Blake Abyss and Amy Alvey’s improv jam on Hang and violin

BlakeAbyss and Amy Alvey

BlakeAbyss and Amy Alvey

Watching this video of violinist Amy Alvey and Hang drum player Blake “Blake Abyss” Larson perform together, you’d probably expect to hear that the duo had been busking together for weeks, if not years. As unusual at the pairing of the instruments is, the whole thing comes together in a way that implies the comfort and ease of players who know each other very well.

And, as you’ve already guessed, that’s not the case at all.

In fact, Blake and Amy met for the first time mere moments before this video was filmed. I was on one of my “busk hunts” when I encountered them finishing up a tentative jam in front of the Iron sculpture. They seemed so natural together that I assumed they were touring band, or at least regular buskers.

But that wasn’t the case. After they ended that tune, it became clear that they didn’t even know each other’s names. What’s more, neither were really buskers, and Blake had only been playing the Hang drum for a few months. Continue reading

Natchez On Fire play “The Crawdad Song”

Natchez On Fire

Natchez On Fire in Asheville, 2011.

A great band can turn even the most cliche of tunes into a memorable moment of music. Here, New Orleans-based buskers Natchez On Fire play their version of the extremely familiar traditional folk tune “The Crawdad” song, and manage to keep things interesting. Continue reading

Natchez On Fire perform “The YoYo Song”

Natchez On Fire

Natchez On Fire playing in Asheville, NC.

Way back in May of 2011, Busk Break caught a few songs from New Orleans-based buskers Natchez On Fire during their brief visit to Asheville. One of those songs, their version of the classic “Crawdad Song,” was released at the time, but this song never made it out of the archive. Now, for the first time ever, we present Natchez On Fire’s “The Yo-Yo Song”! Continue reading

Alex Travers shares a little rainy day Bach


Alex Travers thinks out of the Bachs.

During a rainy day in Asheville, NC, Boone-based busker Alex Travers performs the first movement of J.S. Bach’s Partita No.3 for Solo Violin in E major. Travers was originally planning on performing in front of that ever-popular downtown busking spot, the giant Iron Sculpture near the Miles Building, but the constant drizzle moved him under the eave of a nearby store. Tips were understandably poor, and he started to moved on after only a few minutes of playing. Thankfully, I ran into him before he did, and managed to convince him to play a few more tunes for the Busk Break project. Continue reading

Alex Travers busts out some Bach


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