deep well. Full-tilt originals include “Real Fine Day,” a poetic account of the birth of Christian Blue Sky Farris that features some killer Kenny Vaughn guitar hooks-“easily one of the top three days of my life, that day,” Mike says, and “Power of Love,” an unforgettable, high-energy soul groove and already an audience favorite.

Shine For All the People bears witness to the determination of putting one foot in front of the other and to the power of music to get you there. “I’ve discovered that falling is a divine thing,” Mike adds. “It’s part and parcel of being human. The important thing is to keep the faith and keep moving on and on. Daring to be courageous enough to share our deepest burdens with each other is the greatest gift we can give.”

An Evening With Grammy Winner Mike Farris – [soul / singer/songwriter / gospel]

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