by John Tarpley
10 p.m., White Water Tavern.
How does one become, well, not only an alt-country singer but something like an underground twang-punk cult figure? For Austin Lucas, it's a long, strange road that starts in Bloomington, Ind., shining at choral music and, of all things, classical opera at the prestigious Jacobs School of Music. All of this before moving to punk and hardcore as a young teen-ager, then moving, literally, to Prague to play crust punk and thrash metal. While Lucas may have traded in doom-and-gloom lyrics for some verbose whiskey-and-nostalgia free-verse poetry, he's held on to his guitar stylings, ferociously shaking and abusing the poor thing to impressive effect. This show marks a stop on a grueling schedule to release not one, but two, albums this Wednesday at White Water Tavern: the first, a special, early debut for "A New Home in the Old World," which doesn't hit stores until April 4; the other, a CD release of Lucas' installment in Last Chance Records' "Live From the White Water Tavern" series, previously only available on vinyl.
Also playing: Drag the River, the Fort Collins band with a big, dedicated following in the smokier corners of Little Rock's bar scene.
Check it out: "There's Always Someone Tougher and Meaner" (live at the Suburban Home Records warehouse)