Arts Literature

Book Feature: Growing Up in Asheville, North Carolina

How Music & Art Sparked a Renaissance in a Sleepy Southern Town

Dan Lewis, Author

When Dan Lewis moved to Asheville with his family in 1960, it was a quiet city of 40,000 people. “Beaucatcher Mountain stood proudly and complete on Asheville’s eastern skyline,” Lewis says. “The only highway access was by two-lane rural roads. The following decades brought vast and dramatic changes, and I wanted to capture the fading Asheville of my younger years, what was, before it was lost forever and covered by the present.”

After graduation, Lewis became a professional musician and songwriter and performed with musicians including synthesizer inventor Bob Moog and first-generation Black blues musicians Walter and Ethel Phelps. Not all of the book’s stories are happy, however. “Also chronicled are entire neighborhoods that were erased by urban renewal, resulting in irreparable cultural losses and consequences as progress overran the past,” says Lewis. “The book runs a gamut of emotions, from coming-of-age stories to humorous misadventures, informative history, the rise of the arts and music culture alongside generations of cultural repression, but celebrates the place I have always loved.”

Growing Up in Asheville, North Carolina: How Music & Art Sparked a Renaissance in a Sleepy Southern Town, December, 2021, memoir/history, hardcover, $27.95, by Dan Lewis, and published by Printagination Press, Arden, NC. Email Dan Lewis at

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