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A GRAND CLOSENESS tHe david mayField parade BringS intimaCy to tHe Big Stage

By DANE SMITH DOC AQUATIC Asheville’s psychedelic indie-rockers Doc Aquatic have steadily built and honed a sound that, at first, comes across as untethered and loose, but upon closer inspection is orchestrated and thoughtful. The band’s songs (like those on just-released lp — an ironically named five-song Ep) ebb and flow in waves of layered instrumentation and dreamy lyrics perfect for an endless summer day. reverbnation. com/docaquatic

LOS AMIGOS INVISIBLES A Venezuelan dance band that fuses bits of psyched-out jazz, disco and funk into a vivacious melting pot of international influence, Los Amigos Invisibles are not a gimmick. With two decades and a Latin Grammy to their credit, the outfit is a savvy and sensual ensemble that blends myriad genres without forsaking a sexy beat and an otherworldly sense of exuberance. 2011’s not So Commercial is a high-water mark, a feverish distillation of styles that heaps drugged-up atmospherics onto unstoppable rhythm.

PAPA GROwS FUNK finding success playing party-ready funk in New Orleans is no easy task. In a town overflowing with formidable booty-shakers, standing out from the crowd takes some chops, and papa Grows funk has that. This feisty five-piece plays it straight, tearing through tangled bass lines and guitar licks, garnishing them with the grandiose gauze of John “papa” Gros’ organ lines. content to perfect rather than innovate, papa Grows funk serves up potent jams that are sure to please.

SPICy MOUSTACHE & THE FLAVOR SAVIORS Jon James, frontman of Asheville’s self-proclaimed “funk-hop/soul rock” outfit spicy moustache & the flavor saviors, doesn’t so much rap as rant. That’s not a complaint. his words cascade in arrhythmic tumbles adding immediacy to the kinetic funk of the seven-piece band that backs him. captured on a 2010 demo, the players speed through entry-level exercises with jam-band enthusiasm, curtailing the song lengths and focusing their power in the process. It’s far from revolutionary, but it will suffice for some summertime fun in the sun. spicymoustachetheflavorsaviors.bandcamp. com

wHITNEy MOORE The style of Asheville’s Whitney moore is a direct reflection of her life experience. she was raised in a family of professional musicians, refining her resonant pipes from an early age. In her adult life, she has traveled the globe informing her mostly acoustic ruminations with Latin jazz, spanish flamenco and African rhythm. her strong sense of melody unites these influences for a unique twist on the singer-songwriter tradition.

While most kids his age were dreaming about becoming astronauts and professional athletes, David mayfield was touring the country in his family’s bluegrass band. by his early 20s, the Ohio native was surviving as a “gun-for-hire” in Nashville, writing songs for other artists and eventually stepping into the world of producing, where he earned a Grammy nomination for his work in the studio. still, despite performing as a member of progressive bluegrass outfit cadillac sky, the versatile player remained largely out of the spotlight. Then, playing bass on a tour with his sister, noted songstress Jessica Lea mayfield, David befriended and began collaborating with The Avett brothers, who pushed him to consider stepping out on his own. Enter the David mayfield parade, an unmistakably authentic blend of vintage country, twangy rock ’n’ roll and delicate folk ballads. It turns out mayfield’s knack for songwriting rivals that of his award-winning picking. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that the singer also has the sort of gentle, inviting voice that could keep a performer afloat on its own merits. but as great as mayfield is in the studio, his ease and charisma onstage distinguish him from the ever-growing old-school country scene. “I feel like when I’m up on a stage my goal is to engage people and get a reaction from them and entertain them somehow,” he says of the often theatrical shows, which incorporate humor and skits into the repertoire. “I look at being a live performer as providing a service like a plumber. you pay your hard-earned money and you could have gone to see the Hunger games, but instead you came to see me. … I’m not just going to stand here and kind of be pretentious and sing for my own glory.” That’s not always easy though. As mayfield’s popularity grows, so do the size of his engagements (take, for example, bele chere). he admits that can make connecting with audiences more difficult. but the seasoned performer welcomes the challenge. “It’s still definitely attainable,” he says with confidence. “It’s almost like they say in theater: Everything has to be bigger and more exaggerated. If I was playing The Grey Eagle I might be able to convey a certain emotion with a few facial expressions, and everyone would see what I’m going for. but at a big show or a big festival everything has to be grand. And you have to climb up on the speakers and throw your arms in the air and let them know what’s going on.” clearly, this is one performance that’s well worth a walk across town.


Mountain Xpress, July 25 2012  
Mountain Xpress, July 25 2012  

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