Start 2020 off right with a resolution to bring more music into your life. Isis Music Hall presents its usual great line-up of traditional and contemporary sounds from regional favorites and nationally known artists beginning with The Justin Ray Big Band’s CD release on Wednesday, January 8, at 8:30 p.m. Ray, who has lived in Asheville for 11 years, began touring with Michael Bublé in 2003 as a trumpet soloist, becoming the primary orchestrator for the Bublé band five years later. “The Justin Ray Big Band was initially conceived as a studio project, and we’ve spent the last few years recording the material for the CD release at Isis,” says Ray. “This will be our debut live performance. The music is heavily influenced by the great big bands of the past (most notably Duke Ellington and Count Basie), and these influences are applied to both
my original songs as well as my arrangements of some classics from the Great American Songbook.”
Twenty-two musicians make up the band, with most calling Asheville home. Drummer Jamey Tate, Ray’s friend and colleague, will fly in from L.A. for the show. “My experience thus far with the Asheville music scene has been a very warm and happy one,” Tate says. “Not only is it a collection of great players but Asheville has an especially strong sense of community and brotherhood. Everyone challenges each other in positive, respectful ways and that is a great recipe for growing a successful music scene.” Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 the day of the show.
A wintertime favorite, the 3rd Annual Women in Music Series, returns Saturday, January 11, at 8:30 p.m. and Sunday, January 12, at 7:30 p.m. with Asheville-based and–grown artists and songwriters Amanda Anne Platt, Aubrey Eisenman, Jane Kramer, Laura Blackley, Tina Collins and Quetzal Jordan. “This year’s featured artists will be covering the works of Nina Simone, Linda Ronstadt and Patty Griffin,” says Eisenman. “The backing band will be featuring some of Asheville’s finest musicians and the songs will be true to their original forms, including lots of fun stories about the female icons being covered.” Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 the day of the show.
On Thursday, January 16, at 8:30 p.m. Lovers Leap will take the stage. The group’s members are Grammy-nominated bassist Shelby Means, acclaimed singer-songwriter Mary Lucey, award-winning guitarist Joel Timmons and slide guitar pioneer Billy Cardine. Bill and the Belles will open the evening with a spin on the golden era of music from the 1920s–1940s. Tickets are $15.
Slim Gambill, guitarist for Lady Antebellum, appears Thursday, January 23, at 8:30 p.m. on the LP Launch Tour for Fake Jazz & Theme Songs, an album that returns him to his jazz and blues roots and features appearances by notables such as Jeff Coffin, Kenneth Crouch and Dontae Winslow. Tickets are $20 in advance and $23 the day of the show.
The Bumper Jacksons, appearing Friday, January 24, at 8:30 p.m., have played many shows at Isis. “We love coming to Asheville,” says Jess Eliot Myhre. “It’s such a great, funky town. And Isis is a truly fabulous venue. We love that our Asheville fans like to dance to our hotter numbers, but also are down to sit and let us carry them away with our stories and ballads.”
Isis Restaurant and Music Hall is located at 743 Haywood Road in West Asheville. For ticket information and reservations, call 828.575.2737 or visit IsisAsheville.com where a complete schedule of events and times may be found. Dinner reservations by phone are recommended.