Friday, February 27, 2015

Hear Avett's new tribute album before it's released

Seth Avett and Jessica Lea Mayfield will release their tribute album to Elliott Smith March 17, but local fans can hear the record in its entirety Saturday at Lunchbox Records in Plaza-Midwood. The listening party is only one of five taking place around the country prior to the release on Concord's Ramseur Records. It takes place at 7 p.m.

One attendee at each listening party will win a signed vinyl test pressing of the album. Others who pre-order the album Saturday will receive a silkscreen poster designed by Avett.

The intimate 13-date tour for the album kicks off at McGlohon Theatre in Charlotte March 10. The tour will feature covers from Smith's catalog (my favorites from the album are Avett's "Angeles" and Mayfield's "Roman Candle"), Mayfield's originals, Avett's solo work, which has rarely or never been performed live, and surprise covers.

You can read more about the project in next Friday's CLT section. I spoke to both Avett and Mayfield recently about the pet project and how they first bonded over the deceased indie folk songwriter's work (that word "pet" is a hint, by the way).


Thursday, February 26, 2015

This week's hot concerts

Friday  9 p.m., Visulite, 1615 Elizabeth Ave., $20,  
The `90s riff rock giant, who regrouped in 2004, returns to revisit its 1994 fan favorite “Betty” to mark the album’s 20th anniversary (the tour started in Europe last fall). The band will play the album, which was praised for its merger of heavy music with jazz and blues, in its entirety then return for a career-spanning second set.

Manhattan Transfer
Saturday  8 p.m., Knight Theater, 430 S. Tryon St., $20-$74.50,
The versatile vocal group celebrates its 40th anniversary, although sadly without founder Tim Hauser who died of cardiac arrest in October. Trist Curless of the a cappella group m-pact, who covered for Hauser in 2013 and 2014, helps commemorate its history with hits like “The Boy From New York City” and “Route 66.”

Eric Roberson/Bilal
Friday and Saturday  8:30 p.m., Amos’, 1423 S. Tryon St., $29.50-$35/$65 VIP,
The grown and sexy crowd has its choice of live music during CIAA, but there are two chances to get in on post-game romance with prolific R&B singer-songwriter/producer Roberson and go-to collaborator Bilal who sings numerous hooks on others’ songs. Roberson actually attended former CIAA school Howard University (which now competes in the MEAC conference).  With Aaron Camper.

Average White Band
Saturday  8 p.m., Knight Theater, 430 S. Tryon St., $49.50-$89.50,
Founders Alan Gorrie and Onnie McIntyre head up the oft-sampled Scottish funk band behind R&B and disco hits like “Pick Up the Pieces,” “Soul Searching,” and “Cut the Cake.” It celebrate its 43rd year with what it’s calling its Final Funk Affair. A portion of proceeds from the concert go toward CIAA competitor Virginia State University’s Tuition Assistance Fund.

Cody Canada & the Departed
Sunday  8 p.m., Chop Shop, 399 E. 35th St., $20-$25,
On his new album “HippieLovePunk” Cross Canadian Ragweed’s Cody Canada takes the reins after sharing band leader duties with the now departed (pun intended) Seth James on two previous albums. The sound is grittier and bolder and marks a return to his red dirt roots. With Jason Boland & the Stragglers.

Monday  8 p.m., The Fillmore, 1000 NC Music Factory Blvd., $25.01,
Between her 2011 breakthrough “Siberia” and her anthemic 2014 return “Little Machines,” the Canadian electro-pop singer-songwriter conquered severe writer’s block by channeling iconic female musicians like Kate Bush and Patti Smith in the New Mexico desert and had a daughter with husband Beau Bokan (BlesstheFall). Both inform “Machines’” uplifting sound.

NoDa F.A.M. Rally Kick Off Party
Thursday  6 p.m., Chop Shop, 399 E. 35th St., Free,
The seasonal outdoor food truck, art and music event, which takes place each Thursday, kicks off with seasoned Charlotte Americana band the Loudermilks’ country-rock tales of heartache, acceptance, and growing maturity and roots-grass musician Josh Daniel (the New Familiars/Mark Schimick).

Dreamers/Born Cages
Thursday  7:30 p.m., Neighborhood Theatre, 511 E. 36th St., $10-$12,
The up and coming Brooklynite’s hooky alt-pop is what indie band’s in search of a hit should strive for. It strikes up one infectious garage rock and Brit-pop inflected track after another on its 2014 debut EP, which serves as a precursor to summer’s upcoming full-length. With Born Cages and the Kickback. (Warning: Profanity in chorus).

Jazmine Sullivan
Thursday  8 p.m., The Fillmore, 1000 NC Music Factory Blvd., $33.58,
The award winning Philly R&B singer who charmed audiences in 2008 by threatening to “Bust Your Windows” returned last year after a self-imposed three year hiatus where she drew inspiration for her third album “Reality Show” by participating in the favored American pastime of watching reality television.

Historical folk musical closes out Cornelius run with series of talkbacks

"Precious Memories," a historical musical about the life of early folk musician and activist Sarah Ogan Gunning, ends its run at Cornelius' Warehouse Performing Arts Center with four performances this week.

The folk music musical written by Charlotte-based musician and activist Si Kahn and starring Kentucky musician/educator Sue Massek (the Reel World String Band) begins its final four-day run tonight.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday performances will include talkbacks with Gunning's granddaughter Rosie Ogan Hickman, director Divina Cook, Massek, Kahn, and labor organizer/ author Phil Cohen.

"Precious Memories" is based on the life of Sarah Ogan Gunning. A mother and miner's wife during the Kentucky coal mining wars, Gunning and her family fled to New York City where she and her half-sister Aunt Molly Jackson and brother Jim Garland - both fellow musicians - befriended Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie.

Gunning was recorded by Alan Lomax in 1937, but her music wasn't really discovered until the `60s folk revival when she was living in Detroit with her second husband.

Recognition came later in life for Gunning, who played folk festivals and released an album "Girl of Constant Sorrow" in 1965.

Friday's Talkback is hosted by Levine Museum of the New South's staff historian Tom Hanchett who will speak with Ogan Hickman, who is flying in from Michigan to see the musical.

Host Kara Wooten, chair of the Theatre Department at Queens University, fight director, and author will discuss strong women with Cook, Ogan Hickman, and Massek Saturday.

Kahn concludes the Talkback series Sunday interviewing Cohen, whose book "The Jackson Project: War in the American Worplace," will be published by the University of Tennessee Press later this year. The book focuses on changing work conditions for Southerners in the 1930s when "Precious Memories" takes place.

Kahn will also lead a songwriting workshop from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. before Sunday's matinee at 2 p.m., which will be followed by a jam session.

Shows are at 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for seniors, students, and groups. For reservations call 704-619-0429 or click here.

Friday, February 20, 2015

CLT rapper raises concern for missing persons in new video

In his new long-form music video for the track "I'm Lost," Charlotte rapper B-U-D tackles the issue of missing persons. Although he hasn't lost someone himself, he found the overwhelming number of times he encountered missing people through the news and online disturbing. He wrote the aforementioned track to draw more attention to the problem.

"You cannot watch TV without seeing breaking news of someone missing or listen to the radio without hearing about a missing person or go on the internet and see missing people on social media," B-U-D (aka Edgar Savage II) explains via email. "I felt that a song like this was needed for people to hear and to spread awareness about missing people worldwide. Some stories have a good ending and other stories are left without any evidence of what really happened."

While many faces are splashed across social media and nightly news, others are forgotten without multimedia exposure.

He hopes the video will spur viewers to act, not just monetarily but by reposting photos and stories of missing people instead of simply passing over them on Facebook or Twitter and spreading the word in other ways.

"The mini film is to not only draw more attention, but to give people the feel of how family, friends, and other loved ones really feel when someone is missing," adds Savage, whose Alvin (Midway) Person-directed video features friends as well as family members in the cast.

The track was produced by B-U-D's frequent collaborator Octo5.

B-U-D describes himself as an eccentric, eclectic performer. Born in the `80s, he has been engulfed in music since age 9. You can learn more and hear more of B-U-D's music here.

This week's hot concerts

Jim White vs the Packway Handle Band
Friday  8 p.m., Visulite, 1615 Elizabeth Ave., $12-$15,  
Singer-songwriter and award winning short story writer Jim White, who recorded for David Byrne’s Luako Bop label for years, was recruited to produce Athens, Georgia’s Packway Handle Band’s new album. When he and the band hit it off the album became a bluegrass collaboration billed under both names.

Dark Star Orchestra
Friday  8 p.m., The Fillmore, 1000 NC Music Factory Blvd., $31.58,  
In 17 years the tribute has actually played the Grateful Dead’s music live more than the original band did in its 30 year run. It continues the legacy of the influential jam band as four of the Dead’s surviving members have announced its final shows commemorating the group’s 50th anniversary in Dark Star’s hometown of Chicago.

A Night in Rio
Saturday  7 p.m., Neighborhood Theatre, 511 E. 36th St., $15-$25,  
The Latin American Association’s 6th annual Brazilian Carnaval celebration features live music from Afro-Brazilian funk band Dende!, Batuque de Terreiro,  and Reinaldo Brahn and dance performances by Movimentos de Samba and Brazilian Fusion. Other activities include Samba lessons, a parade, and a performance by Capoeira Cordao de Ouro combining martial arts, dance and music.

Saturday  8 p.m., Tremont, 400 W. Tremont Ave., $8-$10,
The female-fronted Charlotte metal band celebrates its annual Tattermasquerade with the release of its “Carpe Noctem” EP. The EP, which includes its version of Seal’s “Kiss From a Rose” to mark the song’s 20th anniversary, finds a homegrown version of Lacuna Coil boosted by strong vocals and versatile guitar and rhythm sections.

Holy Komodo
Sunday  4 p.m., Snug Harbor, 1228 Gordon St., $5,
This Olympia, Washington outfit makes flirty, fun dance-pop music with a retro feel that time travels from psychedelic `60s to Abba, and the Bee Gees to Scissor Sisters and Fitz & the Tantrums with a taste of visual art, humor and fashion that would be right out home on Thursday’s at Snug’s Shiprocked.

The Time Jumpers
Sunday  7 p.m., Knight Theater, 430 S. Tryon St., $20-$69.50,  
The group of Nashville session all-stars lost singer Dawn Sears to lung cancer in December, but charges ahead with Vince Gill, Kenny Sears, Ranger Doug Green and others pickers that have long been heralded as a not-so-secret society of music city’s best.

JD McPherson
Sunday  7:45 p.m., Visulite, 1615 Elizabeth Ave., $15-$18,  
The Little Richard-loving Oklahoman band leader echoes the retro hearts of artists like Amy Winehouse and Raphael Saddiq, but puts his own vibrant spin on rhythm & blues, rockabilly, and `60s rock n’ roll singing soul like a man possessed on his impeccable, aptly-titled  second album, “Let the Good Times Roll.”

Wednesday  9 p.m., Visulite, 1615 Elizabeth Ave., $15-$18,  
At ages 15 to 21 the fresh faced Seirota siblings are enjoying the success of the infectious 2014 single “The Cool Kids” and its first headlining tour. In actuality the band - all children of L.A. composer/producer Jeffery David - has been together for close to 8 years. Its paired with fellow female fronted synth pop act The Colourist.

K. Michelle
Thursday  8 p.m., The Fillmore, 1000 NC Music Factory Blvd., $38.23,  
The “Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta” star isn’t wasting any time after waiting years to release her 2013 debut. Her impressive second album “Anybody Wanna Buy a Heart” dropped in December - less than a year and a half after her debut “Rebellious Soul - to coincide with her solo VH1 reality TV venture “K. Michelle: My Life.” She returns as part of CIAA.

Legends of Hip Hop
Thursday  9 p.m., Charlotte Convention Center, 501 S. College St., $25-$45,
Legendary party starting rapper and beatboxer Doug E. Fresh returns to head up this old school hip-hop bill featuring pioneering emcees MC Lyte, Slick Rick, Big Daddy Kane, and Chubb Rock as part of CIAA’s week of entertainment. The first 1,000 ticket buyers receive free admission into the concert’s after party.

Friday, February 13, 2015

This week's hot concerts

Ancient Cities
Friday  9 p.m., Neighborhood Theatre, 511 E. 36th St., Free,  
Following last year’s critically acclaimed debut full-length, the Charlotte folk-rock foursome celebrate the release of a six track live EP recorded at WDVX in Knoxville’s Blue Plate Special daily lunchtime series. The fast-rising group’s music was also used in a  recent episode of the TBS sitcom “Cougar Town.”

Wayne Krantz Trio
Friday  10 p.m., Smokey Joe's, 510 Briar Creek Rd., TBA at door,
The jazz fusion guitarist is best known for his work with Steely Dan and Donald Fagen, but as a solo artist has released 10 albums. On his latest, "Good Piranha/Bad Piranha," he interprets songs by Ice Cube, MC Hammer, Pendulum, and Thom Yorke, not one, but twice each. 

Rachel Kate
Friday  10 p.m., Snug Harbor, 1228 Gordon St., $5,  
Like a lightning rod plucked from another era, this Charleston singer-songwriter could stop traffic with her stunning bluesy alto, bold presence, and a dramatic antiqued sound that combines modern soul with Southern gothic, vaudeville camp, and Depression era strength. She’s joined by the Menders and She Returns from War.

American Aquarium
Saturday  10 p.m., Visulite, 1615 Elizabeth Ave., $14,
With its distinctively Southern new album “Wolves,” the Raleigh roots-rock act captures the struggle of a band on the brink, the disconnection of road life, and the sacrifices that come with choosing art over security. “Wolves” echoes the working class blues of Drive-By Truckers and Ryan Adams and is one of the best early releases of the year.

Bryan Sutton
Saturday  8 p.m., Neighborhood Theatre, 511 E. 36th St., $18-$20,  
A Grammy winner and six time International Bluegrass Music Awards guitarist of the year, this Asheville native divides his time between solo work, Nashville session work with eclectic artists like Dolly Parton, Harry Connick, Jr., and Taylor Swift, and legendary bluegrass band Hot Rize. If bluegrass makes your sweetheart’s knees weak, this is the Valentine’s show for you.

R&B Reunion Tour
Saturday  8 p.m., Ovens Auditorium, 2700 E. Independence Blvd., $66.16-$119.92,
Turn back the clock to the golden age of Bad Boy Records with the reunion of P. Diddy’s label’s biggest acts - classy, charismatic crooner and Notorious B.I.G widow Faith Evans, Carl Thomas - the R&B singer behind the hit “I Wish” - and girl group Total (who appeared on Biggie’s “Juicy”). Hosted by Tone X.

The Loose Lugnuts/Bill Noonan
Saturday  9 p.m., Double Door, 1218 Charlottetown Ave., $7,
If spending Valentine’s Day alone means tears in your beers, then the honky-tonk of these two Charlotte acts will help drink you through. The Lugnuts capture vintage country while rocking Telecaster slinger Noonan delivers his share of twang and heartache.

Johnson Brothers' Valentine's Bash
Saturday 10 p.m., Snug Harbor, 1228 Gordon St., $5, 
Wes and Chris Johnson's band Hardcore Lounge has been hosting this annual Valentine's Day party for 23 years and since making it a fundraiser 12 years ago have raised $6,000 for R.A.I.N. This year marks the return of Charlotte music vets Hope Nichols and Aaron Pitkin (Fetchin Bones, Sugarsmack, Snagglepuss) with their new band It's Snakes as well as the fittingly named duo Lovesucker who open the show. 

Sunday  8 p.m., The Fillmore, 1000 NC Music Factory Blvd., $33.58,
With the Grammy night news that his amusingly titled new album, “The Album About Nothing,” will be released March 31, the DC rapper heads up the Simply Nothing Tour with Audio Push and Bizzy Crook. Wale performs an assist on the former’s new single “Quick Fast,” which serves as a preview of its upcoming debut album.

Erin McKeown
Tuesday  8 p.m., Evening Muse, 3227 N. Davidson St., $12-$14,
In 2013 the quirky and creative jazz-folk singer-songwriter decided to combine her interest in activism and social justice with her musical pursuits and created the musical call to arms “Manifestra.” She returns to the Southeast touring between teaching music, activism, and hosting and blogging for a NYC NPR station.

Gordon Lightfoot
Thursday  8 p.m., Knight Theater, 430 S. Tryon St., $37-$67,  
Having weathered illness earlier this century, the Canadian folk-rock legend behind `70s hits and classic rock radio staples “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” and “Sundown” returns to celebrate 50 Years on the Carefree Highway.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

NoDa weekly free food, art, and music fest returns this Spring

The weekly NoDa Food, Art, and Music Rally kicks off March 5 outside Chop Shop (E. 35th St. behind Cabo Fish Taco) with live music from the Loudermilks, Josh Daniel and DJ Ahuf, as well as a selection of food trucks, artists, and vendors.

Each Thursday will feature different local musicians. The Business People, Brian & Megan, and DJ Smitty perform March 12. The Menders, Dylan Gilbert, and DJ Smitty play March 19. Cameron Floyd Band returns March 26 with Toronto in the Summer and DJ Smitty and Bless These Sounds Under the City finishes off the Spring schedule April 2 with Justin Cross and DJ Ahuf.

The weekly free neighborhood events were created as a way to raise awareness of local businesses, non-profits, artists, and musicians as well as to build community.

Food trucks include Taco Green-Go, Maryland Crab, Yummi Banh Mi, Plated Pallate, Roaming Fork, Two Chix and a Truck, K.O. Food Truck, All Star Cafe, and Sweet Cakes Bakery.

The dog-friendly events include a weekly costume contest for canines as well as a photo booth sponsored by Four Dogs Pet Supplies and NoDa Bark and Board.

There will also be a weekly art competition for cash prizes awarded to winners with a portion of the proceeds benefiting local non-profits.

Admission is free and the event is family-friendly. Hours are from 6 to 9 p.m.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Chris Brown, Trey Songz shows postponed

Next week's Chris Brown and Trey Songz' concerts scheduled for Greensboro and Charlotte have been postponed. The co-headlining duo's Between the Sheets Tour with Tyga was originally slated for Monday at Greensboro Coliseum and Tuesday at Time Warner Cable Arena. Both dates were postponed Friday without explanation. New dates were not released. Fans are encouraged to check for updates.

Knoxville songwriter playing area this weekend, premiers video

Knoxville based country singer-songwriter Matt Woods, who plays Uncle Buck's Pub and Grub in Salisbury Saturday with Fifth on the Floor and Puckett's in Charlotte Sunday, premiered the new music video for the song "Ain't No Living" earlier this week.

The track is taken from Woods' album "With Love from Brushy Mountain." You can read more about the video here.

The two area dates are part of Kentucky Southern rock band Fifth on the Floor's farewell tour. The band, whose last album "Ashes & Angels" was produced by Shooter Jennings, announced its breakup in January.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

This week's hot concerts

Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes
Friday  8 p.m., McGlohon Theater, 345 N. College St., $20-$44.50,
In its 40 years the E Street Band’s sister group has shared many members with Springsteen’s famous backing unit - most notably former Jukes co-leader Steven Van Zandt as well as members of Conan O’Brien’s late night talk show band Richie “La Bamba” Rosenberg and Mark Pender.

Ingrid Michaelson
Friday  8 p.m., The Fillmore, 1000 NC Music Factory Blvd., $33.58,  
On her 2014 album, “Lights Out,” the spectacled singer-songwriter opts for grander arrangements that at times echo Tori Amos and Sara Bareilles and reveal her inner rock goddess which is a step away from the sparse ear-worm folk-pop of early hits like “Be OK” and the Old Navy elevated “The Way I Am.”

Leon Russell
Friday  8 p.m., Don Gibson Theatre, 318 Washington St., Shelby, $34.50,
The hirsute Rock n’ Roll Hall of Famer turned studio session work for the stars and stellar songwriting into a legendary career that included hits (often for others) such as “Superstar” and “Song For You” as well as his own unique Southern-steeped R&B, blues, and roots music.

The Bros. Landreth
Friday  9 p.m., Double Door, 1218 Charlottetown Ave., $10,  
The Canadian foursome led by brothers Joey and David Landreth flirt with mainstream country through soulful Southern rock harmonies and rootsy blues guitar that’s more akin to the Allman Brothers and Shawn Mullins than fellow Canadians Bryan Adams or Neil Young.

Saturday  8 p.m., Fillmore, 1000 NC Music Factory Blvd., $27.51,
A-list rockers like Pete Wentz and Kings of Leon - whose audience got a taste of the South African quartet opening amphitheaters last summer - are fans of the “Come With Me Now” band who have become regulars on SiriusXM. Its paired with fellow up-and-comers Sir Sly and Colony House.

Annabelle’s Curse
Saturday  8 p.m., Evening Muse, 3227 N. Davidson St., $8-$10,
On its second album, “Hollow Creature,” the Bristol, VA band inject bluegrass banjo and mandolin into psychedelic folk and rock. A song like “A Tale of Two Tattered Hearts,” for instance, forms a link between Death Cab for Cutie, “We Will Rock You” and modern indie-folk, which sounds about right for a band produced by folk-grass eccentric David Mayfield.

Glen Hansard
Monday  7:30 p.m., Knight Theater, 430 S. Tryon St., $29.50-$44.50,
The Oscar winning Frames’ frontman, who skyrocketed to fame as part of the Swell Season and in the film “Once,” pays tribute to his friend Jason Molina and his project Songs: Ohia on the second anniversary of Molina’s March 2013 death. The intimate shows also feature musicians from Hansard’s 2012 “Rhyme and Repose.”

Wednesday  8 p.m., Neighborhood Theatre, 511 E. 36th St., $10-$12,
He may look like a hippy running naked with cows and covered in squid in his trippy videos, but the singer/producer is no one man jam band. He’s a stunning falsetto R&B singer, equal parts Michael Jackson and experimental, that you’ve probably already heard on Kendrick Lamaar’s “Good Kid/M.A.A.D. City” album. With Rochelle Jordan.

Wednesday  8 p.m., Evening Muse, 3227 N. Davidson St., $8-$10,
As singer for the underrated Chicago-based rock band Company of Thieves, which disbanded last year, Genevieve Schatz was a powerhouse frontwoman with a knack for injecting atmospheric pop-rock with soul and blues. She does the same on the more mainstream solo pop EP “Show Your Colors,” which is out in March. With Reeve Coobs.

NC Brewers & Music Festival reveals 2015 lineup

Grammy winning Brevard, NC bluegrass group the Steep Canyon Rangers will headline the fifth annual North Carolina Brewers and Music Festival at Historic Rural Hill in Huntersville. The annual showcase for craft breweries - many of them regional - and roots music takes place May 8 and 9.

Seven-piece soul powerhouse Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds return along with South Carolinians Sol Driven Train, who have become an NC Brewers Festival staple over the course of its five years.

Bluegrass traditionalists Town Mountain, jamming country-rock combo Yarn, newgrass rabble rousers Brushfire Stankgrass, soulful Charleston-based jam rock up and comers Dead 27s, and Edward Anderson, formerly of Backyard Tire Fire, round out the bill.

Participating breweries include Birdsong, Triple C, Highland, Blind Squirrel, Primal Brewing, Duck-Rabbit, Granite Falls, District 9, and Mother Earth.

Discounted early bird tickets are currently on sale until February 14. Concert only, designated driver, tent and RV camping options are also available at

(Pictured: Arleigh Kincheloe of Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds)