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White Horse Black Mountain owner Bob Hinkle knows the value of a truly unique performer.

“In days past, I have actually made a living trying to pick artists who would step out from the crowd, break free of the clutter, and create their own place in the musical firmament. Ian is such an artist," he said of rising young star Ian Ridenhour. 

Hinkle’s years spent as personal manager for the likes of Etta James, The J.Geils Band and Harry Chapin make him uniquely qualified to evaluate new talent, and he’s put his words into practice by booking The Ian Ridenhour Band into the White Horse at 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 24.

A multi-instrumentalist and songwriter, Ridenhour launched his musical career at the age of six as the drummer for Bismarck, North Dakota band Blind Mice and hasn’t looked back since. While still a pre-teen he was winning recognition and awards with other bands in his home state while continuing to develop as a songwriter.

His personal style emerged as punchy piano-driven indie pop/rock, but the pop sheen often coexists with a darker lyrical sensibility. As Sav Buist of The Accidentals puts it, “It’s like Jack White and Ben Folds had a baby.”

Since moving to the Asheville area a few years ago Ridenhour has attracted a strong following. His 2016 album Cry About It created a buzz and helped elevate Ian from wunderkind to mature artist. Ian has also released striking music videos to accompany the songs “Dancing Children” and “Monsters”. Directed by Asheville filmmaker Kira Bursky, they complement the flawless, sophisticated melodicism of the songs with quirky, surreal and sometimes unsettling imagery. PopMatters’ recent review of Cry About It observes that “there is a certain melodic flair to his music that comes across as very pop-sensible, but without sacrificing any of the darkly, sometimes Burtonesque gloom of his overall musical persona”.

Ridenhour’s newest EP, Ribcage, was recorded at Echo Mountain studios, and features jazz players Jacob Rodriguez and Justin Ray (of Michael Buble’s Band) as well as Asheville artist Brie Capone. The first single, “You Help Me Fall Asleep” was released in December 2017 along with an accompany video produced by All Around Artsy. 

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