Sounds Good: Old 97’s@Crossroads TONIGHT!; Blitzen Trapper@Riot Room; Bela Fleck & Bruce Hornsby@Crossroads

Thursday, July 21st

Old 97’s at the Crossroads in KC

The Old 97’s are a Texas band who should’ve been placed in the trailblazing company of Uncle Tupelo, Whiskeytown, and The Jayhawks.  For some reason, though, they never quite get the credit those bands do for helping to create what is now a fairly mainstream genre, alt-country. 

And I don’t know why, because they put out good albums, write songs that are both catchy and rootsy, and most of all, they put on a great live show.  In fact Old 97’s are definitely one of those bands that are better in person than on their albums.  I can attest to this from their sold out Bottleneck show about six months ago where they worked the crowd to a sweaty lather, belting out rockers and ballads alike. 

If you like the alt-country thing, but have never seen Old 97’s, trust me, they will not disappoint.   

Friday, July 22nd

Blitzen Trapper at the Riot Room in KC

Blitzen Trapper is yet another band in the recent string of much acclaimed Portland, Oregon alt/folk acts.  They burst onto the scene with their 2008 album, “Furr,” which was critically acclaimed by pretty much everyone.  And they’re releasing a new album this September called “American Goldwing."

Surely, a bunch of tracks off the new album will be showcased at the Riot Room.  According to Teresa Montgomery of Playback: stl, the album “sounds like the road,” and is “both guarded and filled with an electric roughness that illuminates a life that is both like what every person experiences but also contain a dreamy restlessness most of us never get a chance to act upon.”

Yeah.

Bela Fleck & The Flecktones with Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers at the Crossroads in KC

Good ol’ Bela Fleck.  He rocks that banjo hard now.  Weirdly, sometimes he rocks that banjo in an easy listening kind of way.  And sometimes in a world music kind of way.  But whatever it is, it’s pretty impressive and pretty cool.  And throw in the “original” Flecktones – Future Man, Victor Wooten, and Howard Levy – and you have some SERIOUS musical chops in one spot at one time. 

Bela gained some notoriety in the early 2000s when the jam band crowd found out about him and embraced him into the festival scene. 

Bruce Hornsby has been around.  From collecting bluegrass, pop, and new artist Grammys, to collaborating with various artists, to being a member of the Grateful Dead for almost a decade, this guy has done it all.  Perhaps best known for his biggest hit, “The Way It Is,” with its distinctive piano lines that has been sampled by a ton of hip-hop artists, most notably Tupac, Hornsby has never been afraid of mixing genres to create fresh, original songs using seemingly inapposite elements.     
 

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