Okay, go see some Christmas music…

December 19th, 2014 at 12:37 pm

The Claudia Burson Trio live.

The Claudia Burson Trio live.

I know I just told you to avoid Christmas a few hours ago.

But what about Christmas music?

That’s a bit different. I say have at it.

Here are a few seasonal offerings:

• The Claudia Burson Trio’s eighth annual winter concert will feature something new this year — a double album. The Fayetteville-based jazz trio, joined for this show by guitarist Ben Harris, will perform a concert at 7 p.m. today (Dec. 19) and release the new recording “Peace and Joy.” Admission to the event at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship is $25. A wine and hors d’oeuvres reception will follow the show.

• The Fayetteville Jazz Collective will perform Christmas songs during two 45-minute sets on Saturday (Dec. 20). The show featuring the 19-piece band takes place at Mount Sequoyah. Admission is $10, and the show begins at 7 p.m.

• The Arkansas Philharmonic Orchestra will present a Christmas program at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. That event takes place at the Arend Arts Center in Bentonville and will feature songs such as “Carol of the Bells” and “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.” Admission ranges from $5-$25.

The weekend in live music, with Milton Patton and more

December 19th, 2014 at 5:03 am

Milton Patton

Milton Patton

I can tell it’s almost Christmas because of the traffic on the roads, and, specifically, the traffic near the shopping centers.

It makes me want to get off the road and hide until the new year.

You know a good place to hide from the holiday madness? Live music events.

Forget shopping for a while and let the sounds take you away this weekend. Here are a few suggestions:

Forrest City native Milton Patton was a finalist on last season’s “America’s Got Talent” television show, advancing that far courtesy of a cover of Brad Paisley’s “Whiskey Lullaby.” Now based in Joplin, Mo., Patton is starting to tour regionally. Those jaunts find him in Rogers on Saturday (Dec. 20) for his first-ever Northwest Arkansas gig. The traditional country singer will perform at The Big Chill in Rogers. Admission to the 9 p.m. show is free.

Tonight (Dec. 19), the Christmas blues come to Fayetteville.

Bluesy songwriter and band leader Ian Moore will bring his Christmas tour to George’s Majestic Lounge tonight. The now annual tour started as a response to the private shows Moore played at this time of year, and he decided to make it an annual event. He released a well-received EP “Aerie” for last year’s Christmas tour. He performs at 9 p.m., and admission is $15.

Elsewhere, Buffalo Hustle performs at The Lightbulb Club in Fayetteville tonight and Candy Lee entertains at the Pied Piper in Eureka Springs on Saturday.

What’s on your agenda, besides Christmas shopping?

On the way — Umphrey’s McGee, April 15 at George’s

December 17th, 2014 at 10:47 am

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What do you get when you blend Radiohead, Beck and Phil Collins? Something called “National Loser Anthem, Tonight.” At least that’s what you got from Umphrey’s McGee when they made this mashup for their Halloween show in Boston this year. Umphrey’s returns to Fayetteville next spring, it was just announced.

As it sometimes happens, I announce a show and more follow it.

George’s Majestic Lounge has slowly been rolling out the list of acts playing there in the next few months, and they just announced a big one today.

Umphrey’s McGee will perform at the venue on April 15, it was announced early this morning. The jam act from Chicago are staples at music festivals around the country, including the local Wakarusa fest, and they attract big crowds at solo events at places such as Red Rocks in Colorado.

Tickets for the show go on sale at 8 a.m. Friday (Dec. 19) through George’s ticketing website.

Wakarusa lineup to be unveiled soon

December 16th, 2014 at 1:17 pm

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Wakarusa will ramble on, just like String Cheese Incident did during last year’s event on Mulberry Mountain.

Wakarusa announced on Wednesday when to expect the lineup for the 2015 event.

Again, the lineup for the music festival — which takes place June 4-7 on Mulberry Mountain near Ozark — will be announced in three parts.

Mark your calendars for Jan. 7, Jan. 14 and Jan. 21.

George’s announce new slate of late winter/early spring shows

December 15th, 2014 at 11:09 am

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“I Miss The Misery” by Halestorm. Just don’t miss this message, because I’m telling you about some upcoming concerts.

I’m not telling you what to get people for Christmas, but I know that I get pretty excited when I get concert tickets. Thanks, Katie. You’re the best.

All I can tell you is that George’s Majestic Lounge recently added many musicians to its late winter and early spring calendar.

New shows include:

Halestorm on Jan. 12

Pat Green on Jan. 23

The Wood Brothers, fresh of a series of dazzling performances at the Fayetteville Roots Festival, on Feb. 17

Jeff Austin Band (led by the former mandolin player from Yonder Mountain String Band) on Feb. 20

Yonder Mountain String Band (without Jeff Austin) on April 12

There are several other shows to be aware of, too. Tickets for each are on sale now.

Thunder on the Mountain announces second round of artists

December 12th, 2014 at 12:27 pm

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This song is by Carrie Underwood, and it’s called “See You Again.” We can say the same thing about Thunder on the Mountain, which returns June 26-28 on Mulberry Mountain in rural Franklin County. Underwood is on this year’s lineup.

When Brett Mosiman told me that Thunder on the Mountain would return in 2015 after taking 2014 off, he told me the event would come back with artists just as big as it had in 2013, its first year.

That would be a tall task, considering Toby Keith and Luke Bryan headlined.


We now know what’s at the top of this year’s bill. The Zac Brown Band was announced last week, and yesterday, we learned Carrie Underwood will join them as a headliner.

We also learned the rest of the names on the festival roster, including Colt Ford, Jerrod Niemann, Kevin Fowler and Stoney LaRue.

The full lineup can be found through the festival’s website.

Tickets, which start at $109, are also available through the website.

The weekend in live music, with The Welches and more

December 12th, 2014 at 5:03 am

Kevin Welch photo by Rodney Bursiel

Kevin Welch photo by Rodney Bursiel

I have good intentions of spending this day — and this weekend — Christmas shopping.

But let me level with you. I’m much more likely to do nothing of the sort and go see some live music instead. Hey, family members in Kansas, here’s a live-only EP. Oh, you’ve never heard of them? Trust me on this one. You’ll enjoy it.

So here’ the live music part of the plan:

Country songwriter Kevin Welch has penned songs for Garth Brooks, Ricky Skaggs, Don Williams and more. He’ll perform many of those country hits tonight (Dec. 12) in Fort Smith, and he’ll have his son Dustin on stage with him. The younger Welch is a songwriter and performer as well, and the two will team up for a show at 8 p.m. at Audience Artist Community Live in Fort Smith. Admission is $40, and tickets are available at artistaudiencecommunitylive.com.

Sometimes Nathan Kalish tours with his roots rock backing band, The Wildfire. Sometimes he tours as a solo singer/songwriter. But it’s a third option — with a country band named The Lastcallers — that brings him to Northwest Arkansas. The musician and his band will perform tonight at Chelsea’s Corner Cafe and again on Saturday night (Dec. 13) at the Pied Piper. Both venues are in in Eureka Springs.

Local guitarist Isayah Warford has assembled a team of musicians for a Neil Young tribute show that takes place Saturday night at Webby D’s in Fort Smith. Admission to the 10 p.m. show is $5.

Elsewhere, Rat Race Rebellion plays tonight at the Lightbulb Club. I endorse them based on their name alone.

What’s on your live music agenda for the weekend?

Going Mediaeval

December 9th, 2014 at 1:27 pm

The Mediaeval Baebes

The Mediaeval Baebes

I doubt many Christmas concerts feature songs performed in the Medieval French language.

But not every Christmas concert is one offered by the Mediaeval Baebes, an all-female act from England. They’ll perform in that ancient language, and also in Cornish and Middle English, among others.

The group brings their Christmas concert to the Walton Arts Center for a Thursday (Dec. 11) show that begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10.

Before you go, check out my colleague Ashley Batchelor’s interview with group founder Katharine Blake. It published last Friday, and you can find it online [Note: Subscriber content] along with the other entertainment stories we published last week.

First round of artists announced for Thunder on the Mountain

December 8th, 2014 at 9:47 am

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It feels a little strange talking about a summer music festival this time of year, but here we are doing just that. The first round of artists, including headliner Zac Brown Band, were announced last week. Here’s that band’s “Colder Weather.”

When Zac Brown Band performed on Mulberry Mountain several years, it started something. The band has only grown bigger, and that remote venue in rural Franklin County has only grown as a spot for country music.

The Thunder on the Mountain festival returns June 26-28 after a one-year hiatus. When it does, Zac Brown Band will serve as headlining act.

The first of at least two, and possibly more, lineup announcements for the festival was made on Wednesday. Other highlights include The Band Perry, Eli Young Band and Chris Cagle. The full announcement appears on the festival’s website.

As soon as we have a few more names, I’ll post them.

Tickets are on sale now through the festival’s website.

Jazz up your Christmas

December 5th, 2014 at 12:21 pm

Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra

Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra

Holiday songs might sound easy to play, with those beautiful, easy-to-recall melodies.

But that’s far from the truth, says accomplished saxophone player Ted Nash. He has performed with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra for 16 years, and he says the music provides a challenge for the band, which is led by famed trumpeter Wynton Marsalis.

A challenge the band will ace, but a challenge nonetheless.

Nash talked about melding Christmas music and jazz with my colleague Allison Carter in advance of the Jazz Orchestra’s upcoming performance at the Walton Arts Center. You can read his comments today in print, or you can find it online [Note: Subscriber content].

Tickets remain for the Big Band Christmas event Sunday (Dec. 7). Prices range from $52-$82, and those tickets are available through waltonartscenter.org.