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The Broadcast airs fury of soulful vocals, rhythms in Rhythm & Brews, LEAF Downtown

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Caitlin Krisko gets into the song, with Aaron Austin on lead guitar. Photo by Pete Zamplas.

By Pete Zamplas- The Broadcast is surging as the cream of Asheville’s fervent rock music scene and featured act in area festivals, delivering a double whammy to close July at Rhythm & Brews this Thursday then igniting LEAF Downtown on Saturday, July 30.

The singer, Caitlin Krisko, channels spectacular range and emotion of balladeer Adele along with gusto of rhythm and blues rockers Susan Tedeschi, Janis Joplin, Heart’s Ann Wilson, and both Graces — Slick of Jefferson Airplane/Starship and Potter.

The band made a quantum leap with its newest and second CD (From the Horizon), by landing multi-Grammy winning Jim Scott as producer and sound mixer.

Scott knows all about vibrant, soulful female vocals and guitar fueling a hard-driving rock/R&B style. He produced the Tedeschi Trucks Band and Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, as well as Tom Petty and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The Broadcast recorded with Scott in November in Santa Clarita, Calif. Their prior CDs are Days Like Dreams in 2010, a live CD in ’12, then Dodge the Arrow in 2013.

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The Broadcast is (L-R): Lead guitarist Aaron Austin, vocalist Caitlin Krisko, drummer Jaze Uries, bassist E’Lon Jordan-Dunlap, and percussionist Tyler Housholder. Photo by Pete Zamplas.

“I love the blues, and ladies rocking their lives like interstellar goddess superstars,” Krisko recently quipped on Facebook. “Susan Tedeschi is so amazing, and inspiring,” she told The Tribune in an interview Saturday that clues one about her own reach. “I love the lasting power she has created for herself. I love how relaxed she is on stage with such a powerful voice, behind that relaxation. She’s such a goddess. Aaron (Austin) said people love an artist because of who they are, and the vibe they put out.”

Krisko formed The Broadcast 10 years ago in 2006, when she was 21. The lead guitarist is Aaron Austin. Now, E’Lon Jordan-Dunlap plays bass, Jaze Uries drums and Tyler Housholder is on percussion.

They play in Downtown Hendersonville as headliner of Rhythm & Brews on Thursday, July 21, 7-9 p.m. near the Visitor’s Center. The band launched that summer series, in May 2013.

Opening acts (5-7 p.m.) are The Carburators, honky tonk based in Flat Rock, and roots singer-songwriter Charlie Tucker. Tucker was musical director for the former Flat Rock Music Festival. The Carburators’ lead guitarist is WTZQ AM 1600 Gen. Mgr. Mark Warwick.

A week later The Broadcast helps get the two-day LEAF Downtown in Asheville off to a rousing start, on the main stage 2:15-3:30 p.m. Friday, July 30. “We’re excited to be part of LEAF Downtown,” Krisko said.

Featured acts include classic funk band War, the Jon Stickley Trio with newgrass, and electronic rock jam band Papadosio in the pre-party July 29. The Broadcast played yet another free outdoor area series, Asheville’s Downtown After Five, by opening its series in 2014.

The band closes the year with 28 European gigs in six countries. The Broadcast was chosen by city officials as Band Ambassador for this year.

Many laud the band’s live energy. “Artists are always striving to take it to that ‘holy moment,’ with energy for everyone to capture,” Krisko said. “We’re connecting to the music, and each other.”

Austin praises her intensity, to “get in deep” in a song. Drummer Jaze Uries said her “energy translates” from studio to stage, to the band and audience. “You get into that moment,” with extra fervor, he said. Uries lauds the band’s “chemistry.” He acted in the Dirty Dancing film, as drummer of club house band led by Tito (Billy Dee Williams), for scenes filmed in Saluda in May.

Krisko looks very natural and fluid with on-stage gestures, and periodic uber-intensive bursts. “I grew up in musical theater,” the Royal Oak, Mich. native noted. “I danced a lot in the Michigan Classic Ballet Co.”

At 13, she moved to Manhattan, N.Y., to study right after winning an audition for the elite Professional Performing Arts School. She honed craft amidst “creative people not afraid to express themselves.” Then when in prestigious Broadway conservancy Circle in the Square Theatre School, she shifted aspiration from Broadway to rock heaven. She formed the band in ’06, then moved to Asheville in 2010.

“My soul is from Detroit,” Krisko said. “Motown has a profound influence on me. I grew up listening to Aretha Franklin, Mavis Staples, Marvin Gaye and others.” She relaxes at home to CDS of such Motown artists as Stevie Wonder and “Queen of Soul” Franklin. “I’m spinning vinyl of a wide array of artists, from Eric Clapton to (folky) Cat Stevens to (pop-rapper) Drake.”

In its CD release party June 11 in The Grey Eagle in Asheville, The Broadcast did cover tributes for three rock icons who died early this year — David Bowie, Prince and The Eagle’s Glenn Frey.

The new CD of originals electrifies with sizzler “Steamroller” leading off, “Double Down” next, and “On the Edge” batting cleanup; later with signature classic rock-styled “Every Step,” and funky “Bring it On Home.” Krisko’s vocals are smooth on “Sign it Off,” and soar on slide guitar-spiced “Battle Cry” about bursting through challenges in tough times.

She reaches Adele-esque vocal and emotional depth with the bluesy country-pop ballad “Electric Light,” about how “I’ll find my way back to you.” She charges with husky gusto and Reba-like resonance on country-tinged gem ballad “Sirens,” and is gentle in closing ballad and title tract “From the Horizon.”

Krisko told The Grey Eagle crowd that “Eyes of a Woman” is “the story of my life.” The character goes “against the grain.” She flies away to “see the world, through the eyes of a woman…She’s so tired of the ‘push and pull’ of this life as a woman.”…You gotta step back, to see what you’ve done wrong.”

“Every Step” is “one of the earlier songs Aaron and I co-write,” Krisko said. “It has a CCR vibe.” It is also the self-directed/edited video they entered in Music Video Asheville last year. They used stop-motion animation, with car crashes and other iconic vintage imagery. Krisko said it can take 4.5 hours, to get “15 seconds of footage,” but the result is “magical.” She added that “music is inseparable from the visual.”

Krisko is visionary and organized, in managing the band, Austin said. “She’s in control, running the ship.” They credit each band member’s contributions.

Austin is creative glue. “Aaron has dedicated enormous energy to The Broadcast,” Krisko said. “He’ll critique us. And I respect his critiques. He’s a dynamic band leader (like a Derek Trucks), who has pushed us to be our best and more authentic.”

Austin and Krisko have been a couple for about two years, widening their cultural horizons and songwriting partnership. “We came from very different backgrounds and influences,” she said. “People describe From the Horizon as soul-rock-Americana. I hear my Detroit and his rural Outer Banks backgrounds. It’s like The Eagles with Don Henley from Texas, and Glenn Frey from Detroit. That’s what people are hearing.”

She describes Austin as intriguingly “complex,” having “deep emotions.” So does she, on stage. “Singing is a very cathartic, therapeutic experience.” She adds how “music is what you convey about your life.”

Yet she wisely offsets intensity of the business with unwinding. “Off stage, I’m much more laid back. I’m the one gardening, doing yoga, taking walks. I’m finding balance.” Two years ago when first widely touring, “I did deeper work on myself off the road, to stay healthy.”

Indeed, the singer astutely realizes a holistic approach soothes her personally, and sharpens her creatively. Thus she can broadcast this message, to aspiring performers: “Accolades are really fun and exciting. But those don’t mean anything if you’re not happy on a daily basis, or at least in a good place with yourself.”

For more on the band, check TheBroadcastmusic.com.

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