4 Asheville Concerts to Attend Before the End

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, photo by Owen Ela for mxdwn.com

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, photo by Owen Ela for mxdwn.com

Exhale, friends. We’re halfway through the semester. Maybe it’s been a refreshingly easy semester for you, or maybe it’s been a slow bus ride through Hell. Either way, take comfort in knowing we’re on the descent. In the meantime, as our countdown for the end begins, I know of four concerts in big Asheville-town that I think you should see (hear?) while we’re still situated in these Blue Ridges.

  1. The Milk Carton Kids @ The Diana Wortham Theatre – 11/9

The Milk Carton Kids are a quiet folk duo consisting of guitarists Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan. The show is happening in support of their latest release, an album called Monterey. In 2013, their album The Ash & Clay was Grammy-nominated for folk album of the year. They were also featured on Another Day, Another Time: Celebrating the Music of “Inside Llewyn Davis,” a collective folk album inspired by the 2013 Coen brothers film, among artists like The Avett Brothers, Marcus Mumford, and Jack White. This show holds promises of easy-listening and general chill-ness.

  1. Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats @ The Grey Eagle – 11/11

DISCLAIMER: This show is actually sold out. I know. Huge frown-y face. However! I think it’s worth asking around/checking craigslist for tickets. Nathanial Rateliff has been a solo act for a while; he and the so-named “Night Sweats” just released their first album together in August. Prior to the addition of the Night Sweats, Rateliff had released three albums and an EP with an acoustic folk sound featuring his distinct, deep voice. He was a featured artist in Austin to Boston, a 2014 documentary that followed four bands travelling together in 60s Volkswagen buses and playing shows up the east coast and mid-western U.S. It’s a great, easy watch that I started for Ben Howard and emerged a fan of Rateliff. And it’s on Netflix. I’m saying you should watch it, if that’s not clear enough. While the documentary portrayed his simpler solo-ness, the album recently released with the Night Sweats takes a step in the seemingly new direction of rock and a sort of funk-ness. I’m sure it will be a fun show with lots of head-bobbing.

  1. Laura Marling @ The Orange Peel – 11/15

Laura Marling first came onto the music scene as a member of Noah and the Whale in 2006 at the age of 16. She left the band in 2008 and has found fairly significant success as a solo artist. She was the 2011 Brit Award recipient of Best British Female Solo Artist and was nominated again in 2012 and 2014. Her vocals call to my mind a more subdued Florence Welch. I was addicted to her 2013 Once I was an Eagle for pretty much the whole fall semester that year. This will be a seated show at the Orange Peel, signifying a calm evening in store.

  1. Vanessa Carlton @ New Mountain – 12/19

If you think you haven’t heard of Vanessa Carlton, you have. “A Thousand Miles” is a childhood anthem of our generation and if that title’s not ringing a bell, click here. I can practically hear the collective “OHHHHH HERRRRR…” Vanessa is pretty far removed from that 2002 mega hit, and in my opinion, for the better. This December show is a part of her tour to support the not-yet-released Liberman, named for a series of oil paintings by her grandfather. The album will be released this Friday, Oct. 23. After a musical hiatus of sorts between 2007 and 2011, she emerged with new perspective and a new, darker sound. Carlton has taken on a delightfully ghost-y vocals, but her overwhelming piano skills remain. I saw her in February 2014, and was totally enraptured by her raw talent. She didn’t play with a band, only a violinist, and it worked. Man, did it work. If you’re unsure about her grown-up musical presence, take heart, she will very likely play “A Thousand Miles,” along with a few other angst-y 2002-ish treats.


There are plenty of other great artists heading to Asheville before the end of the year. See if you think I got my top four wrong by checking out The Orange Peel, The Grey Eagle, and New Mountain lineups.