Sparrow performs “Power Ballad”

Accordion-playing busker Sparrow performs her original song “Power Ballad” near Woolworth Walk 2011.
It had been the better part of a year since I’d encountered Asheville-based busker Sparrow, and I was glad to run into her again. Her video had been one of the most popular from the first year of Busk Break, and I genuinely enjoyed listening to her perform. Although she’d seen the video from Halloween the year before, she said she couldn’t recall which song she performed for me. I remembered the tune, but couldn’t remember the name of it. So, after a moment, she decided to go with a song she was almost certain she hadn’t performed for me.

Unfortunately, she couldn’t quite recall how the song she wanted to play went. So, right in front of me, she worked the entire thing out. Continue reading Sparrow performs “Power Ballad”

Balkan Death Grip perform “Men Trinkte Mashke”

Balkan Death Grip
Matt Heckler, Trevor Grassi and Jeff Loops, with unseen members of Balkan Death Grip, perform near Pritchard Park in downtown Asheville, NC.
Matt Heckler and Trevor Grassi lead this incarnation of Balkan Death Grip to hell and back. Well, maybe that’s a bit of a melodramatic way of putting it, but this is a highly melodramatic song. After all, it’s about a man who pays his way by shoveling coal in hell, who plays music that smells of gasoline and who, they say, is around “every time a ship goes down.” It’s also one of the most entertainingly over-the-top tunes ever performed in front of the Busk Break camera. Continue reading Balkan Death Grip perform “Men Trinkte Mashke”

Sparrow performs “Walt’s Waltz”

Accordion-playing busker Sparrow performs in front of the Woolworth Walk on Halloween weekend in 2010.
I met Sparrow the weekend of the first MoogFest in downtown Asheville. Even on an average weekend, the city could be mistaken for a costume party that had somehow spilled out onto the streets, but add Halloween weekend and a major, national-level electronic music festival to the mix, and the experience began to border on the hallucinatory. Continue reading Sparrow performs “Walt’s Waltz”

Blind Boy Chocolate & The Milk Sheiks cover “Jackson Stomp”

Blind Boy Chocolate and the Milk Sheiks at Bele Chere 2010.
With their high-voltage style, musical saw and general whimsy, novelty jazz band Blind Boy Chocolate and the Milk Sheiks may be one of the most easily recognized bands in Asheville’s street music scene. Here, the group perform their version of the Mississippi Mud Steppers’ tune “Jackson Stomp.”

This video also shows the value of checking your battery before you start recording. Approximately 30 seconds into filming, my camera stopped recording due to a low charge. As a result, there isn’t a video of this memorable performance. Instead, we’re setting the separately recorded audio to a funny cartoon from yesteryear called “Accidents Don’t Just Happen,” courtesy of the public domain Prelinger Archives.