Incredibly innovative and intellectually composed, The Asheville Symphony Sessions is the perfect balance between jazz, R&B and a classical orchestra. With folky vocals belting out these creative tunes, the strong ensemble counterpart drives the sessions into a mellow, yet dramatic world you can’t seem to escape — not that you’d want to!
The Asheville Symphony tweaks basic structural elements of their tunes in a way that involves intense harmony and complex melodies, specifically from their abstract use of various string instruments. Their sound comes from an ensemble that keeps the main ideas of a normal classical symphony, but steers away from mainstream music. What is great about this session is that each song has a completely different sound. “Blue Velvet Rain” brings on a country feel thanks to that classic twang, southern vocals, and fiddle composition. The track “Don’t Freak Out” by Lovett is lighthearted and fun, while being very psychedelic and sounding as if it belongs in a ’70s musical.
The first song from the sessions, “Filthy Dirty South,” is a strong piece to begin with due to the addition of a bluesy piano, which guides its improvisational style, and jazzy harmonized mellow vocals courtesy of Rising Appalachia.
The backing orchestra ensemble adds unique and intricate details to the pieces, enhancing the idea of the collaborated sessions being “a musical love letter from Asheville to the world.” The 18 months of work put into this project becomes evident when listening to the carefully designed arrangements and its balanced complexity. It is wonderful to see a group of talented musicians get together to create beautiful expressive art, only caring about making good music without boxing themselves in by seeking capital gain. The sessions have a life of their own which lets the listener’s mind wander and enjoy the blend of genres and instruments.
Giving credit where its due, featured artists include Doc Aquatic, Electric Owls, Free Planet Radio ft. Lizz Wright, Lovett, Matt Townsend, Rising Appalachia, Shannon Whitworth, and Steep Canyon Rangers. As a celebration of the diverse music in Western North Carolina, The Asheville Symphony Sessions bring some of the best locally-based musicians and their styles to light. This reflects the soul and spirit of their community and sends a message of varying backgrounds unifying for art.
The Asheville Symphony Sessions is available worldwide via iTunes and Amazon, and locally at Asheville-area retailers. You can also stream it on Spotify and Apple Music.
Be sure to check out the music video for “Don’t Freak Out,” featuring Lovett right here.