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Local Music Makers

A Summer Explosion of Performances to Add to Your Calendars

Hey Readers! Welcome to my new music column called “Local Music Makers” where I spotlight area musicians and events.

I am not dropping my Women Making Music interviews by any means, but I am in the process of finding a new space on social media, to publish it on a regular basis. I will keep the fans of that female-focused feature informed so you’ll know where to find it when I do.

Within this column I intend to conduct interviews, offer reviews of shows and new releases. I will sometimes shine a light on area venue owners and booking managers that keep the wheels turning, helping to create income for area musicians and bands.

I’m excited to interview and present to you, 50+ male musicians like veteran guitarist and Asheville native, Mike Barnes. There are movers and shakers I plan to interview; like entrepreneur, sound engineer, guitarist singer songwriter, Josh Blake. It will be our pleasure together to get to know better, the likes of phenomenal songmen Datrian Johnson, Jeff Thompson and Reggie Headen.

My longtime music partner, Jonathan Pearlman as well as longtime collaborator guitarist Jon Corbin and the man of 1000 songs, Hank Bones; all male artists that I am eager to highlight. Musician doubling as a booking agent, Jim Arrendell and owner, operator booking manager, Scott Woody from Isis Music Hall will be interesting and informative features in the future.

The Buffalo Kings started out as a busking duo and now have taken WNC by storm with a full 4 piece band and I am giddy at the opportunity to track them down for an interview feature here.

Women and femme artists I am eager to learn more about are Jenny Bradley and her daughter, Blue Belle who just moved here and have been singing all over town together! Ashley Chamblis, a singer songwriter who just moved back to Asheville, will share with us her journey back to the mountains. Newly transplanted bassists both named Kim – Butler and Jade I look forward to spotlighting!

Let’s launch into some of the area’s “regular” weekly events.

Summer of 2022 is coming on strong on the local music scene. Regular weekly series have resumed and venues are fully open for nightly bookings. Compared to 2 years ago, the opportunities are a-plenty. It’s a variable smorgasbord for the local and the tourist live music going audience.


Sunday Funday is a moniker that has two entertainment iterations:

  • 1 - A recurring jam hosted by Kyle Travers of The Travers Brothership band at The One Stop in downtown Asheville at 8pm. Kyle features a different singer or instrumentalist each time, accompanied by an impressive backing band. Check the One Stop website for the next Sunday Funday Jam.

  • 2 -The last Sunday of each month at Southern Appalachian Brewing in Hendersonville is a Sunday Funday with your hosts: guitarist and singer, Jonathan Pearlman along with yours truly. Similarly to Kyle’s SF, we feature a singer or instrumentalist to join us and we often have Ryan Kijanka on upright bass. Those happen 4pm-6pm, rain or shine but for the summer, we’ll be on the spacious courtyard and stage.

  • Shakedown Sundays is for all your Grateful Dead fans. They happen every Sunday starting at 7pm at the Asheville Music Hall.

  • Sunday Jazz jam and brunch happens each Sunday afternoon starting at 1pm on the outdoor stage at One World West with your hosts Connor Law, Ray Ring and Jason DeCristofaro.


  • Little Jumbo Mondays is a must-be-hang for all your Jazz Fusion listeners. Always an amazing lineup of instrumental Jazz groups, Little Jumbo is an intimate restaurant located in north Asheville. The music starts at 7:00pm.

  • JLloyd’s Monday Mashup is hosted by trombonist to the stars, Jonathan Lloyd. One World West is where all the cool kids hang out on Mondays. If you want to join in the funk, be there by 8:00pm


  • On Tuesdays, the place to be is One Stop for the early Funk Jam at 8:00pm and the late funk jam just upstairs at The Asheville Music Hall starting at 10:30pm.

  • For those of you with a taste for vocal and instrumental Jazz, Gypsy and Standards, 5 Walnut is the place to be each Tuesdays evening starting at 8pm with the Jon Henry’s.


  • Well-Crafted Wednesdays is a songwriter series hosted by Honeycutters lap and pedal steel player, Matt Smith. A featured area songwriter joins him at Highland Brewing (East Asheville location) starting at 6:00pm on these special nights.

  • Southern Appalachian Brewing hosts Jazz on Wednesday nights, with your MC, Jason DeCristofaro starting at 6pm. There’s always a featured musician which is followed by a Jazz Jam until 8pm.

  • The Biltmore Inn is now offering music every night of the week in the Library Lounge starting around 6pm. If you’ve got an annual pass, use it to come hear some great Jazz Swing and Blues with Peggy Ratusz every Wednesday June-August!


  • Thursdays are hoppin around town, given that it’s the gateway night to the weekend! Here are just a few of the regular options on Thursdays.

  • The Asheville Sessions – Vocal series showcase at Isis Music Hall, Upstairs Lounge, 7pm

  • Pleasure Chest – 5 Walnut Wine War, 8pm

  • Jazz Thursdays at The Guitar Bar, 7:30pm

  • Howie Johnson/Bill Mattocks duo every 2nd Thursday at Southern Appalachian Brewing, 6pm.

  • Dine and dance to the hot Jazz of Russ Wilson & His Speakeasy 10 at The Speakeasy in Hendersonville. Make reservations! 7pm-9pm each Thursday.

  • Mr. Jimmy’s Friday Night Blues happens every week at The Guitar Bar. Jimmy features a different Blues artist each week starting at 8pm.


  • On Fridays and Saturdays you’ll find a plethora of music happenings, concerts, gigs and showcases. My go-to sources for everything live music include Asheville Live Music on Facebook and the WNCW music calendar shout outs on-air!

I am excited to highlight music in all its glory here in the Mountains of Western North Carolina. Several opinion polls rank “live music” as one of the top 3 reasons why people move to the area. And yet most of our per-gig wages have not increased in over 25 years.

So it’s with humility and passion that I urge you to get up off the couch and into a brewery, bar or music hall to celebrate and support and tip our incredibly

diverse community of Local Music Makers!

Peggy Ratusz is a vocal coach,

song interpreter, and songwriter.

For vocal coaching email her at


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