Busker of the day – Stevie Lee Combs

© John Gellman
Singer/songwriter Stevie Lee Combs visited my Flatiron Studio today for a portrait. The self described omnivore of Americana can often be found busking in Asheville, performing country blues based jug band music. Whether he’s performing alone or with others, you might find the Tom Waits admiring multi-instrumentalist playing guitar, banjo, harmonica, kazoo, and who knows what else. And he’s an award winning songwriter. Also, I gotta thank Billy Scribbles for introducing us and suggesting a portrait session.

 

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Those were the days – Days N’ Daze at Crooked Wood

Here’s a shot from my favorite music venue ever in Asheville. Days N’ Daze is performing at the long gone Crooked Wood in October, 2014. That’s right, this shot is almost three years old. So why post it now? Well, I had a pizza for dinner tonight at a restaurant where a guy named Freddie used to work. Freddie lived at the house where Crooked Wood existed in his basement. Since it was not only under the house, but under the radar as well – had no liquor license, no fire inspections, no food safety inspections, and was generally illegal in any and every respect, I never published anything I shot there because I did not want to get anyone in trouble or see it shut down. All to no avail, because the landlord shut it down before anyone got arrested. But, in my opinion, while it lasted, it was the best venue for live music in Asheville. And I miss it almost as much as I miss Jon Stewart. Of course, Days N’ Daze are doing quite well. They are on the verge of real fame, playing much larger venues for actual money. Anyway, I thought about Crooked Wood as I ate my pizza, remembered that I had this picture in my archive, and figured it was about time to publish it. I hope all statutes of limitations have expired.

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Hanging out with Ben Phan & the Soul Symphony

© John Gellman

I caught Ben Phan & the Soul Symphony hanging out down by the river Saturday afternoon after their set at Asheville’s Riverfest.
They are (L to R) Ryan Kijanka, Molly Barrett, Mattock Frick, Franklin Keel, and Ben Phan.

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Buskers of the day – Big Dawg Slingshots

© John Gellman

The Big Dog Slingshots have been around town on and off for a couple years, but for some reason, they have escaped my talent radar, even though I have known one of them for several years. They play Western Swing music  that makes my feet go up and down. Yes, even my surgically repaired foot. The Slingshots are (L to R) Marina Sneeblii, Davin Sneeblii, Shanty Town, and Eric H. Smith. Hopefully, they are here to stay for a while.

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Busker of the day – Lyle Rickards

© John Gellman

I can’t tell you how long I have been talking to Lyle Rickards about photographing him, but the sun, moon, and stars were never properly aligned to make it happen. I guess it took a pending solar eclipse to do the trick, because when I ran into him today downtown I asked if he would ever be free to do a photo shoot. Lyle replied that he was free right then. The master dulcimer player, who has been a fixture on Asheville’s downtown sidewalks for quite some time, was concerned that his dulcimer was being repaired, and he was using a borrowed dulcimer, but it was a lovely instrument nevertheless. And if you’re straining to read his button. It says SPOON LADY FOR PRESIDENT.

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Buskers of the day – Sadie & the Tramps

© John Gellman

It’s definitely the time of year for migrant buskers in Asheville. Sadie is front and center, with Kid and Jim behind her. Kid and Jim met in Texas and have been making music together while traveling for the last three months. I’m not sure what role Sadie played, but the partnership seems to work. You don’t see a resonator uke every day, so I just had to get them up to my Flatiron Studio for some pics.

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Buskers of the day – A Murder of Crows

© John Gellman

No, they are not killing crows, or counting them either. A murder of crows means a flock of crows, and the term dates back to the 15th century. I looked it up. Never too old to learn something I didn’t know. They seemed unsure what the name of their band was. I was about to suggest Dirty Kids and Their Dogs, but they settled on A Murder of Crows. Anyway, it is the dog days of summer, so it was totally appropriate to feature a group of dirty kids and their dogs on my blog today. Trevor, Jefferson, and Clyde hail from Austin, Texas. Sorry, but I forgot the dogs’ names. They played a mean version of House of the Rising Sun while I was shooting this pic. Be sure to drop a couple bucks in their tip bucket if you see them playing around Asheville.

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Buskers of the day – Dylan & Gary, The Low Pay Daddys

© John Gellman

Ohioans Dylan Grove and his friend Gary Bungo passed through Asheville this week busking as the Low Pay Daddys. I talked with them on the sidewalk, and they had already heard about my busker portraits from some other buskers, so they agreed to come up to my Flatiron Studio for a photo session before hitting the road again. Thanks guys, and happy trails. It’s good to be shooting again after a month long boring recovery from foot surgery.

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