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Cue the Fourchestra

By Jesse Campbell (

Article Published: Jun. 20, 2013 | Modified: Jun. 23, 2013
Cue the Fourchestra

The Jonathan Scales Fourchestra, featuring Jonathan Scales, Cody Wright and Phill Bronson, will perform June 22 in Boone.

Photo submitted

Jonathan Scales, front man for the Jonathan Scales Fourchestra, said it is almost impossible to pinpoint the distinct sound of his steel pan-driven trio.

To decipher Scales’s vision and sound, which has been compared by some labels as “blurring the lines of jazz,” would require a firsthand experience.

That’s something he hopes Boone Saloon regulars will do when he takes to the downtown venue’s stage Saturday, June 22.

“The best way to describe it,” Scales said, with a pause. “Well, it’s like what we used to tell people — you just have to hear it. That’s the best way to go about it. I play the steel drums, and it’s not a sound you would normally hear. You are not going to hear stereotypical cruise ship music. This is more of a progressive approach, and we push the boundaries by mixing styles in our rhythmic and harmonic approaches.”

Scales incorporates a contemporary jazz attitude into arrangements that tap into funk, rock and jam, according to a news release.

Currently, the band is comprised of drummer Phill Bronson, bassist Cody Wright and Scales, of course, on the steel drums.

Unlike past arrangements, Scales feels like, for the first time, he has a solid and committed ensemble of musicians ready to set fire to Asheville’s already rotund music scene.

Scales started the Fourchestra after graduating from Appalachian State University in 2006, with a degree in music performance.

Early on, Scales recalled the revolving-door makeup of the band, as he tried to settle on a consistent group.

“We’ve had some steady lineups here and there, but this has been our most steady lineup,” he said.
Grammy winners Victor Wooten and Howard Levy accentuate the group’s already free-sounding groove with special appearances on the Fourchestra’s self-titled album, which is due out on July 9.

Fourchestra — and Scales — have come a long way since 2006.

It was while at ASU that Scales decided he wanted to be a professional musician and began writing music.

“This is my job,” he said. “This is my career. This is what I wake up and do every day, and it’s already going in that direction. Everyone that is in this band makes their living from performing.”

The Fourchestra has already embarked on a new tour and will continue to perform at clubs and festivals throughout the summer. The band’s new label, Ropeadope Records, is already amazed by what the group adds to its organization.

“We’re super stoked to welcome Scales to the Ropeadope family,” said Louis Marks, CEO of Ropeadope Records. “We always have an ear for artists that transcend genre and cross boundaries at will. He brings all that with excitement and intensity.”

The Jonathan Scales Fourchestra performs at 10 p.m. Saturday, June 22, at Boone Saloon, located at 489 W. King St. in downtown Boone. Cover costs $5, and only those 21 and older will be admitted.
In addition to the Boone Saloon appearance, the group will be making regional pit stops on July 19 at Local 506 in Chapel Hill and at Pisgah Brewing Company in Asheville July 20.

For more information on Jonathan Scales Fourchestra, visit

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