The weekend in live music, with Earl and Them and more

March 27th, 2015 at 5:03 am

Lucious Spiller photo by Rick Nelson

Lucious Spiller photo by Rick Nelson

Fayetteville has been noticeably quieter this week with all of the local students being gone on Spring Break. Which means you ought to enjoy it just the same. Get out there and have a good time. You know the kids in Destin or Panama City or wherever they go are having a great time right now.

One of the things that rarely changes in this town is the Happy Hour events at George’s Majestic Lounge. The 6-8 p.m. Friday event usually features a bluesy band and the crowd is primarily made up of full-time residents.

Happy hour is where Earl & Them recorded a set for a new live recording, and Happy Hour is where they’ll return to show it off.

Almost two years have passed since the recording of this live set featuring special guests such as Jimmy Thackery on guitar and Dave Renko on saxophone. Earl and Them’s first live was recorded live at George’s Majestic Lounge on in May 2013, “Live at George’s Majestic Lounge” features the work of John Davies, Jason Davis, Terry Cagle and Earl Cate, the latter of Cate Brothers Band fame. The live album debuts at a release party that runs from 6-8 p.m. today (March 27) at George’s. Admission is $5.

Elsewhere in blues news, Lucious Spiller is in town this weekend. The Arkansas bluesman was runnerup in the solo or duo category at the 2014 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tenn. Spiller combines elements of blues, rock and gospel in his original work. He performs tonight at The Big Chill in Rogers and again Saturday (March 28) early evening at The Walmart Museum in Bentonville. The shows begin at 8 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., respectively. For details, visit

Other shows this weekend include a Saturday-night gig by Andy Frasco at George’s and a set by Deerpeople at The Lightbulb Club on Friday.

What’s on your live music agenda?

Highberry music fest announces 2015 lineup

March 24th, 2015 at 8:38 am

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Keller Williams covers the Grateful Dead tune “Birdsong.” This sounds like exactly the kind of song he’ll play during the upcoming Highberry Music Festival.

The Grateful Dead-loving Highberry Music Festival won’t let something like an actual Grateful Dead concert get in their way.

The sixth edition of the festival returns to Byrd’s Adventure Center near Ozark from July 2-5. That’s also the weekend of the slate of farewell shows for the legendary jam band. So the festival will happen, and a bus will take those with tickets from Ozark to Soldier Field in Chicago, the site of the “Fare Thee Well” series of shows.

Meanwhile, at Byrd’s, organizers have lined up several national acts, including headliners Railroad Earth and Keller Williams. Other notable acts include Ott, The Schwag (a Grateful Dead tribute band) and A Live One (a Phish tribute band).

Passes for the local festival are available through the festival’s website for $90. A Friday-Saturday pass is $75, and a Saturday-only ticket will cost you $50.

Here’s the lineup announcement poster:

Highberry PosterWEB

Soon in tunes: Night School, March 24 at the Lightbulb Club

March 23rd, 2015 at 10:17 am

Night School

Night School

Calling themselves doo-wop garage rock, the quartet known as Night School comes to The Lightbulb Club on Tuesday (March 24) following an official showcase at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. The group is touring behind its four-song EP, “Heart Beat.” Joining Night School for the 10 p.m. show will be Irish band Dott and locals Llinda. Admission is $5.

A melodic doom: The sounds of Arkansas’ Pallbearer

March 20th, 2015 at 12:17 pm

Pallbearer photo by Diana Lee Zadlo

Pallbearer photo by Diana Lee Zadlo

Not so long ago, Little Rock’s doom metal titans Pallbearer played in this state all the time.

Times have changed. Pallbearer is one of the biggest metal acts in the country, and bassist Joseph D. Rowland is not sure he even lives in Little Rock any more, considering the months he spends on the road and the time he stayed in New York City during the last break between tours.

A couple shows per year in Arkansas might be all Pallbearer can muster now, and this year isn’t looking different, considering the months they’ll spend in Europe.

So consider a stop at the intimate Lightbulb Club in Fayetteville later tonight (March 20) a a rare treat. The band is passing through the area for a gig at the Valley of the Vapors Music Festival in Hot Springs.

Rowland spoke with me recently about the band’s ascent and also why he thinks Pallbearer is the rare metal group finding devotees from outside the genre. Read my story in today’s What’s Up! section, available in newsstands or online.

Today’s concert with Auric begins at 9 p.m. Auric opens. Admission is $8, and advance tickets are available at Block Street Records.

See you there.

The weekend in live music, with Cody Canada and more

March 20th, 2015 at 5:03 am

Cody Canada

Cody Canada

Here’s a double shot of good news: 1) It’s now just less than 13 hours from the official start of spring, and 2) There’s a whole lot of live music potentially on the agenda this weekend.

There’s some basketball on television too, if you like such things.

One look at my NCAA bracket after a day of play tells me you’re better served looking elsewhere for sports advice. But as for live music recommendations, I can help.

How about Cody Canada?

Calling it a return to form from his Cross Canadian Ragweed days, songwriter Cody Canada and his backing band The Departed earlier this year released a new album, “Hippielovepunk.” The tour in support of that record — with the title a good approximation of the group’s sound, by the way — brings the Red Dirt rockers to George’s Majestic Lounge in Fayetteville for a show tonight (March 20). Admission to the 9:30 p.m. event is $12, and advance tickets are available through

Also tonight is a show by doom metal darlings Pallbearer. Yes, I said “doom metal” and “darlings” in the same sentence. The show is tonight at The Lightbulb Club. More on them in a minute.

Cyrus Chestnut will combine two things he loves — jazz and gospel — and use them in a tribute to a third, the music of Dave Brubeck, at two shows Saturday (March 21) at the Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville. The Cyrus Chestnut Quartet is led by Chestnut, who started playing piano in church at the age of 6. The program is called “Brubeck Reimagined.” The shows begin at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Tickets range from $15 to $30 at 443-5600.

Elsewhere, TJ Kong and the Atomic Bomb play at Smoke and Barrel tonight. That’s also the home of a Sunday (March 22) show with Daikaiju and Witchsister.

What’s on your weekend agenda?

Soon in tunes: He is Legend, March 19 at Nomads Music Lounge

March 18th, 2015 at 11:11 am

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He is Legend and the song “Miserable Company.” Hopefully the band members are good company – they are coming to Fayetteville this week.

Rockers He is Legend released a new album last year, about five years after taking an indefinite hiatus. But the group rebounded with “Heavy Fruit,” a release for Tragic Hero Records.

The band will this week make a journey to South by Southwest, and on the way, they’ll perform on Thursday (March 19) at Nomads Music Lounge in south Fayetteville.

He is Legend has performed in Fayetteville before with a 2004 show at The Music Hall. That’s no coincidence — the former owner of The Music Hall is the proprietor and founder of Nomads. Read my story about the venue and its plans for live music online courtesy of What’s Up!, our weekly arts and entertainment section.


A regional festival roundup

March 17th, 2015 at 12:51 pm

Ed Sheeran is among the headliners at the Beale Street Music Festival in Memphis. FILE PHOTO.

Ed Sheeran is among the headliners at the Beale Street Music Festival in Memphis. FILE PHOTO.

Spring has (almost) sprung.

And the lineups for several regional music festivals have popped up, too.

We take a look at several of those festivals in last week’s What’s Up! section, where you can read more about many such events, including Rocklahoma, Bonnaroo, Memphis in May, SxSW, Valley of the Vapors, Wakarusa and Thunder on the Mountain.

We’ll learn about the lineup for a few others (such as Little Rock’s Riverfest) soon.

Check out our story online, and get an idea of who is coming where.

What’s your favorite music festival in our area?

Soon in tunes: Pianos Become the Teeth, March 16 at George’s

March 16th, 2015 at 11:17 am

Pianos Become the Teeth photo by Micah E. Wood

Pianos Become the Teeth photo by Micah E. Wood

Hardcore/metal/rock act Pianos Become The Teeth is touring behind its Oct. 28 album “Keep You,” a recording Alternative Press called a “incredibly bold, beautifully shimmering, deeply aching and immaculately crafted album.” The group’s tour visits George’s Majestic Lounge for a Monday night (March 16) show with support from Silent Waits the Archer and Night Riots. The show begins at 8 p.m., and admission is $10.

On the way to Austin: About a million bands, some of which pass through NWA

March 13th, 2015 at 12:23 pm

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Swearing at Motorists performing at last year’s SxSW event. No official word on if they’ll actually swear at other motorists as they depart from a Fayetteville show. Caution: The video is safe for work, but wonderfully rowdy.

It’s South by Southwest festival season again.

And that comes into Fayetteville’s benefit.

A number of shows have popped up in the last few weeks from bands with showcases at the taste-making conference in Austin, Texas. The reason is simple — as those band head to Texas, they find gigs along the way.

Here’s a few of note:

Daniel Romano & The Trilliums, March 14 at The Lightbulb Club

• Swearing at Motorists, March 16 at The Lightbulb Club

Pianos Become the Teeth, March 16 at George’s Majestic Lounge

Ruth Acuff and Violet and the Undercurrents, March 16 at Smoke & Barrel

Triathlon, March 23 at Smoke & Barrel

Night School and Dott, March 24 at The Lightbulb Club

There are others, no doubt. But this is a good first course.

On the way: Lady Antebellum, June 14 at the AMP

March 13th, 2015 at 8:33 am

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In the video above, country group Lady Antebellum needs the services of a “Bartender.” Perhaps what you need is the knowledge Lady Antebellum is coming to the area in June.

Slowly, names for the Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion‘s 2015 season keep arriving, and that’s brought another entry today.

Country group Lady Antebellum will bring their “Wheels Up” tour to the outdoor venue in Rogers on June 14, a Sunday night. Hunter Hayes will join them for the occasion.

Lady Antebellum is a trio of vocalists, and oft-awarded, too — they’ve won total of seven Grammys and have been nominated for a series of ACM awards.

Tickets for the show go on sale at 10 a.m. March 20. No work on ticket prices just yet.