Cody Blackbird puts in his time

Black Mountain News

The greatest challenge for young bands working to build an audience is getting their music heard. Even in the social media age, The Cody Blackbird Band has opted to achieve that with a relentless touring schedule that has them crisscrossing the country, playing venues large and small.

Their “All In” tour brings them to the White Horse Black Mountain on Thursday, Aug. 25 for an evening of innovative Americana with a Native American perspective.

The Cody Blackbird Band plays throughout the country in hopes of getting its Indian-influenced Americana heard.

Cody Thomas Blackbird, whose heritage is Eastern Band Cherokee and Dakota, grew up in an environment rich with with connections to Native American culture. His father is a respected American Indian poet and songwriter, and he has family ties to the pioneering Native American rock band Redbone.

Blackbird embraced the Native American flute at age 8 while absorbing sounds and styles from popular music. His personal style emerged as an acoustic blend of rock, R&B and funk underpinned by his soulful vocals and flute playing (he calls the mix "Alter-Native”). He’s joined on stage by his brother Caleb on flute, percussion and vocals. Former West Virginia buskers Xavier Torres and Lewis Schenk provide the energetic twin acoustic guitar attack.

“Using the traditional flute in contemporary music and blending the two and molding them into one,” Blackbird said, “I have definitely learned to challenge the idea that the flute is only a traditional instrument.”

The band's road warrior lifestyle comes complete with lows, like vehicle breakdowns and long hours between gigs, to highs like recognition by major artists like Jackson Brown.

On this third visit to White Horse, the band will feature music from its album "All In (The Acoustic Prequel)" as well as new music that’s being road-tested.

Alter native flute

Who: The Cody Blackbird Band

When: 7:30 p.m. Aug. 25

Where: White Horse Black Mountain

Cost: $10 advance, $12 door