The Broadcast, Asheville’s premier rock band with a new CD literally in the mix, offers listeners an acoustic treat every other Friday this month in the Rustic Grape Wine Bar in Downtown.
The full band’s next area gig is this Saturday, Jan. 5 at Beech Mountain Brewing Co. Taproom and Grill, at the ski resort north of Asheville.
Rock enthusiasts can get a taste of the bluesy-neo classic rock band’s fronting couple for free this month. The energetic Dynamic Duo of singer Caitlin Krisko and lead guitarist Aaron Austin said they will perform unplugged in Rustic Grape Jan. 11 and 25, and possibly every other Friday beyond — at least into February.
They played there this past Friday. Their gigs are typically 7-10 p.m. There is no cover charge; feeding the musicians’ tip jar is encouraged.
Rustic Grape is at 14 Aston St., at the corner of Lexington and a block from Biltmore Avenue. Listeners in the small, cozy wine bar are close to the performers, whose backs are to the front window. “I love how we relate to our fans on a more personal, intimate level,” Krisko said.
The acoustic duo showcases Austin’s elaborate instrumentation, and Krisko’s extensive range in a more basic sound. Austin likes the change of pace.
Krisko noted they “explore different sounds and dynamic,” and cover songs much lighter and simpler than their own. “Can’t You See” is Marshall Tucker Band’s earthy debut single in ’73. It is an example of a rock song with a busy sound that still clicks energetically, when the local duo plays it in its bare element.
Austin improvised the guitar lead-in to James Taylor’s poignant “Fire and Rain.” Other ballads in one of their sets were a pair of 1988 smash hits — Chris Isaac’s heart tugger “Wicked Games,” Tracy Chapman’s 1988 hypnotic folk hit “Fast Car.” They also drifted back in time with soulful “At Last” that Etta James made famous in 1960, and Bobby Hebb‘s 1966 pop hit “Sunny.”
In the full rock shows, the covers are such classic rock gems as The Allman Bros.’ cathartic “Whipping Post,” and Joe Cocker’s soulful version of “A Little Help From My Friends.” Krisko’s vocal power makes Cocker sound like a pipsqueak. She swayed from her usual style at a Dec. 1 gig, to sing Paula Abdul’s ’88 funk pop hit “Straight Up.”
The best treats of The Broadcast shows are its hearty and euphoric originals. Done live, the visual perks are Austin’s tenacious intensity; and Krisko’s perpetual motion and grins, theatric gestures (she trained in musical theater) and her pure jubilation.
The band’s style mixes classic rock, psychedelic, soul and R&B into a tight and dynamic ensemble with hard-driving rhythms and explosive vocals.
Krisko’s powerful and sultry voice reminds many of rock greats from Grace Slick to Grace Potter, from Ann Wilson to Susan Tedeschi and Adele. Krisko got to join Tedeschi for a duet, in New York City in October.
“My soul is from Detroit,” said Royal Oak, Mich. native Krisko, who moved to Brooklyn, N.Y. She started The Broadcast there, in 2007, then moved it to Asheville in ‘10. “Motown has a profound influence on me.” So does Led Zeppelin and other classic rock acts.
Outer Banks native Austin‘s guitar frenzy interplays well with the edgy vocals and other instrumentalists. They are keyboardist Mike Runyon, bassist William Seymour, Tyler Householder on percussion, and Michael W. Davis on drums.
The Broadcast will play at Beech Mountain starting about 6 p.m., in the Winterfest Beer Festival that is 4-8 p.m. Shelby Rae Adams’ band opens.
This helps raise money for OVAAT (One Veteran At A Time). OVAAT helps military personnel across the country readapt back into civilian life, such as with business internships and peer support. Tickets are $15-$35.
The Broadcast’s latest local gig was Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, before festive crowds jamming the Salvage Station in Asheville. The bill also had Burlington-based rock-funk Big Something, whose singer Nick MacDaniels among others accompanying The Broadcast. Krisko sang with them, near the end of the night.
The Broadcast’s full lineup plays nearly entirely its energetic originals such as “Battle Cry,” “Steamroller,” “Lovin’ You,” “Every Step,” “Electric Light” and “Eyes of a Woman.”
New songs from the band’s upcoming CD entitle Lost My Sight were part of the shows a month ago, showcasing as much vocal and instrumental intensity as ever. They include “Blue Heron,” “Fighting the Feeling,” “Out of My Mind,” “Same Old Thing,” and “Over the Mountain.” Lyrical themes include about romance, happiness, frustration, and moving forward over time.
The Broadcast has won awards at Music Video Asheville, honor as Asheville’s official ambassador band, tours often out West and even to Europe, and got worldwide airplay on NPR’s “World Cafe” in ’16.
Entering this new year, the Broadcast’s upcoming new CD entitled From The Horizon is in the mixing phase. The target release is by May, for at least singles if not the entire album, Austin noted. He said the huge objective is landing a deal with a record label. A month-long “kickstarter” fund drive/CD advance order ended recently and successfully, to help afford finishing the project.
The producers are the famed blues-rock Tedeschi Trucks Band’s bassist Tim Lefebvre (formerly with David Bowie) and drummer Tyler “Falcon” Greenwell. Those two also played in the recording sessions, in Asheville’ Echo Mountain Studio in 2018 with later work in Atlanta.
Any idea to have more guest musicians was scrapped, Austin said, so “it’s more fully us.”
Lefebvre calls the songs full of “perks and fun stuff,” and The Broadcast “amazingly talented.”
Krisko called the studio sessions the “best creative week” of her life, a “revolution.” She said “we’ve expanded our sounds.” Austin said of some of the band’s musicians, “we’re jazz fusion guys” and that the upcoming CD infuses some jazz fusion.
Indeed, last Friday after their own show, Austin and Krisko swayed up front at Wicked Weed in Asheville to the jazz fusion Runyon plays in another local band. Runyon joined drummer Jeff Sipe (for Tedeschi, Warren Haynes), and the Page Brothers (twins Andy as lead guitarist, Zack on bass). Sipe and Bruce Hampton founded the Aquarium Rescue Unit.
The Broadcast’s CD entitled From the Horizon was recorded in Los Angeles, in 2015. Seven-time Grammy winner Jim Scott (Tom Petty, TTB) produced it. Austin and Krisko wrote songs starting in 2010. In ’13, they released their self-produced Dodge the Arrow CD that reached fourth on the college radio charts.
Thus, their acoustic side act returns to their time as a duo.
For more on the band, check: thebroadcastmusic.com.