Sounds of Canyons
This is probably the biggest musical mixed bag weekend the High Country has ever witnessed - bluegrass, gospel, old-time and country at the MusicFest 'n Sugar Grove, Celtic bands galore at the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games, and Broadway showtunes with Chita Rivera and Ben Vereen as part of An Appalachian Summer.
Throw in some classical music courtesy of the Eastern Philharmonic Orchestra and the Blowing Rock Jazz Society's Second Sunday show, and we've got just about every genre of music you can name.
But what about funk?
Oh, we've got funk, too. One of the South's finest funk outfits, The Fritz, will perform a free show at Canyons of the Blue Ridge in Blowing Rock on Friday, July 8, beginning at 9 p.m.
The Fritz, from Jacksonville, Fla., pumps out infectious grooves that have been described as "a healthy stew of funk, bluegrass, techno, reggae, jazz and soul music."
The band features Jamie Hendrickson on guitar, Dan Johnson on percussion, Jake O'Connor on upright acoustic bass, Jamar Woods on keyboards and Michael Tillis on drums.
The Fritz formed more than three years ago and has been tearing up the Southeast college town circuit ever since. Known for their long, complex compositions, The Fritz creates a sound and feel that can best be described as a southern version of the Chicago-based band Umphrey's McGee.
To date the band has two albums, a self-titled debut and last year's "Numerology."
Christabel and the Jons
If you are still looking for something different on Saturday night, be sure to return to Canyons for a free show, featuring Christabel and the Jons.
The show starts at 9 p.m. and promises to be one of the best musical acts to come to Blowing Rock this summer.
Christabel and the Jons features Christa DeCicco on vocals, Seth Hopper on violin, mandolin, trumpet and accordion, Jon Whitlock on drums and vocals, and Vince Ilagan on upright acoustic bass.
The sound of Christabel and the Jons has been likened to Sade and some of the cooler exotic jazz bands to come from Brazil. With a sound that it is at once laid back yet intimate, the band weaves tapestry of beautiful rhythms around DeCicco's magically jazz voice.
The band's albums include "Love and Circumstances" (2006), "Custom Made for You" (2008), "The Christmas Album" (2010) and "The Same Mistake" (2011). Past performances include Bonnaroo, Riverbend, Floyd Fest, Bele Chere, Blue Plum Festival, Shakori Hills Festival, Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion, Tennessee Shines and Sundown in the City.
They've also opened for many national acts, including The Brazilian Girls, The Be Good Tanyas, The Red Stick Ramblers, The Wilders and Loudon Wainwright.
For more information, call Canyons of the Blue Ridge at (828) 295-7661.