Compared to The Clash, Emma's Lounge plays 'folk wave'


Leaving home is rarely easy. Though it may have been difficult, uprooting himself from everything he’d ever known gave Emma’s Lounge frontman Logan Venderlic something to sing about.

Following years of honing his craft in the hills of West Virginia, the eclectic singer-songwriter released his debut album in April 2012. Shortly thereafter, Venderlic set out on two expansive US tours (just four days after graduating at the top of his class at West Virginia University), taking his unique brand of folk on the road for anyone that would listen.

Emma's Lounge draws upon broad musical genres such as soul, jam and psychedelic rock.

With accolades from iTunes, NPR, and The Wall Street Journal, Venderlic has been compared to an Appalachian Tom  Petty and has been praised for harnessing the punk power and the ruthless grit of Paul Westerberg of The Replacements. He even managed to parlay that initial hype into a performance on NPR’s nationally-syndicated "Mountain Stage" show with renowned songstress Brandi Carlile.

But within the same year, Venderlic privately fought through several personal tragedies, including the accidental overdose of his best friend, the drowning of another close friend and a triple homicide within his family. Through these trials and tribulations, Venderlic sought refuge and comfort with close family and friends - an act of solace that seemed worlds away from his experience performing in front of an audience.

"I realized that, even though I wanted nothing more than to be left alone, being alone made things worse,” Venderlic said. “Forcing myself to be closer with my family and friends allowed us to bear the weight of things and recover together."

Venderlic came to a similar conclusion with music: he could go it alone, as he had done for over six years, or he could be stronger with a band. Following a move to Charleston, South  Carolina, Venderlic’s  first fully-realized collaborative effort - Emma’s  Lounge - was born.

Emma’s Lounge now claims Asheville as home. While the mountains of Asheville continue to serve as a constant reminder  that leaving one’s home is complicated, Venderlic is committed to making the Carolinas the creative locus for him and his group.

Emma’s Lounge features classically-trained violinist and guitarist Kenan Hopkins, keys player and vocalist Meg Heathman, prodigious bassist and jazz guitarist Justin Tsugranes, and Mackenzie Richburg, a dexterous drummer.

Going home again

Who: Emma's Lounge

When: 8 p.m. May 19

Where: Pisgah Brewing

Cost: Free