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Alt-country BR549 has your number

Andy Tanas relocates to Memphis, plans White Water show.


  • SCHNEIDERMEN: At Juanita's.

The band’s name will invoke memories among those of us who watched “Hee Haw” on early Saturday evenings. BR549 takes its name from the phone number used by the goofy “Hee Haw” character Junior Sample in a weekly skit. But the honky-tonk group has made a name for itself in the Nashville music scene for many years, too, with its rock take on classic country.

BR549 will appear at Sticky Fingerz on Friday, Feb. 17.

The group has garnered several Grammy Award nominations during its career. It’s also gone through a lineup change in recent years. The original quintet has slimmed down to four members: singer-guitarist Chuck Mead, multi-instrumentalist Don Herron, drummer vocalist Shaw Wilson and new bassist Mark Miller. They’ve also put out a new album on the Dualtone label, “Dog Days,” which was recorded in Athens, Ga., and produced by John Keane (R.E.M., Indigo Girls, Uncle Tupelo, Cowboy Junkies). The album is as fun and as raucous as BR549’s past offerings, but with a different twist: It features a bluegrass breakdown, a bluesy number and a protest song, as well as rambunctious alt-country selections.

BR549 is currently touring with the Avett Brothers, who will open at 9 p.m. Admission is $12.

After years working on the Orange County, Calif.-music scene, bassist Andy Tanas returned to his roots of Memphis, and that puts him in good proximity to do a few shows in Arkansas this month and next. The first date is at the White Water Tavern on Saturday, Feb. 18.

The charismatic and enigmatic Tanas has played with Black Oak Arkansas and the hard-rock Swiss band Krokus. Most recently we caught his acoustic set at the Nightflying 25th Anniversary Party in December at Juanita’s. “Song From the New South” is his most recent album with guest artists Cody Dickinson (North Mississippi Allstars) on drums and Bryan Ward (Bonepony) on mandolin. It’s rock, country and Southern gothic storytelling in the style of an outlaw.

Admission is $5. Tanas also will appear at a couple of Hot Springs clubs, playing Mojo’s on Feb. 25 and the Big Chill March 1.

The funk-rock group Joe Rockhead is fondly remembered by some music fans, as is the soul-rock outfit the Ugly Americans and its follow-up incarnation, the Scabs. Though all those bands are no more, their engaging front man, Bob Schneider of Austin, Texas, is still touring relentlessly, now with the Bob Schneider Group.

Schneider, bringing his band to Juanita’s on Thursday, Feb. 16, is on guitar and vocals with Jeff Plankenhorn on guitar and vocals, Bruce Hughes on bass and vocals, Rafael Gayol on drums and Derek Morris on keys. The music is no holds barred with the genre-shifting Schneider leading the way –- he can morph into rock, crooning, country do-si-dos and rap singer in a kaleidoscope-like show.

“I’m Good Now” is his latest album, featuring the single “Come on Baby,” on the indie Vanguard label. Admission for the 18-and-up show is $12 and showtime is 9 p.m.

Memphis jazz-blues saxophonist Herman Green will be featured in the Monday Jazz Project show at the Afterthought on Feb. 20.

Green’s been around jazz and blues circles for decades and earned his chops working with such legends as John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Dinah Washington, not to mention being an major part of Lionel Hampton’s band for eight years. Green also was involved with the experimental jazz movement founded in San Francisco known as West Coast Jazz. On the blues side, he’s played with B.B. King and was the wailing tenor sax in Rufus Thomas’ Sun recording “Bearcat” — the answer song to Big Mama Thornton’s “Hound Dog,” (which inspired a lawsuit over copyright infringement).

He’s got his own recordings, too, such as “Who IS Herman Green?” and “Inspiration: Family and Friends.” To top off his resume, he’s head of Jazz Studies at Lemoyne-Owen College in Memphis.

Providing accompaniment as “The Green Machine” are Ted Ludwig on guitar and Dave Rogers on percussion. The music starts at 8:30 p.m. Admission is $10.

Max Recordings’ Sugar and the Raw always bring a party with it. It will be at Sticky Fingerz on Saturday, Feb. 18, along with the Applescruffs, which open at 9:30 p.m. Admission is $6.

For those of you who love singer-songwriting and pared-down acoustic-styled music, Merlefest finalist Stayton Bonner will also be at Sticky’s on Wednesday, Feb. 22. Bonner placed No. 2 out of 350 competitors in 2004 at Merlefest.

“Think I’m Gonna Move to Australia” is his latest album. He’ll start at 9 p.m. and admission is $5.

Get the beat on, mon, with One Stone reggae band at Juanita’s on Friday, Feb. 17. The show starts at 10 p.m. Admission is $10.

We doubt Starkz needs the publicity, since the Fort Smith band’s shows here are always sold out, but the group will be at Juanita’s on Saturday, Feb. 18, along with 13X and Dallas-based hard-rock band Exit 380. Admission for all ages is $9.

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