A small town with a big heart for artists

Published 10:00 pm Monday, March 6, 2017

Saluda prepares for 14th annual arts festival

This annual springtime event blossoms every year with fine art and crafts and the best of the region’s music talent. In its 14th year, the Saluda Arts Festival draws visual and performing artists to the town’s authentic, home spun charm and friendly people. This year’s event will feature talented artists from all over western North Carolina and the upstate of South Carolina that will delight visitors on May 20 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

In addition to the artists, the festival is pleased to announce its headliners for 2017.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Mercury Rising Band

Soulful and warm, Americana and Blues style original songs that spark the heart with Saluda’s own lead singer and song/writer, Debbie Camacho, on keys and guitar, Irving Camacho on percussion and harmonies, and Orion Faruque from Red Music Productions on bass and harmonies.

Debbie began writing songs around the age of 15, was eventually discovered by a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer agent and recorded her first CD, “Visions of Love” in 1999 with the late three-time Grammy Award-winning producer, Phil York, (with Yorktown Digital) from Texas, released on Tea Tyme Records. Following her first release, Debbie began a successful all original song tour with Barnes and Noble and eventually moved to Florida where she performed extensively for about six years as a solo artist, with several bands and in the studio (Emerald City Studios, Harp Records and Antbed Records).

Debbie’s roots as the daughter of two ordained evangelical, singing and instrumental ministers who traveled all over the U.S., Mexico and Canada provided a great foundation to build a life-long love and appreciation for heart-felt and soulful music. 

Irving “Hands of Steel” Camacho has played Latin percussion since childhood, following in the footsteps of his father, Ismael Camacho, who toured with bands extensively in New York. After joining the Navy, Irving played regularly for the USO and has performed with many successful bands over the years. His natural ability for crisp, clean, concise and tasteful percussion makes him a highly sought talent for both live music and studio work.

Orion Faruque, owner and operator of RedMusic Productions, is an outstanding young and upcoming artist, freelance music producer and audio engineer who writes and performs original music as well as supports a variety of local talent on bass, drums and guitar.

Bill and Tads Excellent Duo

Bill and Tad’s Excellent Duo is a stringed duo with great harmonics, a 12 string guitar and hand drum, performing awesome covers from the Beatles to Led Zeppelin to Simon and Garfunkel as well as some original tunes.

Fayssoux McLean and Brandon Turner

Fayssoux has emerged as a lead vocalist of merit and consequence, winning raves from collaborators including Country Music Hall of Famers Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt, Rodney Crowell, Jim Lauderdale, and other contemporary greats. 

She did a duet with Harris on 1978’s “Green Rolling Hills” and harmonized on 2005’s Grammy-winning “The Connection.” Crowell adores her, and likens her voice to “charm, elegance, whippoorwills and Magnolia dewdrops.” Ronstadt writes glowingly about Fayssoux in her Simple Dreams memoir.

In 2008, she made her recorded debut as a solo artist on Red Beet with the exquisite Early. Now she’s back with “I Can’t Wait,” a gorgeous set of songs, five of which Fayssoux wrote and all of which are elevated by her singular, dusk-shaded invitation of a voice.

Teaming up with blues guitarist, Brandon Turner, Fayssoux will invite her audience to hear stories and smile together while she performs at the Saluda Arts Festival.

Hogtown Squealers

Brevard’s Hogtown Squealers have delighted audiences and dancers for more than 20 years. Currently the band consists of Tom Anderson (fiddle, vocals), Susan Brown (fiddle), Matt Gardner (bass), John von Stein (accordion, vocals), Keith Ward (guitar), and Gary Wells (banjolyn, vocals).

Their music is old time in its foundation, but they explore the edges of old time traditions and incorporate other genres—a honky-tonk, ragtime, and “obscure musical miscellany.” In their eclectic approach to old time music, they share much of their musical attitude with the early incarnations of the Red Clay Ramblers and the Double Decker String Band. Drawing primarily from their own creative inclinations, though, and from the early greats of recorded Southern string band music, they cite as influences Uncle Dave Macon, Gid Tanner, and North Carolinian Charlie Poole.

In the same set as a rollicking version of Uncle Dave’s “Old Plank Road” and the Carter Family’s “Dixie Darling” might be a Squealerized version of “Thunder Road,” the Robert-Mitchum-penned theme song from the movie of the same name about moonshine bootleggers. The Hogtown Squealers recorded an album, “Embrace the Pig,” in 2002.

Casual Zealots

The Casual Zealots are a four-person band from the Tryon area. These friends collaborate in various musical projects, and specialize in playing classic R&B, blues, jazz and rock and roll.

The name is not an accident. These four approach music and its many charms and mysteries with divine intensity, in a laid back way.

At the helm is Jim Peterman. His organ playing and singing is steeped in the history of the dance hall, radio, and sanctuary of the 50s, 60s, and 70s. On guitar and vocals is Rich Nelson, from the Tryon band, 176. He tends to bring a rock edge to any project he gets involved with. 

Vinny Corda on baritone sax, alto sax, flute and vocals brings sophistication, tone, and color always. Marko Noto, also from 176, rounds out the group on drums. His influences run from jazz and blues to rock, so you can depend on him to bring the groove.

Life Like Water

Life Like Water is an acoustic trio from Asheville, N.C. composed of singer/songwriter and guitarist David Matters, Megan Drollinger on violin/vocals, and Isabel Castellvi on cello/vocals/tabla. Their music is a fluid combination of sounds coming out of different traditions from all over the world. With elements of African/Indian/Celtic and American roots and blues, their music claims no specific genre but embraces the beauty of the traditional as well as sensibilities of the modern. Their emphasis on infectious melodies, layered vocals, penetrating lyrics and trance-like repetition have the ability to keep the mind engaged and the body animated.

Deadline for artist entries is March 17. Applications can be downloaded at saluda.com, click on the Saluda Arts Festival, or email saludaartsfestivalnc@gmail.com. Volunteers are needed and sponsorships are available. Contact Kristen Mode at kmodesKreations@yahoo.com or call 570-856-3838 and Beth Carson at bethcarson151@gmail.com if you would like to be a sponsor.

For more information about the Saluda Arts Festival, visit saluda.com and click on the Saluda Arts Festival link. Check Facebook for updates about the festival.

– article submitted by Cathy Jackson