LIVE STREAM: The Travis Book Happy Hour ft Steve McMurry + Mike Ashworth
Travis Book (of the Infamous Stringdusters), Steve "Big Daddy" McMurry (of Acoustic Syndicate), Mike Ashworth (of Steep Canyon Rangers)
Mon, January 18, 2021
12:00 am EST
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The Travis Book Happy Hour is a 90 minute variety show hosted by Travis Book; bassist, songwriter, and vocalist in the Grammy Award winning bluegrass band, The Infamous Stringdusters, streaming live from the historic Grey Eagle in Asheville, NC. Born from his desire to bring musicians and friends together for collaboration and conversation, Travis launched the series in the summer of 2020 amidst the uncertainty of the Covid-19 crisis and a country divided. Faced with a cascade of existential questions about the nature of life and of being, Travis sought an outlet for inquiry, and individuals to help him dig deeper into what it means to be a musician and a creative being in the context of an ever-changing world. Unique, spontaneous musical collaboration with friends and contemporaries leads to singular moments of harmony and the occasional musical train-wreck… The Travis Book Happy Hour is his attempt to shine light into the darkest corners of our lives; to dive deep into the nature of our being and emerge bathed in the love, happiness, grace, and gratitude that’s available to us all, and hopefully, to make some beautiful, meaningful music along the way.
Acoustic Syndicate is a musical institution. Since 1994, their unique blend of bluegrass instruments, rock sensibilities, and conscious songwriting has inspired a generation of musicians. Through 7 albums, thousands of performances, and tens-of-thousands of miles, Acoustic Syndicate has long been heralded as one of the important influences on the modern roots-music revival.
Always a family affair, the band is fronted by Steve McMurry on guitar and vocals, and his cousin Bryon McMurry on banjo, guitar, and vocals. Their signature three-part blood harmony is rounded out by Bryon’s brother Fitz on drums and vocals. Multi-instrumentalist Jay Sanders holds down the bass with deep pocket and style.
“Their modern take on traditional bluegrass and rock values culminates in a glimmering, driving sound rich with acoustic textures and glowing vocals,” said Paul Kerr, of JamBase.
If there was ever a band that could capture the universal truths of life from the roots up, it’s Acoustic Syndicate.
Michael Ashworth is a session performer, producer, teacher, and touring artist. He is a multi-instrumentalist, equally adept at guitar, bass, drums, and percussion.
He also teaches and plays banjo, mandolin, keys, dobro, and fiddle. From a musical family, Ashworth “can’t remember a time when music wasn’t a central focus” of his life. An artist that can’t be pigeon-holed, Ashworth’s musical influences run the gamut from John Hartford to John Bonham.
His predominant playing styles include funk, soul, bluegrass, and rock. As a founding member of the funk/rock band Fifth House, Ashworth toured extensively across the Southeast. He has regularly appeared with The Jon Stickley Trio, Jeff Sipe (Col. Bruce Hampton, Aquarium Rescue Unit), Steep Canyon Rangers, Pisgah Pickers, Town Mountain, Leigh Glass, Bill Berg (Flim & the BB’s, Bob Dylan), and Shannon Whitworth. With Whitworth, he recently completed a run of Midwest tour dates opening for the Tedeschi-Trucks band.
Ashworth’s versatility as a multi-instrumentalist lends itself to session recording. His work can be found on:
Fifth House, Standing in the Deep End, 1999 Fifth House, self-titled, 2005 Carrie Fridley, Down South, 2006 Town Mountain, Steady Operator, 2011
Jon Stickley Trio, self-titled, 2012 Shannon Whitworth & Barrett Smith, Bring it on Home, 2012 Leigh Glass & The Hazards, Something in the Water, 2012 Hi-Fi Revival, TBA, 2013
Teaching has been a big part of Ashworth’s life for over a decade. In addition to private lessons, he is co-director of the Junior Appalachian Musicians (JAM) program. JAM operates through The Boys & Girls Club of Transylvania County with a mission of teaching traditional Appalachian music to school-age children. His students range in age from five years old to eighty-six.
In 2013, Ashworth signed on to a cross-country tour with Steve Martin & Edie Brickell. Ashworth will join the Grammy-winning Steep Canyon Rangers in supporting Martin/Brickell’s new record Love Will Come For You. Find tour dates and television appearances at stevemartin.com. Most recently, The Steep Canyon Rangers announced Ashworth as a permanent addition to their solo act.
Ashworth is also currently collaborating with long-time partner Corey Bullman on a project called Hi-Fi Revival. Recorded at Echo Mountain Studios, the group also features Nigel Hall (Break Science, Lettuce, Alan Evans Trio), Todd Smallie (JJ Grey & Mofro, Derek Trucks Band), and Derrick Gardner. The album is scheduled for release later this year.