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Austin veteran songwriter Smith has a style like Hiatt, Clark


DARDEN SMITH: At Acoustic Sounds.
  • DARDEN SMITH: At Acoustic Sounds.

In a city where singer/songwriters are as common as the rows of acoustic guitars in hock at the pawn shop, Austin, Texas’ Darden Smith has never slowed his work schedule nor lost any of the following that he built through 20 years of performing.

The veteran Smith headlines on Friday, June 23, at the Acoustic Sounds Cafe.

His work history is filled with Americana-style albums in the vein of John Hiatt or Guy Clark, a collaboration with Boo Hewerdine (of the Bible), and a change from Epic to Dualtone records. Smith’s most recent record, “Field of Crows,” was released last year.

Happenstance, the bluegrass trio from Conway led by Dan Clanton, opens at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults and $8 for students and seniors.

Conway’s Gringos and Fayetteville’s Charliehorse have a dual CD release party set for Thursday, June 22, at Sticky Fingerz.

Regular live music fans in Fayetteville definitely know the name Charliehorse, a band whose lineup has expanded from the early days three years ago, when it was basically three guys — Cody Russell, Stacy Liles and Ben Wardlaw basically sitting on the front porch sharing songs and having a good time.

From there, according to Liles, “we started a little scaled-down bluegrass, jam and acoustic trio, playing at Chester’s, before that venue shut down.” From there they picked up a drummer: David Bright (who has played with Randy Crouch), who brought along a New Orleans transplant, guitarist/vocalist Brad Helms.

“Now we have a more honkadelic, plugged-in sound, more structured; we are influenced more by the Band, Lucinda Williams and Steve Earle than anybody,” Liles said.

The group has released a debut CD, “Come Now,” with originals that sound hotter than a two-dollar pistol.

Charliehorse will start the show at 9:30 p.m., and admission is $5.

A word on the Revolution Room, the new kid in the River Market district connected to the restaurant Rumba: We walked through the room for the first time last week, and the best description of the large, open, black room with red detailed decor is “Moulin Rouge” meets “Memoirs of a Geisha” meets “Rent.” In other words, it’s very theatrical, and we’re sure some theatrics will take place there.

Also, there’s a pool table, a cage and the piece de resistance: a velvet swing with black and white patterned curtains behind it.

It should be interesting, juxtaposed against this background, seeing the soul savin’, bona fide hillbilly family Big Smith on Saturday, June 24. They’ll be stomping and picking pure unadulterated Ozark, bluegrass sounds. “Go Away Maggie,” we hope, will be played. The show starts at 9 p.m.

You just can’t deny the fact that there is a HUGE local hip-hop scene here. With that in mind, the “Crunkadelic Megafest” will be at Fatback’s (5107 Warden Road in North Little Rock) on Saturday.

Artists include Big Drew, 9th Scientist, A-State Hustlers, Mad Trucker, Phate, Bware, the Coalition, Epiphany and Conduit Family, Rolondo6Billion, Supa League, DJs g-force and Huntro. The event will be hosted by Arkansas Razormack (you may have read a little about him in David Koon’s feature cover story about grillz in the June 8 issue). Showtime runs from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Admission is $6 for ages 21 and up, $10 for ages 18-20.

And a note that we received from HoodTech productions says that the Coalition was featured in the Feb. 6 issue of “The Source” online magazine’s “Unsigned Hype” feature. See it at www.thesource.com.

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