Asheville Earth Day Festival
Asheville, North Carolina
April 18, 2009
That is the one word best used to describe the city of Asheville, and that is exactly what the lineup and crowd reflected upon the 2009 Earth Day celebration at Martin Luther King, Jr. Park.
Already a thriving cultural and musical melting pot, Asheville and its patrons were treated to a free full day of music, art, and everything in between on perhaps one of the best days of weather ever seen in the Southeast.
“Everybody needs to dance and shake that stuff out; it’s hard when you can’t afford to do it,” said Earth Day organizer Bob Robertson of Mountain Roots Management.
With Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe headlining, this was sure to do the trick on a near perfect day amongst the mountains of western North Carolina.
With music lovers slowly flocking in, Southeast natives High and Windy got things going with a solid opening bluegrass set. In the midst of laying out blankets and buying rounds of beer, the crowd was treated to an excellent pickin’ rendition of the vintage Temptations hit, "My Girl." Many that had just begun to arrive were getting ready to get down with up-and-coming South Carolina sensation Zach Deputy.
A one-man guitar virtuoso, Deputy dazzles with his ability to lay down beats and bass lines, while intertwining amazing riffs on his semi-acoustic classical six string.
With only an hour set to work with, he kept the people’s feet moving throughout, playing crowd favorites "Two Steps" and "Tube Steak."
Deputy himself was just one of the many people who needed to "shake that stuff out;" all of his gear was stolen at a show in New Jersey a couple of months ago – fortunately the guitarist is already back playing gigs, thanks to donations from fans and friends.
World beat masters Sol Driven Train performed, and then handed the stage over to soulful groovers Laura Reed and Deep Pocket. With a sultry voice that would captivate any pair of ears, Reed belts out notes guaranteed to give you goose bumps.
While very deeply rooted in soul and R&B, Deep Pocket kicked it up a notch into Motown and funk overdrive with keyboardist/organist Ryan Burns ticklin’ the ivories in ways that would get any booty to shake. With a guest appearance by Asheville native Shane Pruitt on guitar, this was a definite highlight of the Earth Day festivities.
The sun had set, and the anticipation of Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe was growing by the minute. With drummer John Staten and guitarist Brian Jordan fresh off stints with their respective groups On The One and the Brian Jordan Trio, it was a treat to have their incredible talents together onstage with Karl D.
Opening up the set with a very jazzy sax solo, Denson and co. quickly bust into their funky fusion brand of boogie with an energy fitting of celebrating mother earth. "Groovy Thing," "Apparently," and "Flute Down" were surefire tunes that kept everyone dancing throughout. After crisp solos by Jordan, and soaring keys from David Veith, the crowd’s jaws could do nothing but drag on the ground at the end of this powerful set.
Certainly, an excellent way to close out Earth Day in Asheville.