Mountain music in Eureka Springs

January 23rd, 2015 at 11:23 am


Defining the “Ozark” sound is a tough task.

It could be a little rowdy (but maybe not) and it probably features bluegrass instrumentation. Beyond that, it’s hard to say.

But you also often know it when you hear it, and there’s a collection of such bands this weekend in Eureka Springs at the second annual Ozark Mountain Music Festival. The event takes place in the Barefoot Ballroom of the Basin Park Hotel and runs through Sunday (Jan. 25) for a brunchtime show.

Acts included on the bill include Hooten Hallers, Hosty Duo and Shawn James and the Shapeshifters.

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reporter April Robertson talked to the organizers about the genesis of the festival and what patrons can expect. Find her story in today’s What’s Up! section. [Note: Subscriber content]

Tickets range from $10 (Thursday only) to $55 (all-access pass).

The weekend in live music, with Pat Green and more

January 23rd, 2015 at 5:03 am

Pat Green

Pat Green

In the midst of festival announcement season, it’s easy to forget about the events happening every day all around you.

We’re certainly in the middle of that right now, with our local Wakarusa festival announcing their lineup in addition to dozens of other festivals doing the same.

And tickets for a pair of local shows go on sale this morning — Sturgill Simpson (March 30 at George’s) at 8 a.m. and Steve Miller Band (May 16 at the AMP) at 9 a.m. via the Walton Arts Center ticket office.

But those festivals announcing lineups and venues selling tickets right now, temping as they are, don’t take place until late spring or early summer.

Which means you’ll need to get your live music fix this weekend the old fashioned way — by going to a nearby club.

Here’s what I recommend for the weekend:

Songwriter, Texas country statesman and vocalist Pat Green will return to a venue he has performed at many times for a show tonight in Fayetteville. Green will soon release an album called “Home” that will include a duet with Lyle Lovett titled “Girls from Texas,” a No. 1 Texas Radio hit. Green’s set tonight (Jan. 23) at George’s Majestic Lounge with opener William Clark Green begins at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 and are available via

Also this weekend is a free show that shows off one of our live music clubs.

A new book featuring photos of bands performing at The Lightbulb Club will be released, fittingly, at a concert at The Lightbulb Club. “The Lightbulb Club: A Year in the Life” will be released tonight during an event featuring music by Grim Creeper, Thunderlizards, Mud Lung and Auric. The book features the black and white photography of John Moore, and all images come from 2014. The book collects images of 75 bands. Details can be found at

Elsewhere, you can venture north to Eureka Springs for the second annual Ozark Mountain Music Festival. It takes place through Sunday (Jan. 25). More on it in a minute.

Or, head south to see the Chester Thompson Trio perform at the Blue Lion in Fort Smith. Thompson was selected to fill in for drums for Genesis when Phil Collins wanted to focus on vocals, so you know he’s talented. My coworker Kelly Barnett wrote a story about the event, and you can find her story today in What’s Up!’s print or online version.

What’s on your agenda?

On the way — Sturgill Simpson, March 30 at George’s

January 22nd, 2015 at 8:43 am

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Sturgill Simpson’s chase of that “Long White Line” will bring him to Fayetteville on March 30.

This is the kind of concert I almost don’t want to tell you about. I want you to know too late, so I’m assured of getting tickets.

It crossed my mind, but I’m a professional.

Sturgill Simpson yesterday announced a string of tour dates, and included is a stop at George’s Majestic Lounge on March 30 (a Monday).

The traditional country singer and his fantastic “Metamodern Sounds in Country Music” made my Top 10 albums of 2014 list.

But maybe you don’t trust me.

Maybe you trust Atlantic Records, which just signed him to a new deal. Or maybe you trust the Grammy Awards, where he is currently nominated for Best Americana Album. Or perhaps you trust the Coachella, Stagecoach and Bonnaroo festivals. He’ll perform at each this summer.

Tickets for the show go on sale at 8 a.m. Friday (Jan. 23). This one is likely to sell out in a hurry.

Third and final lineup announcement for Wakarusa arrives

January 21st, 2015 at 11:36 am

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“Come on to Me,” Wakarusa lineup. Oh, you’re here? Nice to see you. Major Lazer, the artist in the song above, is among the acts coming to the annual music festival near Ozark.

Piece by piece, we learned about the Wakarusa music festival. With an announcement released a few moments ago, we now know the whole festival, save for a few acts that will arrive courtesy of Waka Winter Classic events.

So what do we know? We know that the big names on today’s installment were Major Lazer, Thievery Corporation and Umphrey’s McGee. Among them, Major Lazer is the biggest deal, and they’ll be a major draw for sure.

Farther down today’s release are acts such as Dirty Heads, Bro Safari and Galactic with Macy Gray. Yes, with Macy Gray.

A full lineup can now be found at

Four-day passes start at $179, a price that does not include camping.

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Come say hello (and see some music and have a beverage)

January 20th, 2015 at 12:43 pm

My reporting preferences go like this: in-person chats are always best. Phone conversations are second best. Email interviews are a very distant third. And heaven forbid I have to resort to getting answers via text message some day, although I fear that day is near.

As you know, we’ve switched some things around here at the paper. We can shout from the proverbial rooftops (in print, online and via social media) all we want, but we’d rather tell you in person.

Which brings us to an event at our Springdale newsroom/production facility at 2560 N. Lowell Road in Springdale on Thursday (Jan. 22). We want to show off our staff and the new Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. We think a party is a great way to do that.

The free (!!!) event runs from 4:30-7 p.m. and features live music from the Jeff Fox Band. I understand there will be several giveaways throughout the night.

So we know how many to expect, we’re asking you to reserve a free ticket via Eventbrite.

I’ll be here all night, because live music and beverages. I’m not hard to find — I believe my desk is the only one with a palm tree, Legos and quote from Bukowski.

I hope to see you here, too.

Weekly entertainment – A new residency in downtown Fayetteville

January 19th, 2015 at 11:31 am

RJ Mischo

RJ Mischo

A trio of local players has established a residency at the 6494 Bistro, located inside the Chancellor Hotel in downtown Fayetteville. RJ Mischo, Richard Burnett and Paul Burnham will join forces twice a week for happy hour shows. The gigs take place 6-8 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday and are subject to the musician’s availability.

The traveling blues: Two NWA acts head to international competition

January 16th, 2015 at 12:53 pm

West Street Blues Band

West Street Blues Band

To earn a spot at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tenn., a band must win a regional competition.

It’s never an easy thing to do. I’ve judged these competitions before, and the criteria attempts to create distinctions between the bands — a good blues band must be original, talented and possess a certain showmanship.

The Ozark Blues Society‘s Ozark Blues Challenge chose the West Street Blues Band (band category) and Buddy Shute (solo/duo category) as the 2014 winners. Both bands will head to Memphis soon, as the competition starts Tuesday (Jan. 20).

But not before an event Saturday (Jan. 17) at 21c Museum Hotel in Bentonville. A concert there will raise money for both acts and serve as a preview. The event starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $12.

Amanda Rey, lead singer of the West Street Blues Band, and Jimmy Wayne Garrett, the band’s guitarist, spoke to me recently about the group’s formation and its new recording, a four-song EP called “Black & Blue.” Read my story in the What’s Up! section of the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette, available in print or online.

And wish our local competitors good luck.

The weekend in live music, with The Vine Brothers and more

January 16th, 2015 at 5:03 am

The Vine Brothers

The Vine Brothers

This weekend opens up the live racing calendar at Oaklawn Jockey Park, perhaps my favorite distraction/vice in all of Arkansas.

But who would have bet (get it? bet?) — considering the doldrums we’ve faced recently — that we’d be in store for such a warm winter weekend?

I’ll take it.

I’ll also take a little bit of live music in my life.

Here’s a few options for the weekend:

Calling themselves “soulful gypsy Americana,” three-piece outfit The Vine Brothers comes to the area for a series of gigs continuing this weekend. On the band’s schedule are stops at 9 p.m. today (Jan. 16) at Chelsea’s Corner Cafe in Eureka Springs, at noon Saturday (Jan. 17) at the Rowdy Beaver Den in Eureka Springs and 7 p.m. Saturday at Landry’s New Orleans Cafe in Fort Smith. Details can be found via

Looking for something different?

Electronic rock duo The Floozies, a staple at festivals such as Wakarusa, will perform tonight and Saturday in Fayetteville. The Kansas-based act frequents the area and has developed a strong following. Tickets to this weekend’s performance at George’s Majestic Lounge with Filibusta are $17 for either night or $30 for a two-day pass. Those tickets are available via

And, if you’re interested in the blues, try 21c Museum Hotel on Saturday night. That’s where the West Street Blues Band and Buddy Shute will perform for a fundraiser as they head to the International Blues Challenge this week. More on that in a minute.

Many other gigs are listed on the home page of this blog.

What’s on your radar for the weekend?

Soon in tunes: Rebelution, Jan. 15 at George’s

January 14th, 2015 at 12:11 pm



Before California-based reggae act Rebelution departs on an Australian tour, the band will have a tour of the South. Included among the dates is a Thursday (Jan. 15) stop at George’s Majestic Lounge in Fayetteville. Also included on the band’s “Winter Greens” tour is Katchafire. The show begins at 8 p.m. Admission is $20. The band is also among those selected for the annual Wakarusa festival, which comes to the area in early June.

Second installment of Wakarusa lineup released

January 14th, 2015 at 11:16 am

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In the video above, Ben Harper says ‘Jah Work’ is never done. The Wakarusa announcements are not done, either. Part two of three, released today, includes Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals.

If I could summarize the reaction to last week’s Wakarusa lineup announcement, the first of three such announcements, it would be this: “Not a bad start.” The typical response would also note that the top three spots on the lineup were yet to be released.

So where does that put us after today’s announcement, the second of three for the festival that takes place from June 4-7 on Mulberry Mountain near Ozark?

With a little clearer picture of festival’s top tier, of course.

Ben Harper will make a return trip to Wakarusa, having performed there in 2011. That year, he performed with a backing band known as Relentless7. This time, it will be with a reunited Innocent Criminals. Also included in the second announcement are acts such as reggae rockers Slightly Stoopid, indie rockers Portugal. the Man, Chicago rapper Chance the Rapper, and electronica act Big Gigantic.

A third lineup announcement is expected next Wednesday (Jan. 21).

Tickets are onsale now, and four-day passes begin at $164 (camping not included).

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