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Music Artists In Residence

Local Music Makers

By Peggy Ratusz

It can be challenging for local musicians who play routine weekly, bi-weekly or monthly gigs at clubs, pubs, hotels and breweries. Obviously, these regular nights either catch on or they don’t.

With so many venues, so many local musicians and so many touring acts playing on any given night of the week, a live music goer might just think they can wait and go next week. Understandably, the longevity of a residency hinges on the numbers.

A steady gig can easily become wonky if the numbers start to fluctuate. And there are times when a regular showcase or series has good numbers and still a proprietor might cancel it.

I am notoriously anxious and at the same time eager when I’m driving to my regular bi-weekly and monthly gigs. Often, I meditate or pray that people will show up! Again!

There are venues with built-in rotating clientele, like hotels with proven high volume guest occupancy. These types of continuous stints are less stressful for your average band leader. But it’s still not a guarantee and a shrewd band leader knows to expect the unexpected.

Balancing new material with proven audience favorites when constructing a set list every week is a skill every band leader knows how to do well.

Booking guest musicians is a proven way to keep people intrigued enough to return again and again. Fan bases grow; everyone wins when this collaborative formula works as intended.

So this month we celebrate the diligent, innovative music artists in residence; the tenured entertainers, these passionate pied pipers. They know just what it takes to keep us coming back for more.

Hosted by the most respected musician in Asheville; number one son, Josh Blake has curated the longest standing weekly jam: The Tuesday Night Funk Jam at Asheville Music Hall. They happen every week starting at 10pm. I would be remiss not to mention in the same breath, The Early Tuesday Jam which happens just beforehand, and in the same building, starting at 8pm.

One of the best places to be on a Wednesday evening is the Town Pump in Black Mountain where award winning songstress and songwriter, Ashley Heath plays with a different celebrity each week. It’s worth the beautiful drive out there, for anyone contemplating the distance! It starts at 8:00pm.

Mr. Jimmy’s Friday Night Blues is one that always sells out. Jimmy is the quintessential traditional electric Blues guitarist who invites a player or singer each week to join him and a house band for 3 hours of nothin’ but the Blues, baby! Where? The Asheville Guitar Bar - When? 7:30pm. The place fills up so get there early and save your seat!

Jason DeCristofaro is an instrumental multi-instrumentalist. Celebrating 10 years of hosting the Wednesday Jazz Night series at Southern Appalachian Brewery in Hendersonville, it’s another weekly offering that draws in patrons by the throngs. 7pm is when it starts.

And speaking of Jazz music, every Monday and Tuesday, Little Jumbo is the place to be to hear some of the masters. A plethora of scheduled instrumentalists come out to jam and the fact that it’s free almost feels like cheating. These Jazz cats and kittens got chops! Downbeat is 7pm.

One of the newest residencies gaining momentum is Melissa McKinney’s Superwoman Sundays at One World West. There’s always an incredible Shero headliner from 2pm-3pm and an open mic follows from 3pm-5pm. Check. It. Out.

5 Walnut Wine Bar in downtown Asheville, has been a coveted place to play since it opened in 2010. They are a full-on internship venue every night of the week. Mondays, it’s Caromia with Rahm & Friends, Tuesday it’s The John Henry’s, Wednesdays it’s Bam-A-Lam, Thursdays it’s Pleasure Chest, Every Other Saturday it’s Will Hartz and on Sundays it’s Cynthia McDermott’s Mood Ring. Check their website for start times.

There are oodles of open mics to choose from, usually happening at the beginning of the week. You can check out all the places in Asheville where a novice or professional can play a song or two in front of a forgiving audience. Follow Open Mic Asheville on Facebook.

The latest open mic forum happens the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month at The River Arts District Brewing Company 7:00pm-9:00pm, and it’s hosted by the beautiful and wonderful, Jenny Bradley.

After a long week of working your fingers to the bone, you might need a warm vibe; someplace where the cocktails go down easy. At The Hound, almost every Friday night, you’ll find soothing, deep Jazzy grooves with The Nighttime Noon Band. There’s nothing Reggie Headen’s voice can’t heal. 8pm-10pm.

The Peacock Palace is what Simeon Hickman and Louly Peacock call their ongoing songwriter series that takes place in their home. A portion of the money raised goes to a local charity. To keep up with when they happen and to RSVP, visit their Facebook page here:

Rock n’ Roll guitarist and singer, Sal Landers launched her Party RX band at The Asheville Guitar Bar not long after moving here from California. That first gig spawned her “Second Saturdays” series there. The party begins at 7:30pm.

If it’s Thursday, that means Kendra and Friends is happening at the Root Bar on the East side. The cool and groovy collaborations go from 6pm-8pm.

Trombonist Jonathan Lloyd hosts the incredibly popular Mashup Mondays at One World West at 8pm. With a 3 piece horn section, kit and conga, guitar and keys, you’re gonna-wanna dance. Each week you’ll hear invited guest instrumentalists and musician-singers. Get there early.

If you go out to hear live music with any consistency, don’t forget about those of us making music at the same venue week after week, month after month in hopes that you’ll come see and hear us as often as you can. Spreading the word and sharing social media posts is free, but doing so can make and keep a musician in residence.

Peggy’s residencies and regular gigs:

First and third Thursdays, 7pm-9pm – Acoustic Blues with Kelly Jones & Peggy Ratusz,

The River Arts District Brewing Company

The first Saturday of the month, 4pm-7pm –

The Invitational Blues Showcase, One World West

The last Sunday of every month – 4pm-6pm – Sunday Funday with Adam Rose and Bob Songster, Southern Appalachian Brewery.

picture of Peggy Ratusz

Peggy Ratusz is a vocal coach,

song interpreter, and songwriter.

For vocal coaching email her at

1 commento

02 giu

Excellent and informative Article Peggy! Hope to see you all play one day soon! 😀 Cee Cee and Rob

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