- COMPASS: Sierra Hull's 2016 release "Weighted Mind" is the prodigy fiddler's third album, but probably her first real statement as a musician. She plays at South on Main 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 6, $17-$25.
7:30 p.m. South on Main. $17-$25.
The phrase "child star" brings to mind a list of unsavory adjectives and associations, for which we can undoubtedly thank Macaulay Culkin and the seemingly endless stream of YouTube clips with captions like "9-year-old shocks all judges!" and "You won't believe it until this kid starts playing!" That said, I'd dare anyone to listen to the mandolin work on Sierra Hull's 2016 release, "Weighted Mind," and apply any of those qualifiers. She'd played the White House and Carnegie Hall by the time she was 16, so her prodigy was undoubtedly well established, but it evidently took a few years for Hull's sense of self to catch up to what her fingers were doing. "She plays the mandolin with a degree of refined elegance and freedom that few have achieved," Bela Fleck says on Hull's website. (He should know; the Grammy-decorated banjoist produced Hull's latest album, and lent his banjo to the task.) "And now her vocals and songwriting have matured to the level of her virtuosity." It was fellow child prodigy Alison Krauss, a mentor of Hull's, who encouraged her to talk with Fleck after Hull became disillusioned with the way the songs slated for "Weighted Mind" sounded when they were recorded. "Sierra did well in music very fast and very young," Krauss said. "Sometimes when that happens, people don't want you to change. It's, 'We know you as this, and now you're scaring us.' " If tunes like the title track and "The In-Between" are Hull's way of scaring us, I'm game for a big fright at South on Main on Thursday night. She experiments with chord structure as if she's a sage jazz player rather than one raised on bluegrass, and there's a mathematical delicacy and complexity between her mandolin and Fleck's banjo that reminds me more of Antonio Vivaldi than it does Bill Monroe.
- SEX, LOVE & PAIN: R&B crooner Tank pays a visit to the Rev Room 9:30 p.m. Friday, April 7, with sets from Rodney Block and Tawanna Campbell and the Onestone Reggae Band, $40-$50.
9:30 p.m. Revolution. $40-$50.
Whether or not you're a fan of R&B crooner Tank, you've got to give him credit for letting you know exactly what you're in for: His August 2010 single was titled, aptly, "Sex Music," and the single's cover traded in the usual shots of Tank's impossibly broad shoulders (note: before music intervened, Tank was headed for a football career) for what appears to be a glass pane obscured by droplets of steam, backlit in red. (Lest his authority on the subject of steam be in question, Tank authored a sex column for Vibe magazine titled "Three Tips to Keep It Steamy in the Bedroom." Spoiler: It involves a reference to Cold Stone Creamery.) The former Ginuwine background vocalist contributed to the score for "Dreamgirls," and produced hits for Jamie Foxx and Jennifer Hudson. He also made waves on BET's Instagram page by responding to rapper Ja Rule's criticism of the network's use of the hashtag #BlackBoyJoy and on his own social media profile by offering an agonized version of his hit "Please Don't Go" — rewritten to beg Barack and Michelle Obama not to leave the White House. Tickets are available on eventbrite.com or at Ugly Mike's Record Shop, 4710 W. 12th St.
'SANDWICHING IN HISTORY' TOUR: DIBRELL HOUSE
Noon. 1500 Spring St. Free.
The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program's "Sandwiching in History" tours give local denizens a peek into buildings of historical or architectural interest, and this one's an oddball. First off, the Dibrell House's myriad, steeply pitched towers and turrets are squarely in the "more is more" camp. There are seven porches, including an ostentatious wraparound on the lower level. A massive clock-tower-like gable announces itself proudly, and the asymmetrical exterior is cluttered with octagons and arches of various sizes. It's bizarro on the inside as well: Evidently, the doctor who co-founded the precursor to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, J.A. Dibrell, had a penchant for all things Machine Age. He and his wife, Lallie Reardon, bought the Queen Anne-style house before it had been completed and outfitted it with walnut woodwork and mosaic parquet floors. Dibrell's love of bells and whistles inspired him to install then-groundbreaking accoutrements like central heating, doorbells and a rudimentary burglar alarm, and the house, now a chief testament to the rich history of the Quapaw Quarter, became known as the "gadget house."
9 p.m. Stickyz Rock 'n' Roll Chicken Shack. $10.
When Local H front man Scott Lucas sings at Stickyz on Saturday night, he'll be doing so on a vocal cord that was popped back into place after a violent mugging he suffered after a show in Moscow in 2013. This should tell us a couple of things: 1. Lucas is a force (and frankly, if I were his mugger, I'd find it a little worrisome that his band's repertoire includes a track called "I Saw What You Did and I Know Who You Are.") 2. Local H did not stop making music after that "Eddie Vedder" song! If that last part is news to you, check out the 2008 album "12 Angry Months," Lucas' calendar-formatted breakup songs; the group's sinister cover of Britney Spears' "Toxic"; and its latest effort, "Hey, Killer," which preceded the return of original drummer Joe Daniels for a handful of shows celebrating the 20th anniversary of the band's 1996 breakout "As Good As Dead." Even if it's been a while, you will probably still know all the words to "Bound for the Floor" (although, if you're like me, you probably got it via some mixtape your friend's cool older brother made but didn't annotate, so you always thought it was called "Copacetic.") They're joined by Recognizer, a rock trio-turned-quartet that made it to the Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase with formidable bass from one of the band's two Mike Mullens. (OK, guitarist/vocalist Mike spells it "Mullins," but still.)
- GUIT WITH IT: "Guit-steel" picker Junior Brown picks at Four Quarter Bar in Argenta, 9 p.m. Saturday, April 8, $25-$30.
9 p.m. Four Quarter Bar, Argenta. $25-$30.
"Old Yeller" is the name of the 1957 Disney film about a boy and his dog in 1860s Texas, and it's the name of Fred Gipson's Newbery Honor-winning book that inspired the film. It's also, though, the name of Junior Brown's first "guit-steel," the idea for which, he told Conan O'Brien, came to him in a dream he had in 1985. "Old Yeller" (as well as its successor, "Big Red") is a hybrid double-neck the country singer invented to allow him to shift quickly between lap steel and lead guitar in the same song. If you've seen any band within the last 10 years that billed itself as "rockabilly," it would likely count Junior Brown among its influences. His style incorporates humor (see: the "Better Call Saul" theme he recorded for the show's Blu-ray reissue) and his sound careens between Western swing and surf, maybe because he grew up loving classic country music in an age where Chubby Checker and The Four Seasons were the rage. His love for honky-tonk in the early 1960s, he confessed on his website, "was like a secret friend I carried around, being careful not to tell anyone (especially girls) about my love for it because I thought they would laugh at me." Fortunately, he hung around long enough for country music to fall back into favor (and out again, and back in), and his red-hot picking style (with red-hot suits to match) has made him an elder statesman at Austin spots like the Continental Club and Broken Spoke. Guit with it, as Junior says, and dig this show at Four Quarter Bar, a place that seems tailor-made for tunes like "Venom Wearin' Denim" and "My Wife Thinks You're Dead."
SATURDAY 4/8-SUNDAY 4/9
BEETHOVEN AND BLUE JEANS
7:30 p.m. Sat., 3 p.m. Sun. Robinson Center. $14-$67.
Classical music desperately wants you to believe it is not stodgy. Orchestras are eschewing the word "classical" altogether in favor of the word "orchestral" or "symphonic," and any symphony outreach coordinator worth his salt probably knows the value of programming a few pop-up concerts, flash mobs or dive-bar takeovers. There's good reason to loosen up a little. A quick Google search for "boot-cut yoga dress pants" returns over 21 million results and the Hawaiian-born "Casual Friday" spread its Dockers-shaped tentacles across the whole workweek long ago. The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra has been doing the dressed-down thing for a while now, although it's as symbolic as it is literal. For this concert, the 400 block between Broadway and Spring streets will be blocked off before the concert for a Beer & Brats Street Party (5:30 p.m. Saturday, 1 p.m. Sunday), featuring edibles, locally brewed beer and music from the Episcopal Collegiate School Steel Band. The program features a Beethoven work appropriate for the ASO's first "Beethoven and Blue Jeans" at Robinson Center since its renovation, "Consecration of the House," originally written to mark the opening of the Josefstadt Theatre in Vienna. Following that is a gateway drug of a violin concerto, Max Bruch's "Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor." It was Bruch's "Like a Virgin" — so popular during its day that the composer could hardly stand to hear it by the time he died in 1920. Finally, there's Sibelius' "Symphony No. 2," famously inspired by a trip to Italy that Sibelius took after receiving a letter from Baron Axel Carpelan that began with the following words: "You have been sitting at home for quite a while, Mr. Sibelius, it is high time for you to travel. You will spend the late autumn and the winter in Italy, a country where one learns cantabile, balance and harmony, plasticity and symmetry of lines, a country where everything is beautiful — even the ugly." Oh, and this concert marks the beginning of the ASO's participation in Orchestras Feeding America, an initiative to collect food from concert patrons for use in hunger relief programs — Arkansas Foodbank, in this case. For a pair of free tickets for an upcoming ASO concert bring 12 or more items from the following list: peanut butter, cereal, 100 percent juice, canned soup, canned fruit or vegetables, boxed meals, or canned meat, fish or poultry.
- 'THE INVISIBLE WAR:' Lt. Elle Helmer pauses at the Vietnam War Memorial in Cinedigm/Docurama's investigative documentary about rape among the ranks of the U.S. military, to be screened at the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 11, free admission.
'THE INVISIBLE WAR'
6:30 p.m. MacArthur Museum of Military History. Free.
In May 2013, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) introduced a bill to address sexual assault and rape in the military, specifically to change the rules to allow a sexual assault victim to report to a JAG prosecutor rather than requiring that report to be filed with the soldier's own commanding officer, and to prevent commanders from being able to overturn a verdict after it was rendered. She and her colleagues — U.S. Reps. Niki Tsongas and Jackie Speier and Sens. Claire McCaskill and Barbara Boxer — were inspired to take action, she said, by "The Invisible War," the Peabody and Emmy award-winning expose on rape culture in the military screened at this session of "Movies at MacArthur." Its impact was intense and immediate. Two days after Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta saw the film, he handed down a directive that required sexual assault cases to be handled at the rank of colonel or higher. "There are some works of writing or painting, speech or film that do more than just stand as great works of art," Jonathan Hahn said of the film, writing for Los Angeles Review of Books. "They change things. They put before us something fundamentally wrong with the world — with the society we take for granted, with the institutions on which we depend and that in turn depend on us — and demand change."
6:30 p.m. Electric Ghost Screen Printing. $25.
If you or anyone in your household subscribes to a home and garden magazine of any kind, chances are it has featured succulents on the cover sometime in the last year. The waxy, sometimes fractal-patterned plants are So Hot Right Now. The "plant lab" tine of Electric Ghost's mission (the SoMa minimalists also do home decor and custom screen printing) is throwing a pot-your-own party. The event poster notes that Electric Ghost will serve "wine, lavender lemonade, hot tea bar and snax," and your $25 ticket gets you a primer on succulents, a plant to pot and take home and instructions for how not to kill it when you get there.
- Joshua Asante
- EVEN THE WISE: Amasa Hines plays this Wednesday's "Sessions" concert at South on Main, curated this month by guitarist Judson Spillyards, 8 p.m., $10.
8 p.m. South on Main. $10.
This five-piece has given us a hypnotic set of songs recorded live on Audiotree, a handful of sweaty, inspiring live shows and "All the World There Is," nine tracks of fluid interplay that probably satisfy some scientifically established standard for neural pleasure and stimulation — the way The Police's "Synchronicity" or Miles Davis' "Kind of Blue" does. Saxophonist and keyboard player Norman Williamson and guitarist Judson Spillyards (and auxiliary trumpeter Walter Henderson, when he's sitting in) paint with bold, sparse brushstrokes, and the engine room (bassist Ryan Hitt and drummer Josh Spillyards) seems ever-conscious of leaving enough space in the groove to let it breathe. The result is buoyant and rollicking, a sound that's earthy enough to loosen the hips and shoulders but malleable enough to allow for the ethereal wax and wane of guitarist/vocalist Joshua Asante's odes and warnings. This show is part of the venue's "Sessions" series, curated in April by Amasa Hines (and Funkanites) guitarist Judson Spillyards.