Yes, Phosphorescent is one of the larger-name, non-Nashville acts booked at Next Big Nashville in order to raise the burgeoning local festivals national recognition. But primary member and songwriter Matthew Houck certainly isnt a bad man to have at the helm of The Ends inaugural NBN 09 show. This years To Willie, a collection of Willie Nelson covers, is a beautifully executed homage to the Redheaded Stranger, and Houcks original records are trad country-influenced, vulnerable but gritty collections that sprawl epically across vast, barren landscapes. Houck has a knack for poignant delivery, but the Athens, Ga., songsmith doesnt sacrifice character with his fragile, reticent croon. Opening are Luke and the Late Nights and Albert Cross, as well as Caitlin Rose, another traditionally influenced artist whos moving young country music in a nuanced, intelligent direction.
Wed., Oct. 7, 8 p.m., 2009