Thursday, December 06, 2007

Fire Leaves "Bobby Sax" Homeless

(Image: Bill Sanders, Asheville Citizen-Times)

A Monday trailer fire in Swannanoa destroyed the possessions (including the four saxophones) of local fixture Robert "Bobby Sax" Hughes, the street musician known for playing the saxophone around downtown Asheville.

Click here for a photo series from the Asheville Citizen-Times (site requires Asheville C-T login).

From the series:
Bobby Hughes, better known locally as Bobby Sax, holds the burned remains of two of his saxophones at the Swannanoa mobile home where he was staying. Fire destroyed the mobile home Monday night. Bobby lost all of his possessions, including four saxophones.
UPDATE 12:15 a.m.: C-T article, Fire snatches street musician's saxophones.

UPDATE, FRIDAY, 3:24 p.m.: The Citizen-Times reports that someone bought Mr. Hughes a new horn and he's already wailing away downtown, just like before. (I sure hope he manages to find replacements for the other three.)

From the article:
Two funds have been established to assist Asheville street musician Bobby Sax and his friend Tony Heath, who were left homeless and lost their possessions after a Monday night fire in Swannanoa.

Contributions may be made to the Bobby Sax Fund at First Citizens Bank in downtown Asheville.

Contributions for the two men may also be sent to the Asheville Tourists. Contact the Asheville Tourists baseball club at 258-0428. Checks for the men may be made payable to the Asheville Tourists Children’s Fund and sent to the club at 30 Buchanan Place, Asheville, NC 28801.


Adam said...

I have an alto saxophone in moderately good shape that I'd be thrilled to give to Bobby. Any idea how to get in touch with him?

Jennifer Saylor said...


He sometimes attends services at Jubilee! church on Wall St. I'd start with them.

Adam said...

Well, that's a start, but there's no way I'm stepping foot in there. Actually gives me the screamin' heebs just thinking about it...

Thanks for the info, however...

Jennifer Saylor said...


Call Jubilee at 828-252-5335, or send email to I can't guarantee they can put you in touch with Hughes, but someone's church is usually a good place to start. Your offer is generous, and I hope you can track Mr. Hughes down.

Jennifer Saylor said...

From "Joey" at the Asheville Citizen-Times forums:

Bobby is a wonderful man who taught me a tremendous amount about playing the saxophone after I graduated high school. We've lost touch over the years, but I still see him downtown on occasion. Bobby is a gentleman and a true treasure to Asheville. I can't help much, but if anyone else has any idea how we get Bobby some new horns please let me know. Certainly there are enough of us out there willing to pitch in and help Bobby make music again. You can reach me at
Let's help Bobby Sax!

Adam said...

Thank you very much, Jennifer... I will definitely try to track him down. Bobby has always been one of those people that really make Asheville special for me.

Jeremy said...

A co-worker just told me that Bobby Sax was wailing on a horn in front of the Citizen-Times building a little while ago. Whoever gave him that instrument deserves major kudos. Thanks to Adam as well for offering his. Downtown Asheville wouldn't be the same without Bobby Sax!

Jennifer Saylor said...

Dude! Good for Bobby! He makes people happy.

I love how when you give him a buck he briefly quits playing to say thank you.

I think he's part of the furniture of downtown Asheville.

Edgy Mama said...

Looks like the Asheville Tourists' office is managing donations (see above--contact number at AC-T website). A new saxophone was dropped off at the AC-T today and given to Bobby Sax, who then played a few tunes for staff. Adam, you can drop yours off at the Tourists office or the AC-T, thus avoiding Jubilee!

I have friends who attend Jubilee and love it, although once I went and some dude told me I needed a hug and proceeded to invade my personal space. Haven't been back.

Adam said...

This whole story, while tragic, has really made me happy in the end... I truly love the town we live in, and I'm glad all these people have expressed their love for Bobby Sax and the presence that he creates downtown.

As far as Jubilee goes, it doesn't get much spookier than that place...

Rena said...

What exactly freaked you out about Jubilee? I go there occasionally and like the people & Howard (minister), but when the hugging starts, I go out the door and listen to our local treasure, Bobby Sax.

Edgy, you must have been groped by the infamous Jubilee stalker who usually hangs out in the back--he is middle-age, has a badly dyed reddish ponytail. Was this him???