Shane Conerty performs “Route 29”

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Shane Conerty performs a song about riding the bus.

We’ve covered Now You See Them‘s Shane Conerty before, as he’s one of the most active buskers in the Asheville music scene. He’s also one of those rare performers who is perfectly willing to give his all in every song, even if there’s no audience to speak of when he’s playing it.

Here, he performs his recently written original song “Route 29,” which he says was inspired by real-life bus-riding experiences. Continue reading

Jessica Dennison and her ukulele perform “Grave”

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Jessica Dennison plays her original tune “Grave” on ukulele in 2010.

In the summer of 2010, New York-based musician Jessica Dennison was passing through Asheville, and decided to give busking a try on our streets. By the time I ran across her, however, the looming clouds and drizzle made it very clear that her next song would be the last in her set. So, armed with her ukulele and charm, she performed her original tune “Grave” for the Busk Break project. Continue reading

Kevin Jerome performs “To the Mountain Top”

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Kevin Jerome sings about the Mountain Top.

To point out an awkward truth about Asheville’s music scene, there simply aren’t that many black performers on the city’s cultural radar. It’s a town where even the best-known rap and hip-hop acts are mostly composed of white men, and where the most known black busker is an elderly sax player who often doesn’t even bother playing through the first chorus of the song. But there are exceptions. Leeda “Lyric” Jones, for instance, and Kevin Jerome. Continue reading

Kevin Jerome reclaims “I’ll Fly Away”

Kevin Jerome did far more than reclaim “I’ll Fly Away,” he reinvented it.

When Kevin Jerome told me that he wanted to “reclaim” the 1929 Albert E. Brumley hymn “I’ll Fly Away” for “the black man,” I was dubious. Jerome is an unquestionably talented performer, but was he really up to the task of reworking one of the most recognized gospel songs of all time? In a word, yes. Continue reading

Alex Travers busts out some Bach

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Busker Alex Travers, Bach-ing it up.

On a rainy summer day in downtown Asheville, Boone-based busker Alex Travers braved the drizzle to perform his interpretation of “Menuet 2” from Johann Sebastian Bach’s Partita No.3 for Solo Violin in E major. This was the first of the two recordings made with Travers, and one of the few recordings of classical music ever featured on Busk Break.

Unfortunately, this is also one of the few times Travers seems to have busked in the Asheville area. Here’s hoping he makes a return visit to the downtown music scene. Or, maybe we need to arrange a busk-hunting video up the mountain in Boone? Continue reading

Brian McGee and Krum perform “First Kiss”

Brian McGee and Kevin “Krum” Rumley perform “First Kiss” in downtown Asheville.

Shortly before the release of his album The Taking or The Leaving, alt-country and Americana artist Brian McGee spent the the better part of a day busking song from the recording in front of the Iron sculpture in downtown Asheville, NC. He was joined midway through the set by drummer Kevin “Krum” Rumley, whose unique talents include the ability to seamlessly keep time while puffing away on a cigarette. Continue reading