March 8th, 2014 at 4:31 pm
The woman in black — and purple — sure seemed happy to be in Arkansas.
First, it’s an album that documents Cash’s reconnection with the south, and particularly, Arkansas. The record was inspired by trips to this part of the country made with John Leventhal, her husband and musical partner. Many of the songs on that January 2014 album mention Arkansas specifically. Others, she told the sold-out or nearly sold-out crowd, also refer to Arkansas places, specifically “The Sunken Lands,” which is about the area near her father’s home in Dyess Colony.
“The River & The Thread” was also important because Cash would play the album in its entirety, and in the order it appeared on the recording, starting with the excellent “A Feather’s Not A Bird” and closing the first of two halves with the final song of the album, “Money Road.” She also played three songs that appeared on “The List,” her 2009 album of cover songs based on a list of songs her father Johnny Cash gave her to study. Those expecting her to fill the set with all ten of her No. 1 country hits from the early parts of her career might have been disappointed, but I somehow doubt it.
Cash’s stories carried the night as well as the songs did, and her status as a songwriter only grew as she listed her inspirations.
Situated in the middle of a bare-bones stage and surrounded by a group of nuanced players who never got in her way, Cash paced the night well, throwing in a few nods to the past as she presented herself as a current force. Though excellent, “The River & The Thread” is by its very nature a thoughtful album, and a slow, brooding one. It made for a slow, brooding concert experience, and the audience was quiet enough during her songs someone who started to speak was audibly shushed by a neighbor. I worried flipping the pages of my notebook might be heard onstage.
The biggest and bounciest moments were a few of her covers — “Ode to Billie Joe” by Bobbie Gentry, which has a nice, direct tie to Cash’s own song “Money Road,” and the night’s one encore, “Tennessee Flat Top Box,” a Johnny Cash song that in this instance contained a rollicking guitar duel.
She got a whooping cheer when she walked off the stage at the end of the night. I only wish a wonderful night would have carried more of that energy earlier.
March 7th, 2014 at 2:21 pm
Disclaimer: This show is gonna get weird. Like really weird.
Like topless male hipsters dancing around to soul tunes and someone selling T-shirts for his candidacy for fake mayor weird.
It’s all instigated by Sean Tillmann, better known by his stage name Har Mar Superstar, a sweaty dance machine who the AV Club once quipped is “perhaps best known not for his music, but for his underpants.”
Tillmann, who at one point in his life was a mild-mannered Minnesotan, chatted with me about the success of Har Mar Superstar in France, why he doesn’t tour with a horn section — short answer: He doesn’t get paid enough — and his most recent album, “Bye Bye 17.” He also spent a lot of time praising Fayetteville, where he has played many times, but not recently.
The story appears in today’s Whats Up! section, if you’d like to read the story, which is also available online. [Note: Subscriber content]
March 7th, 2014 at 11:37 am
Rosanne Cash‘s publicist called me in the hour before my scheduled interview time with the songwriter to give me a warning/piece of advice — avoid talking about her father.
We all have subjects that are off limits, but how do you not ask the daughter of one of your music heroes — the one and only man in black, Johnny Cash — about the man?
The answer came along easier than I thought it might — you ask her about her own triumphs of the last few years, including the Grammy nominated album “The List” from 2009 and the critically lauded “The River and The Thread” from earlier this year.
In a wide-ranging interview, Cash and I talked about her songwriting process, which she shares with husband and musical partner John Leventhal, and her trips to Arkansas, where, among other goals, she performed live in the idea of preserving her father’s boyhood home in Dyess.
Read my story in today’s edition of What’s Up!, NWA Media’s weekly arts and entertainment guide. [Note: Subscriber content]
[Update as of 10:24 a.m. March 7: In today's print version of the story, I wrote this show would be her Northwest Arkansas debut. I later learned that's incorrect — she performed at The Auditorium in Eureka Springs in 2003.]
See Cash perform live tonight at the Walton Arts Center. The show begins at 8 p.m., and tickets range from $29-$59.
I’ll see you there.
March 7th, 2014 at 5:03 am
Notice there are many unfamiliar bands cruising through the area right now?
You can thank South By Southwest, the annual tastemaking music festival in Austin, Texas. As that even is in full swing — it runs March 7-16 — bands heading in that direction often use Fayetteville as a stopover.
Throughout the week, you’ll see many bands on that very schedule. Including Aan.
A supporting act for bands such as The Smashing Pumpkins, Built to Spill and Wye Oak, Portland, Ore., quartet Aan will visit The Lightbulb Club in Fayetteville on its way to a showcase at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. Aan plays experimental pop and released its debut album, “Amor Ad Nauseum,” on Feb. 4. Joining Aan for the evening will be locals Sw/mm/ng (themselves on the way to SxSW) and Peace of the Sea. The show begins at 9 p.m. Saturday (March 8). Admission is $5.
We’ll update you on several of those shows throughout the week, and into next weekend, too.
So, for something different? Like maybe country music?
County vocalist Daryle Singletary will perform a pair of shows this weekend at Cherokee Casino in West Siloam Springs. In the late 1990s, Singletary neared the top of the Hot Country charts several times with songs such as “I Let Her Lie,” “Amen Kind of Love,” and “Too Much Fun.” He performs at 10:30 p.m. today (March 7) and Saturday. Joining him tonight will be Brian Odle at 7 p.m. Johnny Dale is slated to open for the Saturday evening show.
What’s on your weekend agenda?
March 5th, 2014 at 10:33 am
The prolific guitarist and touring artist Keller Williams has appeared many times at George’s Majestic Lounge, but not like this. For the first half of Thursday (March 6)’s show, he’ll perform solo. In the second set, he’ll be joined by a six-piece funk band called More Than a Little. Williams and company will focus on his new record, called “Funk.” His upcoming appearance takes place at 9 p.m. Thursday. Tickets are $20 in advance through georgesmajesticlounge.com.
March 4th, 2014 at 1:19 pm
Rosanne Cash performs the song “A Feather’s Not A Bird” on a recent edition of “Late Show with David Letterman.” It’s the first song on her new album “The River and The Thread.”
Actually, she gave me two copies, which is why I’m writing this post.
Leave a comment below by noon Thursday (March 6) telling me why you want the album. We’ll randomly select one commenter, and we’ll give that person the album. It’s as easy as that.
Stay tuned this weekend for a story I’ll publish about Cash in Friday’s What’s Up! section.
March 3rd, 2014 at 12:21 pm
Performing a free show on Mardi Gras evening will be blues revivalists The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band. It’s just a three-piece outfit, but they create a big noise. The band is touring in support of its album “Between the Ditches,” which debuted at No. 1 on the iTunes blues album chart. The band takes the stage at 9 p.m. Tuesday (March 4) at George’s Majestic Lounge. Also performing that evening will be Isayah’s Allstars.
February 28th, 2014 at 2:26 pm
The Black Cadillacs play “Classic Fool.” Don’t be a fool — check out some of the newly named acts for Wakarusa.
Wakarusa promises lineup spots to various artists who win battle of the bands-style competitions in cities surrounding the festivals grounds north of Ozark.
The Waka Winter Classic has concluded, meaning we know several new acts for the annual festival, which this year takes place June 5-8 on Mulberry Mountain.
We also know a few other groups heading our way.
Wakarusa, in addition to the Wakarusa Winter Classic winners, announced five new bands for the 2014 edition of the festival. Recently added were Prison Penguin, Kung Fu, The Black Cadillacs, D.V.S. and Mouth.
The poster below shows all of the new names, including Foley’s Van, a Fayetteville outfit that earned a spot on the roster courtesy of a Waka Winter Classic win at George’s Majestic Lounge in Fayetteville.
February 28th, 2014 at 5:03 am
By the time this weekend concludes, the year will be a sixth of the way completed. Think about that for a second.
And, celebrate with some live music?
Here are some options for the weekend, starting with a touring band making a pass through two local cities.
Austin, Texas, folk rockers Lord Buffalo will spend two nights in Northwest Arkansas while on their current tour. The musicians, who describe their music as “dark folk” that contains “southern gothic admonitions and psychedelic gray matter,” will perform tonight (Feb. 28) at Chelsea’s Corner Cafe in Eureka Springs and again Saturday (March 1) at The Lightbulb Club in Fayetteville. For the latter gig, they will be joined by DJ Freedom Rock. For details, visit facebook.com/lord.buffalo.band.
Also happening this weekend will be a family event — in many ways. Crowd favorites Trout Fishing in America will perform tonight at Second Street Live in Fort Smith. Joining them will be Air Loom, which features Dana Idlet, daughter of Trout guitarist Ezra Idlet. Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. show are $40.
Check the concert calendar to the right for a complete list of the acts we know of for the weekend.
What will you see?
February 26th, 2014 at 9:37 am
On a tour that will take them through Texas and includes stops in Missouri and Illinois, Uncle Lucius will offer their take on modern Americana to a Fayetteville crowd. The Dallas Observer newspaper called the band’s song “Keep The Wolves Away” one of the best of 2013 and the Austin, Texas-based group has similarly earned praise for the 2012 album “And You Are Me.” Uncle Lucius will perform at 8 p.m. Thursday (Feb. 27) at George’s Majestic Lounge. Admission is $10. The band will also perform this summer at Wakarusa.