The 4/20 interviews: Brie Capone
For 2019, April 20 brings an embarrassment of musical riches to Asheville area venues. Among the notable shows are Keller Williams’ Grateful Grass, Love Canon, John Medeski’s Mad Skillet, and KNOWER at Pisgah Brewing Co., Phosphorescent at The Orange Peel, Rising Appalachia at Salvage Station, The Wild Reeds at The Mothlight, and Southern Culture on the Skids at The Grey Eagle.
Also in the mix is local singer-songwriter Brie Capone, who’ll play a farewell show at Isis Music Hall before taking a road trip West with her sister and settling in Los Angeles near Glassell Park on the Northeast side of the city. Buoyed by this writer’s confidence that she can become friends with the extended Largo set — “If you think I can schmooze with Dawes, that’s all I need, Edwin,” she says. “That’s it” — Capone spoke with Asheville Stages about her time in Buncombe County, the surprisingly lengthy commitment of American Idol auditions, and having one more party with her friends.
…on the decision to move to LA
I had a few things up in the air that were sort of guiding me that way. I had gone on an acoustic tour in July  and found myself in California for a few weeks — and I just sort of decided that for the next… before I started in on any more projects, I’d be interested in maybe moving to a new place. And I felt like maybe something that was a bit larger, I could maybe learn a bit more from. I’ve never lived on the West coast, so I thought it might be a good idea to try out there and I kind of fell in love with it when I got there.
And then when I got back home, I had auditions for American Idol, so that sort of put a few things on hold [laughs] for the next six months. And then when things were finally announced and — it’s over now for me [in the competition] — it was like, “OK, I can be more official about the fact that I’m going.” It was a mixed bag of things, but when I got out there in July, I sort of went, “Oh, you know what? I think I’m going to try to see if I could live out here. See what would happen.”
I really fell in love with the size of it — the mountains and just sort of the natural aspect of it when I was driving. I’d like to just get more information and learn more about music within the realm of Los Angeles. I have some friends from school out there and I’d be interested in meeting some new songwriters and just seeing what’s going on over there seems kind of cool to me. There’s fruit trees when you walk outside, which is weird and cool. And I would also really like to start working toward some more…either through music or as a side project, some environmentally-conscious ways.
I would definitely love to meet people in [the Dawes/Watkins Family Hour] realm of the LA music sound. I feel like they’re bringing back a lot of really cool old school techniques, and just songwriting-wise, I’m really interested in that vibe.
…on standout memories from her time in Asheville
I’m just so proud of Asheville. I moved here with my family when I was about 14 and I went to high school and then I left [for Berklee College of Music in Boston, followed by a few years in New York City]. And when I came back, it had boomed from the beer scene to the tourism scene. Memories-wise, coming home, initially, almost three years ago, it felt like, “Wow! This is incredible.” We’re really starting to be noticed for our artistry in different ways.
Musically, just being able to come into these different open mics that were so welcoming [has been memorable]. The Grey Eagle open mic I think was one of the best. Sly Grog [Lounge] — they were one of the first open mics when I got back, and they were so kind and welcoming and appreciative, and that hasn’t really changed. I feel like when you go to music here, people have opinions but they’re always very kind and they support you and have stories for you, and I think that’s a wonderful part of Asheville — just being able to play for people.
…on competing in American Idol
It was fun. It was really fun. It was nerve-wracking. I had talked to people briefly about it and I guess they didn’t realize…I went through quite a few auditions. I think that’s one of the hardest parts of something like that is the auditioning process took up a lot more time than I really thought it would in terms of planning other things — just because of traveling and going to different parts of the country. [Laughs] I auditioned in Chattanooga and then I was in Atlanta. I was in Idaho, and then I was in Hollywood. So, it was six months of travel and nerves and trying to decide on songs and deciding what I wanted to present. But it was really interesting and I met a lot of really cool artists and people during the process.
…on plans for the Farewell Show
Kismet, they’re a trio that was formed with Katie Richter, Lilly-Anne Merat, and Maddie Shuler, who all three equally in their own right are really talented. They’ve come together as a trio and they’ve been playing shows around town recently. I think they formed about six months ago, maybe a little bit more. They’re very talented and I wanted them to open for me, so they were free, which was awesome.
And we have kind of the crew that brought all of this together anyway: Peter Brownlee, my producer. Zack Kardon, Jack Victor — they’re going to be on guitar and drums. And Merrick Noyes, who’s from Third Nature. Lilly’s from Third Nature as well. We’re just going to have a big old party. We’re just going to play a bunch of songs off the records and some stuff that Zack and I have written over the past few years. And then we’ll have some guests probably sit in. I think Carly Taich is going to come and sing, and I’m hoping CaroMia will be there and I’m hoping Eliza Hill [the drummer for Andrew Scotchie & the River Rats] might sit in on a song. I have to finalize a few things with that, but let’s hope.
…on there being such a, well, high number of shows in Asheville on 4/20
I think Asheville has a certain culture to it that maybe lends itself to a celebratory spirit on 4/20, let’s say. That wasn’t really my intention [in having a show specifically on that day]. I’m not opposed to the holiday, if you will, but I don’t really celebrate it religiously. [Laughs] But it was a good date for me, just because I knew I would be leaving — I have to be in LA the first of May. And I wanted to work with Isis on the last show, so when there were dates that were thrown out, 4/20 was one of them. And I thought, “That’s fun. That’ll be cool.” I’m hoping everyone remembers to come out. [Laughs]
On a more serious note, I do think that Asheville is, over the next few years I think we’re going to be really front and center in the development of hemp and farming hemp. And so I think we’re just proud of that and I think that’ll start to develop more. Our identity in terms of hemp and marijuana and all that stuff — I’m fine with it. I’m very proud of it, so I would like to think maybe Asheville is just cool, so then we just have all these shows on 4/20 celebrating being Asheville and being cool. [Laughs] So I’m sure that has something to do with it — a fair amount of people out, looking to party.
…on the pros and cons of having so many appealing musical options at the same time
I don’t think I would be silly enough to think I’d be trying to compete against Rising Appalachia or Keller Williams. But I think it’s going to be good music. I think depending on who you like and what you want to go see, there’s plenty to do, which has always been an aspect of Asheville that’s been great. Any night of the week, you have good music. For me, the date was more something that fit within the realm of, “Can I get all of my friends to play a show with me before I leave?”
You know, I would love to see people out, obviously, at my show. That would be silly. But there’s probably the con of ticket sales. If people have already bought tickets for some of the shows, sure. The pro of it is just plan your night, come and see Kismet and myself, and then go out later to the dance party [at Smoky Park Supper Club] or walk down to the Mothlight and see some good music, and then come up to Isis Music Hall.
IF YOU GO
Who: Brie Capone with Kismet
When: Saturday, April 20, 9 p.m.
Where: Isis Music Hall, 743 Haywood Road, isisasheville.com
(Photo by Olivia Siegel)