Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Don't miss the Freddy Cole Quartet

Jazz lovers in Asheville are in for a real treat this Saturday, July 31st as Freddy Cole, brother to Nat King Cole, takes the stage starting at 8:00PM in the Diana Wortham Theatre.

With his signature elegance and authentic cool, legendary vocalist-pianist Freddy Cole's performances make every audience members' heart smile. The New York Times recently heaped rare praise in Cole's direction: "Freddy has an impeccable sense of swing...he is, overall, the most maturely expressive male jazz singer of his generation, if not the best alive."

Cole doesn't apologize for a style that faintly echoes his brother, Nat "King" Cole. There are certain unmistakable similarities. He plays piano masterfully and sings and performs live with guitar and upright bass, just like Nat. Yet his voice is raspier, smokier, jazzier even. In truth, his phrasing is far closer to that of Frank Sinatra or Billie Holiday than that of his brother and his timing swings a little more. His vocals-suave, elegant, formidable, and articulate-are among the most respected in jazz.

If you would like to learn more about the show visit the WNC Jazz Society's site. There you can also listen to select audio clips of Freddy's music. If you are traveling in from out of town and need a place to stay, check out these great hotels.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The stars come out at Biltmore

The Biltmore Summer Concert Series is in full swing and this weekend is packed with large name acts. The South Terrace at the Biltmore is the perfect backdrop for an outdoor concert with mountain views, a glorious home and bright stars in the sky and on stage.

On Thursday night Mary Chapin Carpenter will grace the stage. Over the course of a 12–album recording career, Carpenter has won five Grammy® Awards and sold over 13 million records. Carpenter will celebrate her return to a favorite venue, playing the music of her latest album, The Age of Miracles, which was released this spring.

On Friday night, after much anticipation, Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard kick off their North America tour at Biltmore. Concert goers can expect an entertaining evening as two friends and colleagues blend their talents for an unforgettable show. Clay and Ruben will be performing their renditions of classic hits from the past five decades. In 2003, on the second season of American Idol, with over 24 million votes cast by the TV viewing audience, Ruben Studdard won the title, while Clay Aiken was the very close runner up.

The concert starts at 8PM and Biltmore recommends you arrive at least 30 minutes prior to show time. Tickets range from $40 for general admission to $75 for premium seating. You can also purchase packages that will include an Estate pass so that you can tour the home, winery and gardens prior to showtime. For more information on the concerts please visit here. If you are traveling in from out of town and need a place to stay check out these great hotels.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Parkway Playhouse presents: Annie

This weekend the Parkway Playhouse in Burnsville, NC will be running it's final four performances of the classic stage show Annie.

The popular comic strip heroine takes center stage in one of the world's best-loved musicals. Annie is a spunky Depression-era orphan determined to find her parents, who abandoned her on the doorstep of a New York City orphanage run by the cruel, embittered Miss Hannigan. In adventure after fun-filled adventure, Annie foils Miss Hannigan's evil machinations, befriends President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and finds a new family in billionaire Oliver Warbucks, his personal secretary Grace Farrell and a lovable mutt named Sandy.

Annie first appeared on the scene in 1924 and her daily comic strip ran for almost 85 years ending just last month (June 2010). You wouldn't know it from the infectious smile and the curly red ringlets of hair, but the story of Annie was, at times, considered controversial for its political undertones and the way it highlighted the more darker aspects of human nature such as the disparity between the rich and the poor.

During the 1930's a radio show called Little Orphan Annie hit the airwaves and lasted for ten years before ending in 1940. Also during the same decade two films were created based on Annie. In 1977 the first Broadway stage show was created and it ran until 1983. Another movie was released in 1982 revitalizing the popular songs such as Hard Knocked Life and The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow.

You can enjoy those songs again this weekend. The show at Parkway Playhouse begins at 7:30PM this Thursday running through Saturday with a special matinee show beginning at 2PM on Saturday only. Tickets range from $12-$22 and can be purchased here.

If you're traveling in from out of town and need a place to stay check out these great hotels.