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Eric Gales

Three days, three events

ASHEBORO — The city’s first Rhythm and Blues Festival — known as Rhythm & Zoo Fest — heats up Sunset Theatrte this week with three concerts in three nights at the historic downtown Asheboro venue.


Concerts begin at 8 p.m., with doors opening at 7 p.m., each night of the event — Thursday, June 16; Friday, June 16; and Saturday, June 17.


Tickets are $25 for Orchestra seating or $15 for Balcony seating on Thursday and Friday nights. For Saturday night, tickets are $35 for Orchestra or $25 for Balcony. Or you can buy a 3-Night Pass for $75 for Orchestra seating or $45 for Balcony seating.


Tickets and seating charts are available online at RhythmandZooFest.com or in person at the Asheboro Cultural & Recreation Services office located across the street from the Theatre at 241 Sunset Ave. 


Here’s a look at the three acts hitting the stage this week.


Smitty and the JumpStarters

Thursday, June 15

The group, based in Greensboro, features upbeat songs meant to get your feet moving. Their music pulls styles from West Coast Swing, Chicago Blues, Memphis Rockabilly and a dose of Chuck Berry. 


The band features Bryan Smith on vocals and guitar, Steve Blake on saxophone, Doug Dennis on bass and Roy Brown on drums.


Ghost Town Blues Band

Friday, June 16

The Ghost Town Blues Band is based in Memphis, TN. It’s an American blues and blues rock band. 


The group has released five albums since 2010. Their album “Shine” reached No. 1 on the US Billboard Top Blues Albums Chart. 


The band’s stage show and energy is electric and has been called the best new live blues show in the world.


The group has played in the US, Canada and Europe.


Horns, harmonies and homegrown instruments are the band’s signature. Both Andrew McNeill behind the drums and Matt Karner on the bass guitar are a punishing rhythm section behind multi-instrumentalist/frontman Matt Isbell with raunchy cigar box licks and raspy “Dr. John-like, whiskey and gravel-soaked vocals.” With the addition of Trombonist Suavo Jones, Cedric Taylor on B3 and Taylor Orr on lead guitar, the grooves go from fresh to funky as the band gains more notoriety in the blues festival and jam circuit.


Eric Gales

Saturday, June 17

This Grammy-nominated artist, also known as Raw Dawg, is an American blues rock guitarist, originally hailed as a child prodigy. 


As of 2022, Gales has recorded 19 albums for major record labels. His latest album, “Crown,” was nominated for Best Contemporary Blues Album.


As both an African-American left-handed guitarist of extraordinary ability and an expressive vocalist, it is natural for people to compare Gales to Hendrix. But Gales has developed a unique hybrid blues/rock sound that also draws upon influences as diverse as Albert King and Frank Gambale. 


For more information, call the Cultural & Recreation Services office at 336-626-1240, ext. 1