pandemic porchraits - wnc Musicians (april 2020)

If there is one thing I've loved for as along as I can remember it's live music. Live music is a place to to have shared experiences while leaving all the pressures of life and society behind you. When I listen to music my head clears and when I watch a show I'm genuinely in awe of the talent and performances before me. In photography, when I find a personal topic or a focus, I tend to photograph it for a very long time almost exclusively. I feel like I had just gotten started with live music photography when the pandemic hit us and everything started to change. Live music is where people gather in close proximity, so it was one of the first things to shut down. I had to find a way to keep going, and also find a way to process what was happening around me.


What I wanted was a photo-journalism project; I didn’t charge for these photographs. I put the word out and found a group of musicians, who shared their stories with me, each affected by the COVID-19 quarantine in their own way. In this project you get to see musicians at home, completely isolated from their community and fans, and read a bit of their stories as well. At this point in time, I don't think any of us could have understood that the "normal" we were all waiting for would never come. We are all changed forever and still looking for that new normal.

Find the full interviews here.

“Most days I wake up feeling positive but by the evening I’m typically pretty anxious, irritable, and/or sad about the whole situation. Overall I’ve been very grateful to be able to work remotely (teaching violin through video chat) and to live in such a strong and supportive community.”

—Kate Leigh Bryant

“I think the biggest thing I’ve learned about myself is that even after things go back to normal, I should take the time to slow down and spend some time on my own to reflect -- both on things in general and on music.”

—Alex Deutsch

“I've learned that as an introvert who works from home, that I've been prepared for this all my life! But as a recent transplant to the area, I feel like I had just found a group of friends and a collection of artists to gel with, and this social distancing has definitely put the brakes on that front.”

—Brandon Askew

“I will never pass up the opportunity for human touch. I will give extended consensual hugs as long as I breathe.”

—Pockets Ov

“'s really hard to see what the future will hold. I do think the world is going to be changed in some permanent ways after this, and it may take a long time before the tourism industry that paid our bills will be back.”

—Sparrow & Keith

“While I am thrilled at the opportunity for more practice, I am feeling a bit blocked, honestly. Right now, of course, the world is rife with uncertainty and it can definitely be a wellspring of anxiety. I had been grinding very hard before the lock-down and the sudden halt to momentum has me both very relaxed and very worried, if that makes sense.”

—Samuel & Kylie Irvin

“I really dread that music venues, like most local businesses, won't be able to survive being closed for very long. It's kind of impossible to force businesses to close and expect everything to be hunky dory when these bans are lifted. The Asheville music scene is dependent on the amazing music venues it has.”

—Scott Sturdy

“I truly believe not only the music scene locally and internationally - but the world and our entire way of life will have changed and will never ever be the same, this is the beginning of a new time, for good or bad the reset button has been hit.”

—Maximiliano Kuper

“We have lost people who have had an indelible impact on individuals and our industry. There are going to be venues and festivals that aren't going to exist anymore. There are some hard truths we are having and will have to face. But, I also think it would be a shame if the music industry didn't take the same opportunity a lot of other people are taking to seize this as a vehicle for change, to create a new normal.”

—Kendra Penland

“The local scene will be ready to RAWK! I believe all the local bands are chompin’ at the bit to practice, rehearse & play out. I’m looking forward to the camaraderie I have with my band mates. I’ve surrounded myself with good, awesome friends which all happen to be killer musicians!!”

—Didier Rubio

“So much love to the frontline nurses and all the hospital staff. They need more from us than just calling them heroes, we need to open our eyes to the ways our medical system is broken and try to find ways to make it better.”

—Julia Sanders

“I'm amazed at how many people consider themselves essential. Home Depot and Lowes are like adult playgrounds right now. There are more people at hardware stores now than any other time. Its Crazy.”

—Zac McMakin

“If we get back to business as normal soon (before a vaccine or hitting a peak) it most certainly will not be normal at all. I could see less people(no more shoulder to shoulder shows). A vast paranoia that would cause social distancing in social situations.”

—Jim McCarthy

“I’m doing surprisingly well for someone who has a pretty bad anxiety disorder. I’m really mastering the art of chilling the fuck out and accomplishing goals.”

—Mike Martinez

“Artists and musicians are so often already financially undervalued, and this has been a hard hit. I think we will all feel a deeper sense of camaraderie and maybe there will be a surge of new music projects since people will be craving collaboration!”

—Charity Cimarron

“This major interruption in life has impressed on me that it's a gift to have access to musical talent, experience, and a community-at-large of musicians and songwriters who have a lot to offer. So I'm feeling more ready than ever to take my music into the world and collaborate with others.”

—Taylor Maxson

“I'd definitely say it's been more than an adjustment. I think at first I had it in my mind that this would go on for a couple of weeks and then we could all get back on track. Once it looked like the Governor was going to shut down the state for the entire month of April, that's when my outlook started to change. In this business (as with most, I would gather), you adapt or you die.”

—Hope Griffin

“There are times where I wake up and feel like I know exactly how the day will go. It is comforting because it is safe, but it also can be boring; feels like we’re prisoners in our own home every now and then. I miss the more spontaneous things I use to do like go out to shows, restaurants, parties, and day trips. I have faith this will end soon, and things will go back to normal eventually.”

—Peter Frizzante w/ Abby Amaya

“It's difficult to predict how our town will look at the end of this pandemic, but I hold the belief that we will come out stronger in the end. All these folks who've turned to art and music in these hard times will not idly watch venues close and artists starve - I believe the community we've built together is stronger than that.”

—Troy Crossley

“It's gonna be awhile before there is a semblance of normal. The numbers won't work for touring bands to tour or for venues to afford the risks they are used to taking. With the best case scenario being minimal capacity situations, venues will have a hard time making enough money to make it worth it to host shows.”

—Adam Chase

“There will be changes both bad and good. I'm hoping that the venues can weather the storm.”

—Davaion Bristol - Spaceman Jones

“I try not to focus on the worries. I know we're going to lose some business that we all love but my hope is something equally great takes its place. I really hope everyone is taking this time to reflect and make plans for the future.”

—David Allen

“I hope everyone can hang in there long enough for our community to organize benefit shows galore. I've already found a lot of love within the WNC music scene and suspect that will only expand as we move forward... I can't wait to get back out there.”

—Ben Weaver

“I couldn’t fly anywhere, which is weird. I’m usually off on an airplane. This quarantine really made me face myself and my ego. It was comforting not leaving, because it forced me to take a deep look inward and face things I’ve been running away from.”

—Hannah Choueke

“I worry that this becomes a new normal. That we have to do this every year. I worry that my friends in the entertainment and service industry are going into debt and will have to struggle even more than usual to get by. I worry that this becomes even more political and a reason to divide people. I worry that we have a lingering fear of strangers.”

—Courtney Cahill

“We are in this together and so much of what people are feeling right now is universal. Simple communication and checking in on each other's mental health should be practiced every chance we get. Oddly enough, having to slow down and not be around people has reminded me to soak up the beauty in our backyard. WNC is such a beautiful place and we are truly lucky to be able to drive a few miles in any direction and be alone in the woods. Not everyone has that luxury.”

—Andrew Scotchie

“I’m concerned for our local economy, especially our culture makers (musicians, artists, food and beverage sector). These are the people who make Asheville and WNC special. These are also the people that are not getting the assistance they need.”

—Derek Allen

“I hope that no matter the shifts and limitations that this time has had and will continue to have, that we as a town and as a region, tap into this power intentionally and collectively to both call out the effects and how they land differently on targeted communities, as well as to celebrate the pulsating life that continues to run through each of us even in the midst of hardship.”

—CocoEva Luz Alcazar

“My biggest worries are for the smaller venues in town and around the country that aren't going to be able to open back up. There are thousands across the country that are great venues but aren't that big physically and their outreach network isn't big. Those venues probably won't come back.”

—Billy Brouse

“Concerts are just such a good vector for transmission that I have to believe they're going to be one of the last things to be allowed by the government and it's definitely going to take people a while after that to really get comfortable with the close quarters. That being said, there is no replacement to live music so people will be back eventually.”

—Karl Knierim