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This longtime Nashvillian’s in-demand status as a guitarist and producer means he’s spent less time performing and recording in recent years, but his new 17-cut Americanitis makes up for lost time.
Will Kimbrough, Saturday, 29TH This longtime Nashvillian’s in-demand status as a guitarist and producer means he’s spent less time performing and recording in recent years, but his new 17-cut Americanitis makes up for lost time. Kimbrough’s wide musical lens has always scoped out everything from chiming melodic pop to crunchy riff rock to slinky bar-band funk, and he’s always had a knack for clever lyrical twists. But Americanitis, even with its folk-rock patina, is angrier and more visceral than his past work. Kimbrough’s new songs pointedly skewer modern ethics and take on the rampant deceit in our politics, businesses and personal lives. “I’m trying to be less polite,” he sings, “I’m saying what I really think.” The good news is he’s as entertaining and refreshing as ever, as he alternates between Randy Newman’s satirical wit and John Lennon’s straightforward punch. Live, he’ll show the connection between a rallying call and a party invitation.The Basement —MICHAEL McCALL MUSIC THURSDAY, 27TH RICKY SKAGGS & KENTUCKY THUNDER From the moment he walked away from his mainstream country career and returned to his beloved bluegrass nearly a decade ago, Ricky Skaggs began demonstrating how well he had learned one of the lessons of his mentor, the late Bill Monroe: if you wanna be the best, you’ve gotta have one hot-ass band. Skaggs’ own masterful singing, songwriting and mandolin work are all primo attractions, but his knack for discovering, attracting and effectively deploying the most soulful, fleet-fingered players around (showcased on his aptly titled new album, Instrumentals, due out Aug. 1) is the reason his live shows are jaw-dropping thrill rides for ’grass guzzlers. ( www.skaggsfamilyrecords.com ) Ryman Auditorium —CHRIS NEAL CHICAGO AFROBEAT PROJECT Chicago’s Afrobeat Project is one of a growing number of bands like New York’s Antibalas and LA’s Afrobeat Down to further explore Afrobeat, the musical experiment of Nigerian musician Fela Kuti. In Afrobeat, West African highlife guitars meet funk bass lines and horns, talking drums and jazz song forms, so come ready to dance to an extended jam session from a 14-piece band. We’re talking long Pharoah Sanders sax solos, ricocheting djembes, and Fender Rhodes stylings reminiscent of Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew. But while the melodies swing from soul to jazz, it’s the West African rhythms that inform the music and propel it forward, just as entrancing as the club music for which Chicago is known. ( www.chicagoafrobeatproject.com ) Mercy Lounge —MAKKADA B. SELAH CHERRYHOLMES A modicum of grumbling was quick to surface in the bluegrass community after Cherryholmes took home the IBMA’s top Entertainer of the Year award last year, most of it based on the notion that the family group hadn’t paid its dues. But the carping missed both broader and more specific points. For one thing, the Association’s trophies aren’t rewards for perseverance or insider status; for another, the sextet are, as they say, ate up with the music, and virtually every one of their many appearances shows marked improvement and greater substance. The kids—Cia Leigh (banjo), Skip (guitar), B. J. and Molly Kate (fiddles)—are simply on fire, while their parents hang in with genuine skill. By now, their vocals are not only spirited but polished, and well-crafted—if not yet spectacular—songwriting is a quickly emerging strength. One suspects that Cherryholmes took their title by a nose, but the fact is, they’re growing into it day by day. ( www.cherryholmesfamilyband.com ) The Ryman —JON WEISBERGER FRIDAY, 28TH PROJEKCT SIX Adrian Belew, performing Friday with King Crimson bandmate Robert Fripp in their ProjeKct Six side project, has earned his stripes in the world of experimental rock, making noise with the likes of Talking Heads, David Bowie and Frank Zappa. The virtuoso’s latest solo project, Side Three, finds him combining jazz, funk, art rock, feedback and noise; the results range from the funk-infused “Troubles” to the spoken-word jazz of “Incompetence Indifference.” The most startling tracks, however, are the string-infused “Men in Helicopters v.4.0,” which finds Belew delving into ’60s pop melodies and harmonies reminiscent of The Beatles, and the James Bond-influenced instrumental “Beat Box Car,” which features guitar riffs that go from wailing to funky and low-key in a heartbeat. Throughout, Belew makes art rock that is literate and relevant. ( www.adrianbelew.net ) Mercy Lounge —TRACY M. ROGERS CHRIS SCRUGGS Being the grandson of bluegrass’ pioneering banjo player and the son of formidable country talent Gail Davies has no doubt earned Chris Scruggs his share of curious listening ears from his early teen punk days playing Lucy’s Record Shop. Given the chance to air his matured command of singing, writing and guitar-slinging with Rosie Flores and BR549 (he was one big reason why 2004’s Tangled In the Pines was such a good record), and most recently as a regular performer on the Opry stage and a solo act (with a solid debut, Honky Tonkin’ Lifestyle, a limited-pressing EP, and a second full-length on the way), Scruggs has done quite well by his last name, fusing a cavalier demeanor with stirring roots acumen. Scruggs is joined by ex-BR549 frontman Gary Bennett, whose first solo record, Human Condition, was released earlier this year. The Farewell Drifters open. Exit/In —JEWLY HIGHT SATURDAY, 29TH FAITH HILL & TIM MCGRAW Mainstream country’s premier power couple, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw emphasize the size of their love on their current tour together—or maybe it’s just size, period. Expect the happily married duo to sing over 30 songs separately and together tonight, in about the same time it’d take you to catch Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (whose budget the show probably rivals). Fortunately, the Hill-McGraws are the kind of performers for whom bigness seems to come naturally—it’s hard to imagine their canny, clever pop-country hits presented in anything but a glitzy arena-rock fashion. See the story on p. 37. (www.faithhill.com ; www.timmcgraw.com ) Gaylord Entertainment Center —MIKAEL WOOD THE GOLDEN SOUNDS Some bands want to rock you, some want make you think they’re clever and still others, like The Golden Sounds, want to transport you. From the spectral images on the cover, to the Mellotron-like introduction of the opening track, to lyrics about astronaut girls falling from the sky and watching meteors, The Golden Sounds’ latest CD Wings or Horns: The Astronaut Prophecies wants to take you somewhere else. The music is distinctly hypnotic and otherworldly, kind of an indie-rock version of early Pink Floyd, though with themes more affirming than Floyd’s odes to isolation and alienation. In fact, spacey as they are, The Golden Sounds are downright festive in performance—rather than providing listeners a soundtrack to their own private headtrips, they pull everyone together onto the same spaceship. Hey, it’s a long way to Jupiter, so you might as well have some company for the ride. The Anchor —JACK SILVERMAN THE DAISYCUTTERS Power pop appears in many guises, and can be the most blandly formal of all pop styles, but for Dothan, Ala., natives Wess and Blount Floyd, playing in the manner of The Replacements, The Faces and Big Star isn’t a nostalgia trip. The Daisycutters are a relatively new band, and it shows in their exuberance and their intelligent synthesis of ’70s pop and ’90s post-modernism. On “Wrong” they reinvigorate standard tropes like getting turned on by girls who are gone, and during “Record Player,” a catchy cowbell-driven rocker, they get away with lines like, “Somebody stole my record player / It’s all I had to get me over you.” They favor rhythm-guitar interaction over solos, and seem unpretentious while harboring dreams of rock ’n’ roll glory. The brothers Floyd plan to release an EP in late August; this is a chance to see a talented young band with something to prove. ( www.myspace.com/daisycuttermusic ) 12th & Porter —EDD HURT DARNELL LEVINE Since coming to Middle Tennessee in 2003 to study at MTSU, Darnell Levine has made a name for himself through frequent sets at the Lovenoise urban music showcase at the Bar Car in Cummins Station. A rising soul-R&B singer with the kind of honey-soaked voice that makes women swoon—think Stevie Wonder meets Al Jarreau—Levine wrote all but one of the songs (Billy Joel’s “Just the Way You Are”) on his new album We Gon’ Use What We Got. Featuring a mix of rich stacked harmonies reminiscent of Take 6, strong melodies and a free-flowing jazz sensibility, it’s an undeniably strong debut, and it’s easy to see bigger things ahead for him. The piano accompaniment on the sublime title track features a recurring dissonant flat-fifth note, making clear Levine isn’t afraid to venture into darker musical territory. His music is smooth, but such harmonic complexities prevent it from being “lite.” Kijiji Coffee House —JACK SILVERMAN SUNDAY, 30TH JOSH RITTER With each successive verse of the ragged folk song “Thin Blue Flame,” Josh Ritter’s easy, boyish tenor grows more clenched, as he delivers his sprawling, apocalyptic, this-worldly visions. The nine-minute epic is the centerpiece of Ritter’s fourth album, The Animal Years, released this past spring on V2 Music. It displays many of the singer-songwriter’s most captivating qualities—singular, literate, keenly observant writing and spare, lulling melodies. After a two-album partnership with New England imprint Signature Sounds (Golden Age of Radio and Hello Starling), the Idaho-born artist—who once had his heart set on becoming a neuroscientist like each of his parents—has amassed a respectable international following, fueled by a particularly warm reception to his music in the U.K. New York acoustic soul singer-songwriter Jonah Smith opens. 3rd & Lindsley —JEWLY HIGHT TUESDAY, 1ST RYAN ADAMS & THE CARDINALS Over the past year or so, chameleon troubadour and one-time Nashville resident Ryan Adams has released three albums containing 41 songs—and that’s not counting “When the Stars Go Blue,” his cut on Tim McGraw’s Greatest Hits Vol. 2. (What do the guys on Music Row know about “dancing down on 7th Street?”) The kid releases too many records. So what? It seems he can do whatever he wants, so long as every release continues to contain at least one of his arresting, sly-grin-with-a-tear-in-your-eye-moments. (Arguably, 29—the weakest of the three albums—was worth the price of purchase if just for “Carolina Rain,” the spare, tragic tale of the waitress Caroline, her lover, her husband and the quarry where they hid the body.) And there are moments of old-school barroom exuberance on Jacksonville City Nights—the honky-tonk record—that could only be captured by the man who gave the world Whiskeytown’s Faithless Street. Hey Ryan, we know that Tennessee sucks in the summer, but what have you got that can put us under? ( www.ryan-adams.com ) Ryman Auditorium —LEE STABERT WEDNESDAY, 2ND JUCIFER Geography has little to do with the sound of Athens, Ga., metal-punk duo Jucifer. Having recently signed with metal staple Relapse Records, the band’s sound couldn’t differ more from their hometown’s indie-pop tradition, which spawned everything from R.E.M. to the Elephant Six collective. Similarly, Jucifer on record and Jucifer onstage are two different beasts. While Amber Valentine’s blood-chilling screams and detuned stoner-metal guitar riffs certainly aren’t made for easy listening, there’s a good chance no one will hear comparatively restrained tracks like “Amplifier” from I Name You Destroyer at a Jucifer show. At the very least, the song would be hard to recognize because the sheer volume of the band onstage renders the tunes virtually indiscernible. Ed Livengood plays with a kick drum so large that he uses a normal-sized one as a floor tom, and Valentine plays her guitar through as many as 20 amps. Though the practice seems to be rooted more in performance art than musicality, the sheer spectacle is well worth the aural punishment. ( www.jucifer.com ) The End —MATT SULLIVAN THEATER SHADES OF BLACK THEATRE SHOWCASE Nashville’s African American community-theater organizations have come together for this month-long celebration and networking opportunity, to be held each weekend in August at the Darkhorse Theater. Black theater in Music City has had its share of prominent productions and developed its share of serious artists. But in recent years there has been a consistent grassroots movement to get more bodies involved, onstage and in the audience. Companies like Sista Style and Dream 7 probe both the contemporary and historic African American experience, provide exposure to new and original works, and draw into the mix worthy creative talent. The program kicks off on July 31 with a mixer from 6 to 8 p.m. The plays begin with Candy Robins’ Gorgeous (Aug. 3 to 6), a burlesque-inspired extravaganza of colorful costumes, beautiful showgirls and variety acts, all with the feel of a back-alley speakeasy. Aug. 11 to 13, Dream 7 presents Michael L. Walker’s Pulpits, concerning a young Mississippi pastor who takes on the challenges of ministering at a big-city church. Then, Aug. 19 to 27, Sista Style and Collards & Caviar Productions team up to present Shay Youngblood’s Shakin’ the Mess Out of Misery, a young woman’s coming-of-age story set in the 1920s. The Shades of Black Theatre Showcase will also offer free acting and directing workshops conducted by local luminaries Barry Scott and jeff obafemi carr. For further information on tickets and scheduling, phone (615) 781-3904 or write to shadesofblackshowcase@yahoo.com. —MARTIN BRADY JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT Producer Kaine Riggan and his associates at Donelson Senior Center mount this classic Andrew Lloyd Webber musical based on the biblical tale of Joseph and his coat of many colors. Once again, Riggan has partnered his arts program with business interests like Shoney’s, First Tennessee and Purity Dairy, then invited local community leaders—in this case Odell Binkley and Metro Council candidate Larry Keeton—into the cast. Other performers include big-voiced Holly Whitaker, Mitch Fuller, Joe Watts Jr., Deonte Warren, Tim Larson and some 30 others (including Riggan himself). Musical director Mark Beall conducts the live band. The storied Webber piece—which began life pre-Cats as a cantata, then later took stage form—features a pastiche of musical styles and over-the-top characterizations that have proved highly entertaining to audiences of all ages and backgrounds. The production runs July 28 through Aug. 10; a dinner-theater package is available. Tickets may be purchased at the Donelson Senior Center (108 Donelson Pike), online at www.seniorarts.org or by calling (615) 883-8375. —MARTIN BRADY COMEDY JIM NORTON As Rich on HBO’s Lucky Louie, Jim Norton still lives with his mother and needles his titular friend incessantly. As a regular on XM Radio’s The Opie & Anthony Show, the bug-eyed, baby-faced, vile-tongued commentator responds to detractors with entreaties to “Blow your brains out” or a heartfelt “Slip in a puddle of AIDS!” And as a stand-up comedian, Norton is racist, sexist and ageist, and flaunts his unabashed fondness for, ahem, watersports. The closest thing modern comedy has to an in-his-prime Andrew Dice Clay (minus the swagger and leather), Norton headlines six shows at Zanies Thursday through Saturday, July 27 to 29. Need a little filth to hold you over until then? Visit his website, www.eatabullet.com, to snag his Yellow Discipline and Trinkets I Own Made From Gorilla Hands CDs. —JULIE SEABAUGH ART UNTITLED: “GLOW” The Untitled group’s annual show of black-light, glow-in-the-dark and self-illuminated art is a reliably good time, like browsing at Stone Mountain. This year they’ve added a Human Canvas Art competition for costumes, makeup or tattoos—anyone who wants to become an artistic object of desire. The SNAP photo group will also take part. The Glow show serves as a fundraiser for Untitled; the $5 donation at the door and a portion of sales will go to the nonprofit artist group. Glow takes place 7 to 11 p.m. July 28 at the Bar Car in Cummins Station. —DAVID MADDOX “PICTURE STORIES: A CELEBRATION OF AFRICAN AMERICAN ILLUSTRATORS” The artists spotlighted in this national touring exhibition of works from children’s storybooks have won the most respected prizes in children’s literature, including the Caldecott Medal, the Coretta Scott King Book Award and the John Steptoe Award for new talent. They range from the first generation of black illustrators to work in the storybook genre to the younger artists who have followed. Among those featured are Ashley Bryan, one of the first African Americans to have his work published in the genre; the husband-and-wife team of Leo and Diane Dillon, who describe their collaborative projects as being the work of a third artist; Adjoa Burrows, who creates intricate cut-paper collages; and Bryan Collier, whose layered watercolor paintings look almost like collages. Besides being featured in children’s books, the work of these artists also graces album covers, posters and, in the case of Daniel Minter (known for his vibrantly colored woodblock prints), the U.S. Postal Service Kwanzaa stamp. “Picture Stories” opens with an event for children (and any adults who wish to join them), featuring arts and crafts, refreshments and a preview of the exhibition, 2:30 to 4 p.m. July 30; it remains on view through Sept. 15 in the Main Library’s art gallery. —MICHELLE JONES EVENTS 12SOUTH BLOCK PARTY The 12South neighborhood—12th Avenue South between Wedgewood Avenue and Gale Lane—hosts a block party this Saturday evening, July 29, from 7 to 10 p.m. Among the festivities will be a performance at The Art House by singer-songwriter Heidi Schwartz, who will play songs from her new CD Firefighter; she’ll also be displaying a collection of her paintings, some of them inspired by songs from the album. Other area businesses will also be keeping their doors open late, and a percentage of the proceeds raised during the event will go to the Rape & Sexual Abuse Center. —JACK SILVERMAN TELEVISION INSPECTOR LEWIS This follow-up to the popular Inspector Morse series, featuring Kevin Whately reprising his role as novelist Colin Dexter’s titular detective, is fantastic on many levels. Just off the plane from a two-year stint in the British Virgin Islands, Lewis is older, plumper and obviously weary. He’s investigating the murder of an American college student and the complex relationships of an automobile dynasty. Email, hoodies, flip-flops and even guns seem to have permeated every alley and crevice in Oxford. Lewis confronts both changes and ghosts, particularly that of Inspector Morse (and the late John Thaw), to whom clever allusions and tributes are made throughout the episode. Though fans will find themselves drinking in the familiar measured pace and rich scenery, all the pieces are in place for a stand-alone series. Whately has always done a good job of developing the Lewis character, and now he has another perfect complement in the young, tech-savvy, Cambridge-educated Detective Sgt. James Hathaway, portrayed by Laurence Fox (Gosford Park, Island at War). Inspector Lewis airs on Mystery! at 8 p.m. July 30 on WNPT–Channel 8. —MICHELLE JONES FILM 48 HOUR FILM PROJECT It’s the biggest year yet for this mad, mad, mad, mad contest, in which teams of Nashville filmmakers battle time, the elements and lack of sleep to film and hand in a completed short film in exactly 48 hours. Starting Saturday and continuing through Wednesday, the Belcourt will screen the competition films in two-hour blocks, giving the city a chance to see just what its underappreciated filmmakers can come up with under the gun.  —JIM RIDLEY MIAMI VICE More in line with his heist epic Heat than his cult 1980s TV hit, Michael Mann’s big-screen update plunges Miami detectives Crockett (Colin Farrell) and Tubbs (Jamie Foxx) into cover so deep they need oxygen tanks—especially once Crockett starts romancing a drug kingpin’s wife (Gong Li). The movie opens Friday, so dust off those pastel suits. —JIM RIDLEY PEE-WEE’S BIG ADVENTURE He’s a loner, a rebel—which makes him the perfect hero for the Belcourt’s smash new weekend late-show series. (The packed Evil Dead 2 screening a few weeks ago was the closest I’ve ever felt in Nashville to being in Austin’s awesome Alamo Drafthouse.) The 11:30 show Friday night features a best bicycle contest and tequila specials as well as a magic show by Big Daddy Cool—and everyone who buys advance tickets online gets a free pair of X-Ray glasses! And if you miss out, there’s a repeat show 11:30 p.m. Saturday. So go—and tell ’em Large Marge sent ya. —JIM RIDLEY THE ANT BULLY A picked-on kid learns that an ant’s life is no picnic when he shrinks to a speck and must live among the colony he’s terrorized with his water gun. How’s this for a voice cast: Nicolas Cage, Julia Roberts, Paul Giamatti, Meryl Streep, Lily Tomlin (it’s a Prairie Home Companion reunion!) and Bruce Campbell. It opens its mandibles Friday; see a full review online at www.nashvillescene.com. —JIM RIDLEY SEOUL TRAIN Every month, the Nashville branch of the DFA Film Club shows a film that tackles politically progressive themes: in this month’s selection, filmmakers Lisa Sleeth and Jim Butterworth follow the flight of refugees from North Korea through China to eventual political asylum, via a perilous underground railroad of secret passages and safe houses. The acclaimed doc screens 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Watkins Film School. See www.dfalink. com/filmclub for more information. —JIM RIDLEY


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