by Robert Bell
TALES FROM THE SOUTH: SHANNON WURST
5 p.m. dinner, 7 p.m. performance. Starving Artist Cafe. $9.
OK, full disclosure upfront: I've known Shannon Wurst for many years now. Back when I met her, she was my friend Jessica's sassy, whip-smart little sister who liked to play acoustic guitar on the Fayetteville square. Her repertoire included several Jewel covers, if I recall correctly.
She's still funny and sharp (and still Jessica's sister), but her songbook has grown considerably, and as an artist, so has she. Wurst has released four albums of originals and cover tunes, highlighted by deft playing and her crystal clear, sweet voice.
She's played all over the country, including notable folk music stages such as Kerrville, where she was a New Folk Finalist in 2009; she was a semi-finalist on A Prairie Home Companion's People in Their Twenties Talent Show in 2007; and she won a 2011 Arkansas Governor's Arts Award for folk music, among other accolades. This will be an excellent venue for her to showcase her songs and storyteller's charm.
Also performing will be Tales from the South vets The Salty Dogs and Mark Simpson.