Midnight Snack breaks out of hibernation

© John Gellman

Midnight Snack has been one of Asheville’s best busking bands since the day they arrived in town over a year ago. The group of five Berklee grads left Boston and set up shop in Asheville, adding one local talent to perfect the mix. They have been largely absent from the streets for the entire winter. Though it seemed like they went into hibernation, actually they cocooned in a recording studio and a new album is about to emerge. The band was at the top of the bill, and at the top of their form last night at the Asheville Music Hall. They played as tight a set as I have ever heard from them, that featured a mix of old and new material. I can’t wait to hear the rest of their new songs. This band is ready to make its mark on a national stage.

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Courtnee Fallon Rex stopped by my studio

© John Gellman
I went to an open mic at an Asheville club last night and met the lovely and talented Courtnee Fallon Rex. She is a Seattle based itinerant musician, performer, artist, model, photographer who is passing through Asheville as she makes her way cross country. You know… my kind of people. Of course, I invited her up to my Flatiron Studio for a photo shoot and she accepted. This is one of the shots that we both liked.

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Howling with gargoyles

© John Gellman

Not all tourists are created equal. Some are a little crazier than others. Ricky Herbert was relatively normal until I asked him to climb up on the wall of a certain illustrious house in Asheville and pose with a gargoyle. Okay, you got me.  He was completely bonkers from the outset.

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Strawberries and traveling kids – it must be spring

© John Gellman

Enough with winter. Today was the first warm day of spring in Asheville. The traveling kids are back on every corner and strawberries are in the stores. Soon the streets will be filled with music, and the farmers markets will be open again. Life is good. Krischain Winters just arrived from West Virginia yesterday. He was a good sport to put down his banjo and pose for me on Patton Avenue this afternoon.

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Greg from Atlanta, a dancer in his own world

© John Gellman

Even as  downtown Asheville was filled with Southern Conference basketball tournament fans, this dancer found a corner on a crowded sidewalk, turned his back to the street, turned up the music in his headphones, and became engrossed in his own world… oblivious. Though it is not visible in this picture, he was facing a full length window in which he could see his reflection. I talked with him briefly, and he introduced himself as Greg, from Atlanta. He had some pretty smooth moves.

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Start with Brit Turner – add fog, lighting, and access

© John Gellman

I could have gone with a bad smoke pun in the title, but I am exercising a bit of discretion. There is a fine line between clever and stupid, and for once, I’ve decided not to cross it. When it comes to the lines surrounding a performance, I love shooting sound checks because with some bands, I can cross the border of the stage and walk around wherever I want to get interesting shots. This was taken last Thursday afternoon at Blackberry Smoke’s sound check before the first of two sold out shows at The Orange Peel in Asheville. I could never have gotten this during a show because I was leaning over Brit’s drum kit to get the angle that I wanted. While the band was playing, the lighting director was tinkering with the bright lights just behind Brit, and someone else was determining just how much fog was too much. It all made for a nice effect. I will post some more pics from my time with Blackberry Smoke in Asheville over the next couple days.

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Carolina Catskins at the Crow & Quill

© Copyright John Gellman

I took some friends to see the Carolina Catskins last Thursday night at the Crow & Quill in downtown Asheville. I knew the big snowstorm was on its way, and this would be the last chance to get out and around before the onslaught. I hadn’t planned on taking any pictures, but when I saw the profile in the window of the person smoking a cigarette outside on the sidewalk, I ran out to my car to get my camera. By the time I got back inside, the smoker had moved inside as well, so I asked her if she would mind smoking another cigarette, and standing just like she had before. She was happy to oblige, so I was able to get this shot after all.

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Glenn Frey can check out, but he will always be with us

© John Gellman

What a sad ten days for the music and the music fans of my generation. First we lose David Bowie, and now Glenn Frey. Bowie’s death was a surprise, but Glenn Frey’s passing came as a total shock and hit me much more personally. I have been an Eagles fan since their first album was released in 1972. I saw Glenn perform with the Eagles five or six (or seven?) times, and my friend Henry Paul introduced me to him over a drink in the lobby bar of the Riot House on Sunset Strip in Los Angeles. I didn’t know Glenn, but I did get to meet him, and I photographed him a couple of times. I took the previously unpublished shot above in 1975 at New York City’s long gone Academy of Music on 14th Street. It was during an Eagles concert shortly after the release of One Of These Nights. He was one of the leaders of one of the great bands of his time. (That is to say, my time.) I will miss him.

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