And we’re baaaaack…..
Wheew. That was a close one. After wallowing through the disgusting mire known as the holiday season, we’re finally back to seeing some quality shows rolling through our cold and desolate wasteland on the plains.
It’s OK to come out people. Everything’s going to be OK, I promise.
Friday, January 18th
Jeff Mangum at Liberty Hall in Lawrence
This show’s been sold out for some time, but you sneaky types know there’s always a way to wrangle a ticket, right? Mangum – better known as the lead singer, songwriter, and guitarist for legendary band Neutral Milk Hotel – rarely, if ever, tours, so this concert could be a kind of once-in-a-decade type deal.
Scott Mervis of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette caught Mangum’s show a couple days ago and had this to say:
“To a roaring reception, he sat down, plucked one of four acoustic guitars, and with the first sung notes of “Two-Headed Boy” you could sense the relief and joy in the house, as he sounded every bit as raw and powerful as he did on record 15 years ago, through the melodic opening right into the spot where he jumps an octave. He strummed hard enough to create the impression of a full band.”
Billy Joe Shaver at Knuckleheads in KC
Billy Joe, one of the godfathers of outlaw country, is the real deal, he is. Let’s do the list: Missing some fingers from a horrible industrial accident? Check. Shot a man in the face with a pistol outside of a Texas bar? Check. Wrote songs that everyone from Willie Nelson to the Allman Brothers covered? Check. Failed suicide attempt? You betcha.
Just ‘cause he’s in his 70s and has a heart that is bound to attack him (again) at any moment, doesn’t mean this old timer can’t still put on a helluva show. Jeff Niesel reviewed one of BJ’s shows a few months ago for Scene & Heard, and said:
“Dressed (as always) from head-to-toe in denim, Shaver sauntered onto the stage and humbly introduced himself as he said “I’m Billy Joe Shaver and these are some songs I’ve written over the years.” He then launched into “Heart of Texas,” a track he originally recorded with Waylon Jennings; from there he segued into “I Been to Georgia on a Fast Train.” One of his best known tunes, the song benefited from a boisterous mid-song drum solo.
Shaver then talked openly about the incident in which he shot a man outside a bar in Texas in 2007. “I returned fire and shot him between the ‘mother’ and the ‘fucker,’” said Shaver before playing “Wacko from Waco,” a song he wrote about the shooting.”
Saturday, January 19th
Arthur Dodge and the Horsefeathers at the Jazzhaus in Lawrence
I always keep an eye out for Lawrence’s longest tenured, and most grizzled folk-rock act. They don’t play as much as they used to, but make no mistake, Dodge and his boys still bring it. And by “it” I mean interesting, storytelling songs told through the bucket of nails that is Dodge’s voice, all backed by solid musicians that’ve probably drank more whiskey than all of you put together.
Ebony Tusks at the Jackpot in Lawrence
It’s been a big few weeks for Cowboy Indian Bear’s Marty Hillard, aka Ebony Tusks. CIB opened the NYE show at the Granada for Murder By Death, released the first single off their much anticipated record free on their website, and have been featured heavily on local radio, including 96.5 The Buzz. Not too shabby.
But don’t think that this Ebony Tusks deal is just a fun little side project. Nope, Marty might be the most in his element when he’s doing the smart hip-hop thing. He has a knack for beats and an energy that just isn’t there when he’s fronting CIB.
Sunday, January 20th
Eliot Lipp at the Granada in Lawrence
Hey kids! You like that electronic crap, right? Well, here’s a guy that does that whole deal, but with mostly analogue gear. Don’t know what that means? Look, just swallow what’s in your pocket and get your ass down to the Granada.
Seriously though, Lipp’s gotten some major run from the likes of Jay-Z and – I don’t have to keep listing people after Jay-Z, do I? The HOVA snapped up one of Lipp’s most recent tracks, Wonderland, to premier on his Life and Times website/blog.