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SLIDESHOW: R&B III bigger than ever

People of all ages enjoyed bluegrass music by Balsam Range. People of all ages enjoyed bluegrass music by Balsam Range.

Nine weeks ago, nobody would have known that Hendersonville could pack an out-of-the-way parking lot with hundreds of people for a concert that didn't involve an oldies playlist or an Elvis set.

Nobody could have known that Hendersonville would draw a beer on the street or uncork a bottle of wine. Or that the city would do it three times, a bigger crowd flocking each month to the city's version of (a very mild) thirsty Thursday.
And nobody ... nobody ... ever ... could have known that the highlight of one of these unlikely outdoor events would be a bluegrass version of the Allman Brothers' Southern blues classic "One Way Out."
But that's what happened Thursday night at R&B III.

The third concert in the new city-sponsored event, the first downtown to sanction beer and wine sales, was bigger than the first two, which brought turnouts that surprised organizers. Amazingly, the weather held out for a third straight third Thursday, in a summer season that has seen near daily showers.
For the first time, the concert overflowed across King Street, where clusters of people sat in lawn chairs on the sidewalk and patches of grass to enjoy the music — avoiding the mass of humanity quaffing beers, milling around, chitchatting or buck-dancing. There was a little of everything.
After an opening set by the Lonesome Road Band, Balsam Range cranked up the crowd with bluegrass standards and original material delivered in a rich mix of vocals, plucking, strumming and fiddle stroking.