The Leather Britches perform “Make Me a Pallet on the Floor”

The Leather Britches: Nick DiSebastian (guitar), Bronwyn Keith-Hynes (fiddle), Jen Starsinic (fiddle) and Charles Muench (bass).

The Leather Britches: Nick DiSebastian (guitar), Bronwyn Keith-Hynes (fiddle), Jen Starsinic (fiddle) and Charles Muench (bass).

Listening to how neatly the members of The Leather Britches fit together as performers, you’d be hard-pressed to guess that the group had only been playing together under that name for the better part of an afternoon.

Composed of four friends who came to Asheville for, as they sheepishly put it, “this fiddle gathering … like a convention.” Of course, anyone who follows the Asheville music community would instantly know what they were talking about: The Swannanoa Gathering at Warren Wilson College.

The quartet wouldn’t exactly characterize themselves as a band, although Nick DiSebastian (guitar) and Charles Muench (bass) were both members of the Lancaster, PA, group River Wheel. Bronwyn Keith-Hynes (fiddle) and Jen Starsinic (fiddle) also had a musical project together, and three of the four lived in the same town and attended the same school, and had played together under various names over the years. On this day, they had decided to call themselves The Leather Britches.

Here, the quartet perform the cross-genre standard “Make Me a Pallet on the Floor.” Continue reading

A Trio Of Tunes From Locust Honey

Locust Honey (Sarah Jamison on guitar, Chloe Edmonstone on fiddle and Ariel Dixon on banjo)

Locust Honey (Sarah Jamison on guitar, Chloe Edmonstone on fiddle and Ariel Dixon on banjo)

The moment I rounded the corner from Battery Park to Haywood, I knew I’d hit the jackpot. In the recessed alcove of Kim’s Wigs were three young women playing to a clutch of captivated passersby. Not just any young women, either. They were obviously talented players, and knew the idiom of traditional and old-time American folk tunes well. For the purposes of video, however, the jackpot was that they were all attractive in that tangible, earthy way folk musicians should be.

It was Busk Break gold, right from the start.

It’s safe to say that the three were still getting used to the attention of that afternoon as I approached. It was the July 4th weekend of 2011, and a great time to be a busker in downtown Asheville. The air was warm, but not yet oppressively hot. They were huge crowds of three-day-weekenders pumping through the city’s veins, happy to part with coins and small bills for a moment’s entertainment. By the time I approached, camera-in-hand, they were already receiving waves of compliments from strangers. Continue reading

Pilgrim, Elmore and Bob play “Black Eyed Suzie”

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Pilgrim, Elmore and Bob play during a rainstorm in the entrance to the Miles Building.

What’s a group of buskers to do when they’re ready and willing to play, but the weather has different plans? Hiding out in the entrance of the Miles Building during a fierce rainstorm, traveling buskers Pilgrim, Elmore and Bob had planned on busking in front of the Iron sculpture in downtown Asheville. As a result, they were instead playing tunes largely to entertain each other until the torrent passed. Continue reading

Anna Trevor puts a cello spin on “Old Joe Clark”

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Anna Trevor performing in downtown Asheville, NC.

“It’s really cold in New Hampshire right now,” Anna Trevor explained with a laugh. I’d asked her why she was performing on the streets of Asheville on this chilly, windy winter day in Asheville. “It’s still a beautiful place, and I love it there, but I also love to play music. It’s hard to play music outside when it’s snowing. So, I’ve been traveling around, trying to get down South … as far South as I can.”

In this video, Anna Trevor performs the traditional mountain ballad “Old Joe Clark.” Continue reading