Local singer-songwriter Ben Phan, who performs under the name Ben Phantom, will have a lot of time to ponder new music in the coming weeks, but he’ll perform once more before going on another long-term adventure.
Phantom has completed two of the longest hikes in the country and is prepped for one more, to close out the “Triple Crown” of long hikes. He plans to begin his thru-hike of the Continental Divide Trail on April 15, going from the border of Mexico, across five states, and completing the trek at the Canadian border.
Phan, who said the hike will take five to six months, will carry a small guitar on his pack, like he did on other long hikes, and has plans to write more music. Fans can catch him one last time before he leaves when he plays at 7 pm March 27 at The Gray Eagle.
This will be his first ticketed show since the COVID-19 pandemic began and he will perform with Cynthia McDermott (electric mandolin), Franklin Keel (electric cello), Patrick Armitage (drums) and Garron Chesson (bass).
“I’m really excited to have that time to play and create,” said Phan, who began planning this trip when the COVID-19 pandemic began. “It takes a lot of energy to perform and I’m looking forward to having that time to write.”
The musician released 2019’s “Fear Is The Teacher,” which featured songs he wrote during his hike of the Pacific Crest Trail in 2014. He completed the Appalachian Trail in 2008.
Phan has worked on the logistics for the trip for months and will print almost 300 pages of maps for the journey. He will have friends mail him supplies, like food and snow gear, to spots along the trip and he plans to video journal his trek to share online.
Phan is doing this hike in support of PIVOTPoint WNC, a nonprofit therapeutic adventure group that helps those in recovery and those at risk of substance use disorder. Phan is open about is own recovery and said he will celebrate his 10 years of sobriety on the 10th day of his hike.
“I’ve led a couple of day trips for them and gotten to know what they do,” said Phan, who added that he moved to Asheville in 2012 to get clean. “I believe in what they do. Getting out and being in the mountains has been a big part of my recovery, so being able to get more people out is really important.”
To follow Phan’s journey and to make donations, go to pivotpointwnc.org/hike-with-ben or text HIKEWITHBEN to 44-321.
Band with No. 1 hit comes to town
Glass Animals, a four-piece British rock band from, recently found itself atop Billboard’s Hot 100.
It took the band’s song, “Heat Wave,” 59 weeks to reach the No. 1 spot on the charts, which it did in early March. As of last week, the track, which was released on the band’s 2020 album “Dreamland,” had been in the top spot for two weeks.
The group, which plays a mix of indie pop and rock, psychedelic pop, and electronic rock, will perform at 8 pm March 28 at Thomas Wolfe Auditorium.
Glass Animals formed in 2010 in Oxford, England, and is made up of singer, songwriter, and producer Dave Bayley, Joe Seaward (drums), Ed Irwin-Singer (bass, keyboards) and Drew MacFarlane (guitar, keyboards).
Virginia jam band at Salvage Station
Last year, Kendall Street Company released what it called a “pop-ambient space opera double LP.” The album, titled “The Year the Earth Stood Still,” was recorded over five days in a rural farmhouse studio during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the band’s website, “the record quickly took on a life of its own as a time capsule of the band’s thoughts, feelings, and creative drive in a year of great uncertainty over their own future, and that of humanity at large.”
Kendall Street Company, which is a five-piece jam-alt band from Charlottesville, Virginia, will play at 7 pm March 26 at Salvage Station.