Live Review: Turnpike Troubadours in Asheville

The Turnpike Troubadours made the most of a brief North Carolina visit last week…

The relatively short time span from an announced show in Asheville to performance didn’t leave much room for promotion. Fortunately, the Turnpike Troubadours are one of the biggest and best bands currently in the red dirt scene, word traveled fast and a sold out crowd greeted them at Salvage Station in Asheville last Thursday night.

A small venue with a capacity of around 1,000 for their indoor performances, the unique facility provided both an indoor and outdoor stage. Better weather would have made for an entertaining performance on the outdoor stage with crowds along the French Broad River banks but with periods of rain, the cozy confines of an indoor facility were perfect.

Rising star Jaime Wyatt, who sings alongside Shooter Jennings on his new album in ‘Fast Horses and Good Hideouts’ got things going with her honky tonk style songs off her latest record Felony Blues.

Following, Evan Felker and his band took to the stage with ‘The Housefire’ and for nearly two hours rarely showed signs of slowing down. An upbeat set list with only brief interludes to share a story about former member and friend John Fullbright, in addition to band introductions were the only breaks in the action until time for an encore.

From his initial countdown to get things started, Felker looked like a revived and refreshed band leader. Our seventh Turnpike Troubadours show in the past seven years and it was the most fun we’ve seen him have on stage. High on life? Sober? You’d have to ask him but the performance was on point all night long.

High energy, solid performances all the way around and even nearly 1,000 miles from home playing to a packed house with the majority singing along. Felker did mention their latest album, A Long Way From Your Heart, was partially recorded in the North Carolina mountains of Asheville presumably at the historic Echo Mountain Studios.

Potentially their best album to date, which is saying something considering the band hasn’t put out a bad song in nearly a decade, many of the favorites were featured throughout the set with a sprinkling of older songs mixed in between.

Felker turned over the stage to bass player R.C. Edwards to take a short break and his song ‘Drunk, High and Loud’ went over extremely well before the full band was back together for ‘I’ve Just Seen A Face’ (Beatles) and ‘Long Hot Summer Day’ (John Hartford).

The encore was a perfect two song finale showcasing the talents of everyone in the band and how well their combined efforts come across on stage. Like a well oiled machine, the Turnpike Troubadours executed a flawless performance on a tight stage putting together one of the best live shows we have witnessed this year.

FULL SETLIST 05/17/2018

The Housefire
Every Girl
7 & 7
Doreen
1968
Morgan Street
Shreveport
The Bird Hunters
Whole Damn Town
Kansas City Southern
Good Lord Lorrie
Wrecked
The Winding Stair Mountain Blues
Pay No Rent
Pipe Bomb Dream
Before the Devil Knows We’re Dead
I’ve Just Seen a Face (The Beatles)
Drunk, High and Loud (R.C. Edwards)
Long Hot Summer Day (John Hartford)

ENCORE

A Tornado Warning
Something To Hold On To

Turnpike Troubadours: Come See For Yourself

The Turnpike Troubadours are headed to western North Carolina this week…

Anytime an artist or band who is cemented into the local red dirt and Texas music scene ventures this far east it creates a sense of excitement but when that band is The Turnpike Troubadours, it’s cause for elation on extreme levels. It won’t be the first, and hopefully not the last time lead singer Evan Felker and his band mates visit North Carolina but it has been a while.

Having played dates in Raleigh and Charlotte over the past few years, the band lands in western North Carolina for a Thursday night show at Salvage Station in Asheville, this week. While the venue and city make for an easy trip from Charlotte, Winston-Salem and all points west, the band itself should draw patrons from across North Carolina and many neighboring states as well.

Even if you have not yet heard of The Turnpike Troubadours, it is likely that if you follow country music the name Evan Felker rings a bell. Recently it was revealed that Felker and country music superstar Miranda Lambert have been involved in a relationship, although the media’s portrayal of Turnpike as a neo-folk group was comical to those who have been following the band for some time.

Originating around 2007 from Oklahoma, the band has organically grown a following outside the heart of red dirt music. Both recent and upcoming tours with Miranda Lambert and Little Big Town should assist in growing their already spirited fan base.

Most songs are contrived from Felker and bassist R.C. Edwards, whose storytelling abilities to compose parallels between, not just separate songs, but over entire albums and even across different records is remarkable.

The band itself, comprised of other members: Kyle Nix (fiddle), Ryan Engleman (lead guitar), Gabriel Pearson (drums) and Hank Early (steel guitar) has a unique sound of their own. A blending of so many red dirt staples, including an occasional accordion, harmonica and banjo serve as a strong foundation for their music.

It is this sound coupled with creative lyrics that have aided their rise in the red dirt scene. Arguably the best and most successful band currently touring, The Turnpike Troubadours continue to escalate their game and live performances with each passing show.

Featured on Austin City Limits with Chris Stapleton and preparing for another television taping at the Bluegrass Underground, coming up on Saturday, their exposure has seemingly been growing across all platforms for some time.

Make your way to Asheville on Thursday and find out for yourself what makes this band so special. If you are a fan of live music and want to witness first-hand a group of extremely talented musicians who are continually working to hone their craft, then make plans now to be in attendance.

Doors at 8:00pm, purchase tickets here.