Alex Deutsch, bassist for jangle pop band Modern Strangers, recommends some of the best music Western North Carolina has to offer. We recommend these songs to download because you're going to want to listen to them over and over.
 
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April 28, 2021

Ep 119 Coia

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Coia is a Singer-Songwriter, Artist based out of Greensboro, North Carolina with alternative rock roots & refreshing hints of indie-pop. Coia combines the musical textures of Jason Mraz, with the vocal passion of artists such as Jon Foreman, Eddie Vedder and John Mayer.
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With two full length releases under his belt, a festival all his own, and his band’s 10 year anniversary approaching, it’s hard to believe that songwriter, guitar prodigy, and event producer Andrew Scotchie hasn’t even hit 30. On his latest studio venture, the Asheville, NC native packs a punch with six new tracks that boast some of the most electrifying arrangements you’ll hear all year.
 
On the heels of his 2018 LP release “Family Dynamo,” Scotchie is set to unveil his most mature and sonically diverse collection entitled “Everyone Everywhere” on Friday, June 26. With heavy themes like corporate greed and inequality prominently featured in the condemnatory track “Funny Money,” more playful tunes like the sweet retro-rock inspired “Natural Romantic” offer listeners a much needed respite from thinking about these turbulent times. An anthem in its own rite, leading single “Stepping Stone” sets the stage for a short yet pungent magical mystery ride of psychedelia, funk, and jam-adjacent rock that is nothing short of enrapturing. The standout “Fear Mongers,” starts with a hardy sample of Charlie Chaplin’s famed “The Great Dictator” speech (which required official approval from the late filmmaker’s rights-holding office in Paris), declaring that “the misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed” and segues perfectly with Scotchie’s “don’t wait / don’t hesitate / ‘cause the poor man can’t give what the rich man always takes,” artfully encapsulating the current climate.
 
With such timely social commentary embedded into every track, the new EP could easily be mistaken for a response to the ongoing pandemic, though the album was actually recorded months prior. Still, Scotchie welcomes the serendipity, and encourages his listeners to adopt their own takes on the lyrics, especially when they can be utilized to reclaim hope. Scotchie concludes the album with a universal offering in the title track “Everyone Everywhere,” imploring "Even if you feel lonely / when this world is unkind / call on me, I'm sure you'll find / even when you feel you got nothing / everyone everywhere's got something.
 
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Brady Jacquin is a singer-songwriter from Asheville, North Carolina. Drawing from influences like Fleet Foxes, Mumford and Sons, and Matt Corby, his band's unorthodox style fuses acoustic and electric guitars, pianos, different percussion types, extensive harmonies, intricate finger picking, and pretty much anything else he can get his hands on! He extends this fresh approach to his lyrics as the imagery serves to lose the listener in his world (a strange world, though it may be)!
 
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Asheville based songwriter Julia Sanders believes in letting life be your art supplies. With a soulful voice and moving melodies, her music draws inspiration from time living in New Orleans, Montana and the mountains of North Carolina. She winds the journey of heartbreak, love and self-searching into poetic songs that will have you shuffling across the dance floor with a tissue in hand.  
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Matt Walsh is a singer-songwriter, guitarist, filmmaker and actor from Statesville NC who performs 200 plus shows a year either solo or with his rhythm section, 'The Movers'. His albums Life After Rock N Roll (2017 Full Bloom Records) and The Midnight Strain (2018 Full Bloom Records) have been hailed by music publications and played on radio stations in the US, Canada, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Australia. Matt’s sound is a clever blend of numerous styles of the music that have influenced him since his youth - early electric and country Blues, Rock N Roll, Rockabilly, Soul, R&B, Country, Bluegrass, Jazz and Psychedelia. His focus on making all original music by combining the influences that inspired him, along with his own ideas, have produced an exciting blend of many genres without rules or limitations.
 
His exposure to music came first came from his mother through her love of Motown. When Matt was 9 years old, she took him to a Prince concert and afterwards, he knew he wanted to be a musician. His musical education began with his late uncle who turned him onto a record collection that included early 1950’s electric Blues and 1960's Rock which inspired Matt to play guitar. When he was 13, Matt got a knock off electric guitar for $25 at a flea market and set out to learn the instrument. He furthered his musical education when he began absorbing the music on old record labels, notably Chess, Sun and Stax . 
 Less than a decade later, he began performing in clubs and in the years to follow, he established himself as a highly regarded musician in the Blues world with his first release, Hard Luck (2007), as one of the few artists in the genre capable of writing relevant original material without relying on any cover songs from the past. The album got rave reviews in multiple music publications, radio play on stations around the world and a featured spot on XM 74 Satellite Radio as a 'Pick to Click'. Around this time Matt joined Bob Margolin (guitarist for Muddy Waters 1973-1980) and performed with some of his heroes, legendary artists like Howlin’ Wolf's guitarist Hubert Sumlin and members of Muddy Water's band, Pinetop Perkins and Willie "Big Eyes" Smith.
While he was looking for a new direction to expand his music, Matt started working with drummer Austin Hicks after they met on Craigslist in 2013. They formed the drum-guitar duo, the Low Counts and branded themselves as, "Blue Collar Rock-N-Roll". They turned heads, made dedicated fans and blew audiences away with their no frills, high energy stage show. Their ride was cut short on March 8th 2017 when Austin passed away unexpectedly. Matt wrote 27 songs that the duo released over three albums in the four short years they were together (The Low Counts 2014 Real Original Records, Unsettled Days 2015 Grimtale Records, Years Pass By 2015 Real Original Records)
Matt released his first full length solo studio album in almost a decade, Life After Rock N Roll' (2017 Full Bloom Records). The album reignited his standing as a solo artist and found him stretching out to make powerful, refined music that was entirely different than any of his previous works and his third full length studio album, The Midnight Strain (2018 Full Bloom Records) built upon that success. Matt released his fourth full length studio album 'Burnt Out Soul' (Full Bloom Records) on September 25th 2020 that he recorded at the legendary Columbia Records Studio A on Music Row in Nashville TN.
 
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Stephen Evans & the True Grits
Folk Rock
 Born and raised in Fort Lauderdale, Florida by musical parents, Stephen Evans naturally had the desire to perform music.  He began by making his friends watch him perform to records of his dad’s band, Four Saints. He progressed by playing the trumpet in various school bands, singing in the choir, and performing in musicals. 
 In his 20’s, Stephen was inspired by his brother, Scot Evans, who was the bassist/vocalist in the regionally successful band, Floating Men, from Nashville, TN.  So Stephen started his own rock band, Mean Season, in the late 80’s where he began honing his songwriting skills on the guitar.  After a few years of local success and radio play in Tallahassee, FL, the band moved to Atlanta, GA to increase their success.  Unfortunately, the band broke up, and left Stephen to try his hand at performing solo around Atlanta.
 Soon the jammed highways of the big city drove him to the beautiful mountain town of Asheville, NC in 1996, where he quickly began soaking in the creative influence of his amazing surroundings.  After many years of vacillating between being a professional musician and being building a nest in Asheville, Stephen has focused on his love for creating and performing music.
 In June of 2015, Stephen released his debut CD, “Something to Bleed”, with his band, the True Grits.  The record received local and national praise for its passion and creativity.  The band members are Brian Shoemaker (bass/electric guitar)  Sam Hess (drums) and Woodstock (mandolin), along with special guests:  Halli Anderson of River Whyless (violin/backing vocals), his brother, Scot Evans of Floating Men (bass on ‘1000 Roses), and his mother, Barbara Evans (backing vocals on ‘Sound’). 
 The latest EP release, “Under the Bridge” came out in 2017 to positive reception and local radio play as well.  This record was engineered by Kyle Corbett, who can occasionally be seen joining the True Grits to provide colorful lead guitar for the live band shows.  The EP has 5 songs that range from rock to folk rock and describe an appreciation of Stephen's time in Asheville. Shawn Duxbury, Stephen's former bandmate in Mean Season, is a guest Grit performing lead acoustic guitar on the song 'Waiting'. The last track, 'A Rose for Emily', is a cover song written by Jeff Holmes & the Floating Men, and is based on the short story by William Faulkner of the same name. 
Stephen’s strong melodic songwriting style is a blend of creative imagery of darkness and hopeful optimism.  There is no denying the passion that shines through with his powerful vocals and lyrics.  Songs like ‘The Garden’, ‘Cherokee Hills’, ‘1000 Roses’ and ‘Shining Star’ are beacons of his folk rock songcraft.  With some local radio play on WNCW 88.7, 103.7 WPVM, and 98.1 The River, and upcoming shows with the True Grits as well as solo shows spreading around the Southeast, be sure to check out what Stephen Evans wants to share with you.
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Once upon a time in the budding music-mecca of Asheville, NC, a man with a trumpet, an acoustic guitar and a mission metamorphosed into the synergistic soul/indie-pop band, Hustle Souls. With 2 ½ years of touring under their belt, the band’s feel-good, modern meets vintage sound, have earned them a reputation as one of the region’s most promising independent acts.
Lead singer and keyboardist, Billy Litz’s rootsy influences and vulnerable compositions are embroidered, garnished, and decked out by a powerhouse soul band. The rhythm section, Tommy Moore and Sean McCann aggressively usher in a tight jazz and R&B influence, while guitarist, Chris Everett, brings the group to the next level with his rock-ribbed feel.
​In 2017 the band was approached by gold and platinum mixer and producer Eric “Mixerman” Sarafin (Ben Harper, the Broadcast, Pharcyde) about making a record which has set the ball rolling at a different pace. Hustle Souls’ eclectic sound will soon come together on their debut full-length album, “Color.”
 
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The Pressley Girls
 
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Twin sisters, Katie and Corie Pressley, were born and raised in the Appalachian mountain community of Brasstown, North Carolina. They are affectionately called Chatter and Chitter on their mother’s popular Appalachian blog Blind Pig & the Acorn.
The girls enjoyed a musical influence literally from their arrival home from the hospital. Jerry Wilson, their grandfather, who they call Pap, was a musical legend in their neck of the woods.
Jerry performed for many years as part of The Wilson Brothers. The duo performed gospel music in the polished high harmonies of the classic brother duet style. They performed at churches, festivals, homecomings, and benefits throughout the south. Over the years they won many awards including the 1998 North Carolina Heritage Award. They were also featured in publications such as “The Old-Time Herald”.
The girls often tell the story of laying in their bedroom floor with ears pressed tightly to the floor to hear the sounds of music flowing up from the basement as Pap and his band practiced. Katie says “Mama would make us go to bed but as soon as the lights were out we’d sneak from the covers, lay in the floor, and let the music lull us to sleep.”
The Pressley Girls began singing in church with other children and gradually began to sing alone with Pap accompanying them on guitar. At about the same time, Corie and Katie joined the John C. Campbell Folk School Clogging Team.
Staying with the JCCFS Cloggers for over seven years, the girls then joined up with the Kudzu Kickers Clogging Team. Becoming  proficient in the traditional Appalachian Dance Style seemed to help solidify the girls rhythm for music.
The family band evolved into Pap, Paul (Pap’s youngest son and the girls’ uncle), Tipper (Pap’s only daughter and the girls’ mother), Ben and Mark (sons of Pap’s oldest son Steve and cousins of the girls’), and Corie and Katie.
In the beginning, the twins could hardly be tied down to sing a song or two with the group before they ran off to play. But as time passed, each girl picked up her own instrument and learned the art of singing harmony from Pap and Paul.
These days, The Pressley Girls, Paul, and Tipper are making the music they were raised on and ensuring the tradition of Appalachian music is continued.

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