By Pete Zamplas- Gritty Americana artist Colby Deitz headlines Rhythm & Brews on Thursday, July 18 in Downtown Hendersonville.
The free concert series of bands playing mostly original songs is on the third Thursday evening, May through September. The City of Hendersonville organizes it.
The site is along two blocks of the southern end of Main Street, between Allen and Caswell streets and near the Visitors’ Center at 201 S. Main St.
The Visitors’ Center’s lot is where two long-running series are held, as people sit on their lawn chairs. (No pets, coolers or back packs are allowed.) These series are also free. Henderson County Tourism Development Authority (HCTDA) is the main organizer.
Music on Main is on Friday nights, 7-9 p.m., through Aug. 23. That series’ acts typically play covers of rock-beach-R&B oldies before mostly swing-dancing senior citizens.
Bands will be WestSound July 12, Vintage Vinyl July 19, then Rock & Roll Reunion July 26. In August bands are Night Move Band, Dashboard Blue, Deano & the Dreamers, then 96.5 House Band.
A special treat each time is the classic car show put on by Carolina Mountain Car Club, on southward Main where Rhythm & Blues is held.
Monday Night Street Dances enable people of all ages to learn square dancing and/or enjoy hearing peppy mountain music and to marvel at brisk clogging. This dance debuted here 101 years ago, to welcome back World War I soldiers. The ’19 series began this Monday, July 8 and concludes Aug. 12.
Veteran caller Walt Puckett teaches basic square dance moves at 6:30. The dance is 7-9 p.m. Seating opens 5:30 p.m. Bands are Appalachian Fire on July 8 and 22 and Aug. 5, and Bobby & Blue Ridge Tradition July 15 and 29 and Aug. 12. Cloggers are Southern Connection (three times), Mountain Thunder, or Lake Lure Cloggers. Onlookers can join the open-floor dance demo July 29.
Rhythm & Brews draws several generations to hear rising area original bands. Styles vary, widening the series’ overall appeal. The 2019 series began May 16 with The Broadcast’s original rock and roll, and honky tonk Screamin J’s opening. In June, rock ruled again as Big Daddy Love opened for Travers Brothership.
Next month has up-tempo bluegrass-Americana, Aug. 15. Fireside Collective headlines, with progressive string “newgrass” originals. The band recently toured with Yonder Mtn. String Band. Opening is Anya Hinkle and Tellico, also based in Asheville. Their CD Woven Waters was picked in WNCW radio’s top ten for albums of 2018.
The finale this year, on Sept. 19, has two brassy bands. Rad Trads opens with varied swirling sounds and vocals. Main act Honey Island Swamp Band plays funky “Bayou Americana.” “Rhythm & Brews” is a take on rhythm and blues, that many of the series’ acts play.
Concession booths include various food and — for as “Brews” — eight local producers of local craft beer, hard cider or wine. IDs are checked at organizer Downtown Hendersonville’s tent, where wristbands are bought.
This jammed event is well monitored by police and proud to be a family event by virtue of its very festive yet peaceful, non-rowdy atmosphere. The Hands On! Family Zone helps families keep their children away from the alcohol area. There, Hands On! Children’s Museum runs a booth for family activities and treats. The National Guard’s “missing tent” is where children are to go and wait for their parents, if separated.
The musical opener July 18 at 5:30 p.m. is the Kenny George Band, of Aiken, S.C. This country outlaw-rock band is among S.C. Music Guide’s South Carolina Artists to Watch, and recorded four CDs. There are three guitarists — Kenny George and Scott Rankin who also sing, and a pedal steel guitarist for country riffs.
The Colby Deitz Band takes the stage about 7:30 p.m.
Deitz grew up in Sylva. His surname is the same as legendary Boyce Deitz, who coached Heath Shuler and others in Swain County football near Sylva.
In March, Colby Deitz’s CD entitled Songs I Wish Were Mine included his singing Ed Sheeran’s ballad “Perfect.” Husky Deitz has a robust, soulful voice.
Performing songs is “therapy for us. It’s our release from life,” Deitz stated. “We want people from the audience to feel it.” Emotion is “bursting out of me at shows.”
His originals include “Sad Songs,” with a horn-spiced arrangement. His style crosses country-folk-pop, a la the Zac Brown Band.
Deitz led his church worship team at age 17, and at 19 was hired as worship pastor. While in college six years ago, he formed his first band. As a full-time musician, “nothing in life worth doing is easy”…rather, “scary.”
Rhythm & Brews delays each act up to a half-hour, before any canceling. Weather.com calls for a 50 percent of scattered thunderstorms on July 18.
Special events in downtown this summer start this Saturday, July 13 with Chalk It Up! chalk sketches on Main’s sidewalks.
Downtown “goes to the dogs” for fun with Tails in Towns, 8-2 on Saturday, July 27. WTZQ and the city stage this at the historic train depot on Maple Street, near Seventh Avenue. There is a Pet Costume Pageant, Strut Your Mutt 5K race, with pet products and animal non-profits on hand.
Dalleen Jackson, the city’s force behind such events, heralds the chance to “celebrate the companionship, unconditional love and joy that our furry friends bring to our lives.”
All summer long, Bearfootin’ figurines adorn corners of mile-long Main. Apple Festival is on Labor Day Weekend, then Art on Main is Sept. 29-30.
For more on Rhythm & Brews, check downtownhendersonville.org/rb/. For more on Music on Main, street dances or other events downtown, check: http://downtownhendersonville.org/calendar-of-events