Fifth House
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Fifth House

Band Rock Funk


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"House of the Rising Songs"

Mixing different genres of music has always been a specialty of bands coming from Asheville. Lately, no one has done it better than the foursome known as Fifth House. With a style that is influenced by acts such as Parliament, Stevie Wonder and Alan Holdsworth, the band is quickly becoming one of the favorites in our neck of the woods.

Fifth House combines the rugged bluesy Southern Rock tradition with a more experimental progressive rock mindset. That means they are as much fun to dance to as they are to sit back and listen to. Think of the southern funkiness of the Black Crowes blended with improvisational skills of a top-notch jam band.

The talented quartet features drummer and vocalist Mike Ashworth, bassist Rob Heyer, keyboardist Kevin Scala and guitarist and vocalist Corey Bullman
The members of the band started playing together over four years ago but took an unexpected hiatus... Now they have reformed with a reinvigorated sense of purpose.

Fifth House recently completed a five-song demo that shows off its considerable live capabilities and demonstrates what it can accomplish in the recording studio as well. Unlike a lot of jam bands on the scene today, Fifth House establishes itself as one of the best songwriting combos around. After the song is perfected, the band weaves musical rings around it by letting Scala and Bullman do their things on the keyboards and guitar.
The song "I Can Feel It Coming On" combines funky Meters-style rhythms with some of the catchiest vocal hooks committed to tape in a long time.

The band's spring/summer 2005 tour is being sponsored by Rogue Ales and the band is set to appear at a number of prestigious venues and festivals including the 2005 Mountain Sports Festival in Asheville April 29-May 1.
Fifth House was also recently featured on WNCW-Spindale's "Local Colors" broadcast, giving folk's in western North Carolina a taste of their unique sound. - Jeff Eason - Mountain Times

"Asheville Based Band Headlines Roxaway Festival"

By Zack Harding
September 11, 2005

It is always such a pleasure to discover a new band that is absolutely flooring. This is definitely the case with the Asheville based band Fifth House, a combination funk/rock/jam outfit.

The band formed in 1999 and stayed together into 2000 but soon broke up, and has only been together again since April of 2005, though not that anyone would ever be able to tell. Influences include Phish, the Grateful Dead, and Stevie Wonder (probably the most evident of the three).

The groove is held together by the funky and solid six-string bass playing of Rob Heyer and the tight drumming of Mike Ashworth. The majority of the lead work is shared between guitarist and lead vocalist Corey Bullman and keyboardist Kevin Scala.

An interesting thing about the band is that the focus neither falls on improvisation or songwriting in particular but rather a great marriage there of. They are the songwriterÕs jam band, so there is no need to fear 20 minute freak out sections or cluttered improvisation, they jam with a great sense of musicianship and purpose. Not even the longest of their songs seem contrived; everything is in its right place.

The band recently played at the Roxaway music festival at Lake Toxaway N.C. Most every band at the festival was quite phenomenal but none stepped close to the show put on by Fifth House. They possess that unique power of stage presence that usually is only felt with larger well-known acts that have been around for years.

Though adjectives are often overused, two come to mind when trying to describe the danceable sound of their music: fresh, and smooth. Every member contributes equally to a beautiful outcome, no one member stands out as the main reference point. There are certain moments in their live show that do highlight a specific band member though, such as the fantastic bass solo by Heyer at the Roxaway festival.

Another interesting thing that sets Fifth House apart from most other jam bands is the rather poetic nature of lyrics of the bands original songs. In response to poetry in music Bullman, who writes most of the lyrics said ÒPeople who write songs are just bad poets.Ó

The band released a demo in their first incarnation around 2000 and an ep of selected live tracks and studio cuts in 2005. There is also a full length lp in the works at the moment with a likely release in early 2006. Audio, photos and more information can be found at
Drummer Ashworth said that one of the most important things for people to understand is the importance of supporting live music. Fifth house is certainly a band whose live music is worth being supported, and since they are coming to JasonÕs on Main Street on October 1st, hopefully many will take this opportunity. - The Clarion - Brevard, NC

"Fifth House at the Emerald Lounge"

By Hunter Pope
February 8, 2006

- Be glad you stayed home if: You're a sardonic shoegazer who enjoys bands that encourage audience lifelessness.

- Defining moment: "Shape I'm In" and "Put You Down". While Fifth House is reputably steeped in the covers format (in this case, The Band's ode to destitution), songs like the soul-kissed original "Put You Down" demonstrate a band embracing their own identity.

Asheville-based quartet Fifth House has taken the misunderstood term "jam" (assailed by opponents as the corruptor of cohesion) and given it some fashion tips. Bassist Rob Heyer (who studied with Grammy winner Eliot Wadopian at UNCA) employs a sinister feel to his instrument, laying a dark-groove foundation for the rest of the band to spring off of. The egoless Corey Bullman (lead vox, guitar) commands an inviting presence, although his occasional "phishy" excursions will dissuade some.

This is my third outing with Fifth House, and my best memories (until now) resided with their slinky covers of funk heavyweights like Bill Withers and Prince. This time around, however, the band relied primarily on originals. The second set opener, "I Can't Help it Anymore" (a New Orleans funk-style piece that started a spate of three originals in a row), rekindled the flame lit by the first set ender of Hendrix's "Let Me Stand Next To Your Fire." Although the momentum ebbed with some of their own material, it's good to see a band move from the comforts of covers and into individual innovations. - The Mountain Xpress - Asheville, NC

"Dispatches from the House of Pleasure"

By Chuck Waters

Check out the Fifth House dossier, and you’ll find ROCK FUNK SOUL GROOVE BIG BAD emblazoned across the top of the page. That sums it up pretty well, but Fifth House is all of those things — and more. An intelligent bag of groove, I like to call it.

Through relentless touring and energetic, rousing live shows — more than 200 dates through the Southeast in a little over a year — the quartet has developed an avid local following and now find themselves in "Place," with their self-produced debut album. As guitarist and singer/songwriter Corey Bullman notes, "Place" may reflect where Fifth House was living during the recording sessions. But things change.

"I think the album stands as a good still frame of us in that time. However, we move pretty fast and the live shows, as well as the material, are changing all of the time," Bullman says.

Bullman and his Placemates (Mike Ashworth, drums and vocals; Rob Heyer, bass: and Kevin Scala, keyboards and vocals) are doing the requisite legwork in support of the CD, available from the Web site ( or in local shops and at concerts. Upcoming gigs include shows at Across the Trax in Bryson City on Thursday, June 22, and shows in Asheville and Brevard. (Again, check the site for details.)

Popping the CD into the trusty Sony boombox, I thought I was listening to Average White Band filtered through Little Feat. Or maybe vice-versa. Tracks like "I Can Feel It Coming On," "No Down Allowed" and the title track rock, and things get a bit more atmospheric on "Phase Shift." This makes for great dancing — and driving — music. But maybe not simultaneously.

Corey, who also teaches guitar lessons, sandwiched between the shows, touring and recording was happy to answer some questions about the Fifth House domicile. He knows of what he speaks, and proved to be most articulate and insightful.

Q — What is the significance of the name Fifth House?

A — The Fifth House (astrologically speaking) is referred to as the house of pleasure, usually as the result of a creative act. It is giving of your self in creation of something new. Creation, recreation and procreation.

Q — How did you guys get together, and who brings which influence(s) to the band's sound?

A — I first met Rob while playing in a jazz ensemble at UNC Asheville. He filled in on bass at the last show my band at the time would ever play. We clicked and decided to start a group together. He knew Kevin already and asked him to come along for the ride. Initially we called ourselves Sound Project. However when our drummer left we decided along with a new drummer, a name was also needed. While attending a Phish concert, Rob met Mike through a mutual friend and invited him to try out. He fit right in and with new drummer and name in tow the Fifth House story began to unfold.

I come from a pretty strong soul/blues background so I always try to bring that to the table. Kevin is all about the dirty funk be it New Orleans or Stevie Wonder. Rob played in metal bands in his early days so he brings that raw energy and power to the stage. Mike has always approached music as a musician and not just a drummer. He can play a variety of instruments, which allows him to see our music from many sides.

Q — When you say "jam band" most folks automatically think of Phish and Spin Doctors and String Cheese Incident and perhaps even Donna the Buffalo. Is being labeled a "jam band" accurate?

A — I used to shy away from the jam band term because of the stigma attached to it (i.e. noodling around, no direction, patchouli smelling and lacking content). Now I don't care what we get called as long as people get it. Yes, we tend to stretch things out beyond the three-minute pop song format but we also have some of the catchiest hooks and lyrics that speak directly from the heart. Real music lovers get that.

Q — Which artists/groups did you to listen to early on? Who is your most influential guitarist/songwriter?

A — One of my biggest early influences was Warren Haynes and the music of the Allman Brothers Band. Listening to them was like a history lesson in true American music. From them I dove into the deep blues, jazz and R&B and really learned to appreciate the marriage of songwriting and musicianship.

Q — Talk a bit about putting the album together — did it come together pretty easy, were the songs ready to go? Or did you have to do a lot of fine-tuning and remixing?

A — We decided to do the album and started working on it pretty fast. The songs were all road-tested and many of them already had a few years on them. Our biggest challenges were time and recording limitations. We didn’t have the luxury of taking a month or two off to record. The only time we had came in a few hours each week when we weren't on the road. Also we recorded the album completely on our own in Kevin’s house using what equipment we had or could borrow. It was a great learning experience, but not one I'm eager to repeat any time soon.

Q — Why is there such a diverse music scene in Asheville?

A — Easy. Asheville is a hard town to survive in. It is a do-it-yourself town and in that type of atmosphere it is the most creative and driven people that rise to the top. And Asheville has plenty of those to go around.

Q — The best band on the planet right now is....

A — I couldn't even begin to narrow it down. One thing we are not in short supply of — no matter what you read — is good music. Sometimes you just have to dig a little.

Q — Define Fifth House's musical philosophy in a nutshell.

A — Always come straight from the heart. Make it meaningful and true and get folks moving. - The Mountaineer - Waynesville, NC

"Rockin' road warriors still honing their sound"

August 4, 2006

Asheville band Fifth House is defining the term "road dogs."

"We rolled in about 7 this morning," says Corey Bullman at 11 a.m. from his home in Asheville. "We have to set up for a show today at about 4 o'clock."

The band's tour schedule has the group stopping in a different North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia or Tennessee city nearly every night of the week. Shredded trailer tires, missing band members and rainstorms that short out equipment have not deterred the band from fulfilling concert commitments.

Fifth House began in 1999 when the members, Bullman, Mike Ashworth, Rob Heyer and Kevin Scala, were attending the University of North Carolina in Asheville. While the band clicked as a musical unit, it broke up after only a year.

"Living together was probably the biggest mistake," says Bullman. "I don't recommend that."

During the group's hiatus, Bullman graduated from the Atlanta Institute of Music and toured with the band Radiodaze. Scala took a job with the CD manufacturing company Sonopress. Ashworth and Heyer worked with other local acts.

The group reunited as a band, but not roommates, in April 2005, quickly re-established its reputation and hit the concert trail. The group released its first full-length album, "Place," this year.

Fifth House's sound owes a debt to classic rock and fusion groups of the early 1970s.

"The Allman Brothers influence was almost inevitable," says Bullman.

It was "inevitable," because any young guitar player had to know of Warren Haynes, the Asheville guitar player who helped the Allman Brothers return to form. Haynes, who joined the Allmans in 1989, went on to form the premier jam band Gov't Mule.

Bullman says the group isn't satisfied to be known simply as a "jam band," but is still trying to define itself.
"We have the ability to mimic a lot of styles, which can be a detriment," says Bullman. "We're still working on a direction. We keep honing our sound; we keep carving away at that wood."

There are some things that Bullman is sure of, though.

"Some of that music-school syndrome is to not think about music with emotion and passion. It's more 'How can I be the best player I can be?' I do like that side of it. I love jazz. But I want to write a song someday that will bring somebody to tears. That's how I relate to music." - The Knoxville Sentinel - Knoxville, TN

"Standing in the Deep End"

Asheville, North Carolina is one of my favorite cities in the southeast. Any place where so many people manage to be simultaneously enlightened and down to Earth is OK with me. High quality restaurants serving healthy food are everywhere. The gently looming mountains serve as de facto protection for this special city. Warren Haynes grew up here. The cozy confines of The Thomas Wolfe Auditorium are here. The Biltmore Estate is here.

Asheville is also home to the young jam band Fifth House. The band already has a core following of "Househeads," (I wonder if fans of Galactic's lead singer take the same moniker) and this group will surely grow now that the band's debut release, "Standing In The Deep End" is available. While the songs may be a bit similar to each other with the initial listen, there is clearly some creative songwriting, and challenging changes going on here. One could easily get the feel that this is a band that will do some serious damage as they grow and flesh out their sound.

One listen to the title track helps the listener understand why this band's music has been described as "tripadeliafunkmorgastic, paradigm-shifting, soul-lifting music." This song starts with a laid-back guitar and piano prelude, which quickly succumbs, to the groove of the song. This groove, reminiscent of Derek and The Dominos' Keep On Growin', gets my shoulders swaying with every listen. I also find myself wooed by the lyricism right from the first verse. "The gravity of our conversation, it brings my body down. The caravan of indecision, drags me all around. I've got one thing to say, it never felt this way." Lyrically, the song evolves to suggest someone who, after a perplexing weekend, has had a shock of realization causing him to go through intense self-evaluation. Whatever happened, he was pathetically unprepared for the event. The Zappa-esque keyboard lead over the strikingly fast changes, and smartly placed stop/starts underscore the confusion the song addresses. This gives way to some tight ensemble playing which seems to suggest that the voice of the song has come to some kind of resolution. However, the band gradually returns to a frenetic pace, ultimately reaching a section that I assume allow for ample improvisation in the live setting. When the song's melody returns, and the song returns to the lyrical bridge, we find that the contemplation has still left our protagonist confused and the song wafts to a gentle close.

The band proves its true mettle with the last listed track Groove Real Tight, which features the line "we don't need no information, just keep the groove real tight." Jim Leatherwood lends some excellent sax work, at some points jutting into the sound with honking, squeaking, and other funky coloring, at other points broadening the group's sound with his lilting lead work. Once again Bullman shines with a guitar solo toward the end that starts with some nice gentle flowing notes, before it builds through some strong lead work (he references the Allman Brothers with very classy subtlety). Rather than spewing an array of notes at the listener, Bullman chooses to resolve his solo with some crafty interplay with drummer Mike Ashworth. He demonstrates maturity as a player by repeatedly opting for restraint over showmanship on this release.

The CD also contains the charged lead track, Songs From The Alley, which features more fast changes and raises curiosity about its potential as a live song. The positive message of Betterland is underscored by some more incisive guitar runs from Bullman, who lives up to his liner note nickname, "toro hombre." He starts his solo with a strong single note, but gradually veers into a fusion lead that tickles the ear as it weaves in and out of Rob Heyer's liquidy bass and Keven Scala's keys. The stop/start at the end of the solo serves as a smart bridge back to the song's lyrics. The desperate Putcha Down continues the disc's theme of contemporary lyricism put to a fusion sound. It is a concise track driven by a kind of Allen Holdsworth meets the Derek Trucks guitar line.

The disc then has about fifty blank tracks, which give way to the hidden track number 55, the only disappointment of the release. The intro, driven by a shuffle drum beat, gives the listener false hope for a creative take on (Turn On Your) Lovelight. I think this is a poor choice for a straight cover as it has been covered countless performers (among them jamband giants Col. Bruce Hampton and The Grateful Dead). Even a cool drum break, which leads to more impressive Bullman/Ashworth interplay, does not save this otherwise tepid reading. Nonetheless, this is clearly a band with promise, and they are definitely worth checking out live.

Reviewed by Rob S. Turner -


2006 - "Place" - First full-length album
2000 - "Standing in the Deep End" - EP debut release


Feeling a bit camera shy


Rock, Funk, Soul, Groove, Big, Bad

It's as simple as that. Catchy phrases and witticisms aside, Fifth House embodies these descriptions and more. Feeling as equally at home in a body-shaking groove as a heart-wrenching ballad, Fifth House calls forth musical influences from a world of color and variety. They seamlessly marry great lyricism and catchy hooks with explosive performances. Unique, heartfelt and immediately danceable, Fifth House invites everyone to hang on and enjoy the ride.

In it's short history the band has amassed a loyal following through constant touring and promotion, email list fan communications and album and merchandise distribution. With it's grassroots network of fans and hard-pressed determination, Fifth House is expanding bigger and faster with each passing show.

What People Are Saying...

"This Asheville quartet will groove you..."
Tad Dickens - The Roanoke Times

"Fifth House has taken the misunderstood term "jam" ... and given it some fashion tips."
Hunter Pope - The Mountain Xpress

"Asheville band Fifth House is defining the term "road dogs."" Wayne Bledsoe - The Knoxville Sentinel

"An intelligent bag of groove" - Chuck Waters - The Mountaineer

"Unlike a lot of jam bands on the scene today, Fifth House establishes itself as one of the best songwriting combos around."
Jeff Eason - The Mountain Times.

"They are the songwriter's jam band..."
Zack Harding - The Clarion

"This band is tighter than a condom stretched over the Vance Monument"

"Creative songwriting and challenging changes going on here. One could easily get the feel that this is a band that will do some serious damage"
Rob S. Turner -