This is not one of those deals.
Nope, I found myself today just listening to this really great band that almost no one’s ever heard of, Richmond Fontaine. It’s not a dude, it’s a band. And they rock. Not rock like “Are you ready to rock Kansas Cityyyyyy!!!!?” They rock like, “Man, these guys are really good.”
Their lead singer/songwriter, Willy Vlautin, writes songs about derelict uncles, broken arms, burned out gas stations, booze, and guns. He also writes books like The Motel Life, which was his first book. It received some big literary award in Oregon and was named an editor’s choice in the New York Times Book Review and named one of the top 25 books of the year by the Washington Post.
He also put out a spoken word album called A Jockey’s Christmas about an overweight, alcoholic jockey that returns home for the holidays.
I wouldn’t lead you astray – check out their record, Post to Wire.
And now check out this week’s picks…
Thursday, August 16th
Willie Nelson at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in KC
No doubt about it, Willie’s a national treasure, a one-of-a-kind rambler who’s probably seen, done and smoked more than all of us combined. And at 70-something years old, he’s still bringing it, as he did last summer at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park to close out Farm Aid. This show should be a gem, as the venue itself inspires artists into delivering a more intimate performance than usual. And while Willie’s been around the block a couple times, his unique guitar style and trademark warbling vocals are still strong enough to carry a blistering hour and a half show, with barely a break between songs.
Friday, August 17th
B.B. King at Starlight Theater in KC
You can’t really mention the blues without B.B. King’s name coming up. He’s been belting out classic blues for so long his guitar is probably more famous than most guitarists going these days. Just mention the name Lucille to any music fan and see what I mean.
At 86 years old, naturally B.B.’s lost a little something, though his age certainly doesn’t prevent him from performing at a level worth watching, especially if you’ve never seen him live.
Saturday, August 18th
311, Slightly Stoopid, The Urge & More at Cricket Wireless Amphitheater in Bonner Springs
From their early days over 20 years ago in Omaha, to their breakthrough in LA and on MTV with radio hit Down, to their more recent and less commercially successful records, 311 have stood the test of time. An impressive feat, really, when you consider that these guys not only helped blaze the trail for bands like Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit, and Incubus, they also have evolved and managed to stay at least somewhat relevant. A trick many bands of this genre have failed at.
For my money, Transistor is still a great album – more melodic and trance-y than most of 311’s other records.
Oh, and do you remember The Urge? They were pretty cool back in the day with their ska-rock-rap deal.