Veterans of the Asheville music scene even before they formed The Moon and You in 2012, newlywed bandmates Ryan Furstenberg and Melissa Hyman are releasing their debut full-length album together on Friday, June 24 at The Mothlight. The CD release “extravaganza” for A White Light That Sings will be the band’s first. The record took well over a year to make, and some of its tracks were written early in the band’s history. It should come as no surprise, then, that they are going big to celebrate; when releasing an album so long in the making, a full-on extravaganza seems like the proper way to go.
The evening’s lineup includes an exciting and diverse list of local and regional acts. Each will perform to a song from the album. Audience members will thrill to burlesque star Deb Au Nare (Burlesque Academy of Asheville), trapeze artists Laura Marie Souther and Aerial Phoenix (Empyrean Arts), bellydance expert Sera Sahara and sad clown Daniel Hettinger (Shorty Cant Eat Books), among other Asheville mainstays signed up to interpret The Moon and You’s music. They’ll experience giant puppets known as Woopets, created and flown by the multitalented Mary Wooten of Athens, GA. Wooten’s lengthy resumé includes gigs as costumer to Lady Gaga, Cher, and several major theater/film productions. Emcee duties will be handled by local poet, author, sometime standup and full-time social media maven Barbie Angell.
After visual performances set to the album’s 11 tracks, The Moon and You will play a live set of newer material. Joining them onstage: Suzanna Baum (Josh Phillips Folk Festival, Grasshoppa) will lend her powerful pipes, with Kent Spillmann holding it down on drums and Andrew Platt on bass. Still more musical guests are likely as not to make an appearance during the live set; if The Moon and You are predictable about anything, it’s collaborating with talented folks from all corners of the Asheville music community.
As with their previous efforts, the band is releasing A White Light That Sings without the involvement of a record label. It is their first fully-produced album, co-produced and recorded by Ryan Lassiter (Furstenberg’s former bandmate in Uncle Mountain) along with The Moon and You; nearly all of it was recorded during the winter of 2014-15 in Furstenberg and Hyman’s Hendersonville home. Its tracks move with aplomb from bluegrass swagger to soulful searching, country twang to jazzy sophistication. There’s a generous spoonful here of the folky sweetness that characterized the band’s earlier EPs, but the new record is shows both technical and artistic growth. A White Light That Sings marks a turning point for The Moon and You, toward a bigger and more self-assured sound.
The show, while unusual in structure as album release events go, is nonetheless in keeping with The Moon and You’s modus operandi. They frequently collaborate with musicians across many genres, and are clearly interested in keeping their projects fresh, artistically challenging, and unpredictable. There’s always a lot going on in Asheville on a Friday night, but my guess is this event will be utterly one-of-a-kind. I wouldn’t miss it, if I were you.
Who: The Moon and You, Barbie Angell, and a wide variety of circus arts/puppetry/dance performers
What: Album Release Extravaganza for A White Light That Sings
When: June 24, 2016 at 8pm
Where: The Mothlight
Ticket info: $10 admission, or $20 admission + CD. Visit www.themothlight.com to purchase tix in advance.