The Overlook with Matt Peiken

The Overlook with Matt Peiken

Local journalists, newsmakers, civic leaders, artists and others in the know talk with host Matt Peiken about the growing, complicated city of Asheville, N.C. New episodes are available Monday, Wednesday and Friday.


September 22, 2023 36 mins

In this dual episode, we have separate conversations with dancemakers Vanessa Owen and Gavin Stewart and emerging rap artist Luicya.

Stewart Owen Dance makes duets, dances for larger ensembles and outdoor pieces, and collaborates with other artists. They're in residency next week at Trillium Arts in Mars Hill and performing next April at the Wortham Center in Asheville. We discuss how the pandemic changed their approa...

Mark as Played

The Steep Canyon Rangers embody and evangelize the Asheville sound as much as any musical artist. They’ve certainly had success with it.

Their collaborations with the actor, comedian and banjo player Steve Martin put them on the national map, and they won a Grammy Award on their own 10 years ago for best bluegrass album. Now, more than two decades into their career, the departure of co-founding vocalist and guitarist Woody...

Mark as Played

If Asheville crowned a reigning native queen, Libby Kyles would certainly fall into the city’s royalty. She has lived all over the city, led educational efforts here as a teacher, administrator and nonprofit leader and been an unwavering voice around inequities she pins on race. In this conversation, she explains how the Asheville of today is different than the city of her youth. We get her thoughts on the city’s reparations proces...

Mark as Played

It’s no secret—Asheville has a housing crisis. Among the strategies to combat that, city planners are looking more closely at developing what’s called “middle housing.” These are townhouses, duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes and smaller apartment complexes—essentially almost anything other than traditional single-family homes.

My guest today is Candra Teshome, a longrange planner for the City of Asheville. We talk about an e...

Mark as Played

One of the most pitched rivalries in all of sports is probably taking place in your neighborhood: Tennis players vs. pickleball players. Outdoor public courts that tennis players had to themselves since the dawn of history are now the site of community turf wars.

Today's episode features representatives from the Asheville Tennis Association and Asheville Pickleball Association. There are only 11 asphalt tennis courts ...

Mark as Played

Rebekah Todd is a seasoned songwriter and performer who moved from Wilmington to Asheville two years ago. On Aug. 22, she posted a video to social media talking about unwanted communication from an unnamed festival promoter, the blame he placed on her for the festival's cancellation and the avalanche of backlash that came her way. Hundreds of people commented on and shared it.

Even before this episode, Rebekah made so...

Mark as Played

North Carolina legislators recently legalized sports betting in the state. Once enacted, that could funnel hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue each year to the athletics programs of UNC-Asheville and Western Carolina and Appalachian State universities.

Justin McGuire, a reporter with Mountain Xpress who has covered this development, talks about the forces that led to legalization and how concerns about gambling add...

Mark as Played

Passenger trains haven’t rolled through Asheville since 1975, but there’s a serious plan from the North Carolina Department of Transportation to bring them back. Daniel Walton's recent story for Mountain Xpress connects the tracks between three decades of studies and recent federal infrastructure funding to a planned 140-mile route from Asheville east to Salisbury. We talk about the environmental and cultural factors playing i...

Mark as Played

When the Pactiv Evergreen paper mill sounded its final whistle on June 8, 115 years of continuous operation in Canton came to an end. 1,100 jobs were lost and some heavy questions remain about what will happen to those people, along with the 185-acre site and its buildings. Cory Vaillancourt and Holly Kays, reporters with the Smoky Mountain News in Waynesville, have led local coverage of the plant’s closure. We talk about the busin...

Mark as Played

The Overlook Live with Matt Peiken is my show's first event in front of a studio audience. It happens Wednesday, Sept. 27, inside the Tina McGuire Theater at the Wortham Center. I’ll be recording three episodes in one night:

  • The Resonant Rogues talk about and preview songs from their upcoming album.
  • A panel discussion lays out where we are and aren’t when it comes to reparations for Asheville’s Black community. 
  • Asheville Sym...
Mark as Played

Marcy Gallagher and her husband owned Kilwin’s Fudge and Ice Cream in downtown Asheville for 13 years before handing the store off during the pandemic. Then Gallagher did something a little crazy: She wrote a piece of musical theater from scratch. She found a composer, a director and a cast, then booked a theater. “At the Cafe” premieres inside the McGuire Theater at the Wortham Center Aug. 18-27.

We’ll talk about Gallagher’s commit...

Mark as Played

The renovations needed at Thomas Wolfe Auditorium were well-known for many years to anyone who’s worked or performed there. Now, with the heating and air conditioning system out of order, the auditorium is closed at least until next spring and possibly longer. That’s forced a scramble to move some shows into the neighboring Harrah’s Cherokee Center. Still, the economic impact of lost shows is expected to be in the millions.

Mark as Played

Homes and land with the highest market values are systemically under-assessed and under-taxed, while properties at the lowest market values are over-taxed. That's at the heart of findings uncovered by Asheville urban planner and consultant Joe Minicozzi.  His research shows that’s true in Buncombe County and the 17 other counties in Western North Carolina. 

We walk through Minicozzi's research, the responses he s...

Mark as Played

In college, Lauren Yero found a way to marry up her interests in creative writing and ecological science. A handful of years later, Yero wed both those commitments into her debut novel for young adults, titled “Under This Forgetful Sky.”

Yero lives with her husband and two young kids on a budding hobby farm in Madison County. We talk about threading her concerns with climate change into a near-future fantasy set in Chile. ...

Mark as Played

In 2022, less than 3 percent of North Carolina workers belonged to a union. Only South Carolina had a smaller percentage. Still, in Asheville, food and beverage workers are organizing and seeing momentum.

My guests today are Jen Hampton of Asheville Food and Beverage United; and Ariana Lingerfeldt, a chef at Green Sage Cafe South Asheville, who this past March led a successful effort to unionize that staff. We talk about ...

Mark as Played

The Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority just approved a budget of nearly $40 million for the next fiscal year. By state law, the TDA will steer about a third of that into a sort of discretionary bucket called the Tourism Product Development Fund. Many in the community have different ideas for how that money should be spent.

This is the second half of our two-part conversation with Vic Isley, president and CEO of ...

Mark as Played

This is the first in a two-part conversation with Vic Isley, president and CEO of the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority.  We roll out Isley’s own background in tourism marketing, the TDA’s evolving priorities and how Isley sees the TDA as a partner in diversifying Asheville’s economy. I push back on Isley’s definition of who encompasses Asheville’s creative community. Isley also addresses this question: Can there be too...

Mark as Played

The Overlook spent last weekend at The Big Crafty. Matt Peiken roamed the floors and talked to local artisans, asking "How do makers make it work in Asheville?" A handful of makers offer up their stories, lessons learned and advice for other makers considering a move to Asheville.

Voices in this episode are Jen Toledo, Mary Labianca, Kimberly Obee, Ashley Gandiza, Laura Wood, Edwin Salas, Bill Green, Maxx Feist a...

Mark as Played

Hendersonville author Meagan Lucas is an emerging voice in the literary niche called Grit Lit.  Her newest collection of stories is titled “Here in the Dark.” Much like her earlier work, these stories center on Appalachian women of simple means and complicated lives. We talk about Lucas' drive to portray women of this region with truth, dignity and complexity. Meagan also talks about how her own traumas play into her writing a...

Mark as Played

The North Carolina legislature has voted to turn school board elections into partisan affairs. That means, in Buncombe County, future candidates will have to run in specific districts as opposed to one at-large pool, likely diluting Asheville’s core advantage of population. Andrew Jones of AVL Watchdog, my guest today, breaks down the coming changes and their potential impacts. We talk about how new district maps could be drawn and...

Mark as Played

Popular Podcasts

    Current and classic episodes, featuring compelling true-crime mysteries, powerful documentaries and in-depth investigations.

    Crime Junkie

    If you can never get enough true crime... Congratulations, you’ve found your people.

    Around the NFL's "Around the NFL" crew (Gregg Rosenthal, Dan Hanzus and Marc Sessler) break down the latest football news, with a dash of mirth.

    Stuff You Should Know

    If you've ever wanted to know about champagne, satanism, the Stonewall Uprising, chaos theory, LSD, El Nino, true crime and Rosa Parks, then look no further. Josh and Chuck have you covered.

    The Bobby Bones Show

    Listen to 'The Bobby Bones Show' by downloading the daily full replay.

Advertise With Us

For You

    Music, radio and podcasts, all free. Listen online or download the iHeart App.


    © 2023 iHeartMedia, Inc.