Busker of the day – Yoshi

© John Gellman

Yoshi is a spiritual being who studies metaphysics when he’s not busking. He also produces music on computers, eats when he’s hungry, and sleeps when he’s sleepy. We’ve been talking about doing a photo shoot for some time, and I’m happy he finally made it to my Flatiron Studio.

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Guitars galore – the first annual Freeborn Jam

© John Gellman

It’s been a while since I have shot The Outlaws, so I was delighted to be a part of their first annual Freeborn Jam in Nashville last weekend. BlackHawk was there too, but all these shots are from The Outlaws set. A couple guests sat in. Ed King played on three songs, including his very own Sweet Home Alabama. It was certainly a treat to hear Ed play one of the most iconic guitar leads in rock ‘n roll history (which he wrote). And let me tell you, after all these years, he’s still got his chops. He sounded great, and so did the band. While we’re on that subject, for decades I’ve heard fans long to hear The Outlaws with three lead guitarists. Well, Saturday was the night. Billy Crain sat in for the entire set, and there they were, The Outlaws live on stage with three lead guitars. Except when Ed King walked on, and then there were four. What a night. I was truly honored to be there to hear it. Above is a shot of Chris Anderson I captured with a telephoto lens from the side of the stage. He was having such a great time, when he caught my eye he gave me an exuberant look and shout. Scroll down for more pics.

 

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Henry Paul was feeling the heat of a special night.

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Ed King and Steve Grisham made up half of the four lead guitar army.

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Billy Crain and Chris Anderson made up the other half.
And yes, that’s the very same Les Paul you will find at the top of each page on this blog.

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Ed brought his 1959 Strat, the very same guitar he was playing when I took his picture with Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1974.

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Billy brought Tommy Crain’s gold top Les Paul.

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Monte Yoho and Dave Robbins were rock solid, as usual.

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Randy Threet and Henry Paul IV surround Billy Crain to give me a special welcome back between songs.
Yes, this was actually during the show.

 

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Busker of the day – Taylor Knighton

© John Gellman

Singer/songwriter Taylor Knighton has been busking in Asheville and playing some shows for over a year. I don’t know how I could have missed her, but I haven’t heard her perform. She arrived for our photo session with a guitar and a ukulele, amd I decided to go with the uke, mainly because I have shot so many pics of musicians with guitars. Not that it made that much difference in the shot we selected to use here. I plan to hear her play at the Sly Grog next week. I gotta thank my most recent victim, Chris Semsey, for his assistance holding reflectors to help me get the light just right.

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Busker of the day – Chris Semsey

© John Gellman

Before I moved to Asheville full time, I was spending nights on a futon in my Flatiron Studio (in violation of the terms of my lease) where I could do everything but shower. I made arrangements to shower daily at Bon Paul & Sharky’s, a great hostel in West Asheville, which is where I first met Chris. He was staying there during his first visit to Asheville, and now he works there when he isn’t playing drums in a local band, Shadow Show, or busking downtown. I have seen a few pics of Chris drumming while wearing a shirt, but he plays in the flesh (above the waist) so often, that’s how we did his portrait.

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Buskers of the day – Sarah & Banjo Mitch

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The conversation went like this. “What’s your last name? McConnell. Mitch McConnel, like the senator. Oh God. Any relation? No.” Even though he shares a name with a notorious Republican, he’s not one. All things considered, it beats being named Headly Lamar, but not by much. (I just had to get a Blazing Saddles joke in there.)  Anyway, Sarah Gwendolyn and Mitch McConnell are the Chinquapin Duo. Chinquapin, like the tree. They can be found busking on the sidewalks of Asheville.

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Busker of the day – Lilli Jean

© John Gellman

I can’t explain why I never met Lilli Jean before last week. We know all the same people, but still. She has been a regular on Asheville’s sidewalks and in venues around town for quite some time. When I ran into her busking on Biltmore Avenue last week, I wasn’t gonna miss the chance to talk and ask her to pose for me. She is nothing if not prolific, creating a bundle of new songs at every opportunity. That must be her singer/songwriter hat she’s wearing in the pic.

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Semi-retired busker of the day – Andrew Fletcher

© John Gellman

Andrew Fletcher no longer busks regularly. As he says, he’s semi-retired, but only from busking. He is one of Asheville’s best known musicians, who plays 200 or so gigs per year in and around town. If there’s a piano anywhere in Asheville, chances are Andrew has played it at one time or another. Andrew is very active in the Asheville Buskers Collective, advocating for the well being of all the street performers in the area. He is also one of the people in Asheville who is always, and I do mean always, dressed better than I am.

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Courtnee Fallon Rex encore

© John Gellman

While organizing images for my forthcoming book, I came across another image of the lovely Courtnee Fallon Rex that I just had to post. None of my subjects are professional models, but Courtnee is, in addition to being a singer/songwriter, and a fine instrumentalist on accordion and ukulele. She passed through Asheville earlier this summer, and is now back in Seattle. Such a talented person.

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