Popular Asheville musicians Ben Phan and Alexa Rose will offer a unique collaboration of original music on Jan. 6, backed by Phan’s dynamic band, the Soul Symphony. The concert will feature new versions of both Phan and Rose’s original songs, with crowd-pleasing harmonies, fiery improvisation, and an openness to new ideas.
“Playing music with great artists is a conversation where anything can happen, and often something new and amazing does,” says Phan. “I’ve admired Alexa’s music for a long time, and it will be great to have a live, musical dialogue and play fresh versions of our songs together.”
Adds Rose, ”I’m excited to perform with one of Asheville’s most captivating and well-composed songwriters and his stellar band. The concert will be exactly a year after my album release at The Grey Eagle, and it will be great to create new takes on old songs with these unique, virtuoso players.”
Phan’s original music is a blend of gypsy jazz, bluegrass, classical, and folk, a unique synthesis all his own. His first album, ”Dreams in Modern Folk,” was drawn from his experiences hiking the entire Pacific Crest Trail in 2014, as well as his past struggles with depression, addiction, loss and love. After a Kickstarter campaign that smashed all expectations, Phan and his group the Soul Symphony recorded their new album at the studio of two-time Grammy award-winning producer Matt Williams. The album title “Fear is the Teacher” serves as its theme, conveying the freedom Phan has found as an artist by embracing his fear and transforming its teachings into music.
Alexa Rose crafts clever lyrics and boot-tapping mountain magic in her own brand of modern folk. She spent her formative years curating original music in the Blue Ridge, releasing two albums in her early twenties. Her latest full-length release, ”Low and Lonesome,” written on a hand-me-down guitar from her mother, is a toast to Rose’s heritage, and its anthem-like chorus haunts the listener with a somberness evocative of Gillian Welch. Her band currently tours under the moniker Alexa Rose & The Midnight Stringbird, and delivers heartfelt performances with stringed instruments and warm family-style harmonies.
The Soul Symphony includes some of the most in-demand musicians in Asheville. Their dynamic sound is full of lively improvisation, which Phan makes the most of in his songs, giving the band’s master musicians plenty of opportunity for musical self-expression.