- Courtney Pittman
- BALLADS FOR THE BARROOM: Carson McHone (above) and Kevin Kerby (right) share a bill at the White Water Tavern Thursday night.
- Chad Cochran
CARSON MCHONE, KEVIN KERBY
9 p.m. White Water Tavern.
Maybe it's the good genes, but Carson McHone is compared most often to other young, beautiful contemporaries — Amanda Shires and Elizabeth Cook, for example. One listen to anything the Austin native's performed in the last year, though, connects her more with the music of an earlier — and maybe less trendy — set of peers. Dwight Yoakam's cadence and yodel-like tendencies seem to emerge from the lines in McHone's clever exercise in denial, "Maybe They're Just Really Good Friends," and McHone's Nashville-born lament "Sweet Magnolia" is delivered with a warm, unbroken delivery a la Kathy Mattea or Patty Loveless. In short, McHone seems to have fiercely resisted the path of the pure country traditionalist, opting for restrained, intimate confessionals like "How 'Bout It" and "Only Lovers" that represent a collective sort of B-side to McHone's duet with Ray Wylie Hubbard, "Chick Singer Badass Rockin.' " She's joined by Kevin Kerby, the unofficial official Poet Laureate of Pulaski County, frontman for barroom country-rock outfit Mulehead and a perfect example of someone who, like McHone, understands that the visceral immediacy of a song is always more important than how it gets packaged. SS
- Brian Chilson
- Andrew Morgan
OR, JOSHUA ASANTE, COUNTRY FLORIST
9 p.m. Capitol View Studio.
This is a hell of an all-ages show and a perfect time to check out the sleek Capitol View Studio tucked away at 120 Cross St. and the work they do with the Arkansas Music & Arts Foundation. There's Or, a new project from Jack Lloyd and Everett Hagen; the multihyphenate solo work of Joshua Asante (Amasa Hines, Velvet Kente); and Country Florist (Andrew Morgan of Chinese Girls and Ettiem), whose disco-infused "Waveland," a collection of 11 superbly layered tracks recorded on a Yamaha MT4X, was released on Drawing Room Records in October. For a dance primer, find Country Florist's "Landfall," a sampler of "Outtakes, roughed up jams, and notes to self," the release notes, adding, "Tear along the perforations and pour some boxwine. Set yr glass down before you get down." Speaking of wine, there will be some for sale for those of age. Beer, too. SS
- Arkansas Chamber Singers
FRIDAY 12/15-SUNDAY 12/17, TUESDAY 12/19
A CHAMBER SINGERS CHRISTMAS
7 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 3 p.m. Sun., Old State House Museum. 7 p.m. Tue., St. Luke's Episcopal Church, 4106 John F. Kennedy Boulevard, NLR. Free-$15.
Some of the most beautiful (and oddball) sacred music committed to paper has been done for the season of Advent. Note, for example, the many settings of the traditional English carol "Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day," a strange and sprightly little boogie that depicts Christ's life in first person: "In a manger laid, and wrapped I was/So very poor, this was my chance/Between an ox and a silly poor ass/To call my true love to my dance," or the folk verse tale of Good King Wenceslas, an admonition as truth bomb-y today as it was when it was written in 1853: 'Therefore, Christian men, be sure/Wealth or rank possessing/Ye, who now will bless the poor/Shall yourselves find blessing." When we checked in with the Arkansas Chamber Singers ahead of this concert, they had the two aforementioned pieces on the set list, as well as three of the loveliest takes on "Ave Maria" you've never heard: one by Felix Mendelssohn with a marvelous tenor solo; another from living Welsh composer Karl Jenkins, and a sonorous motet block from Robert Parsons, a 16th century composer whose sudden death by drowning cut short a career that very well could have made him a household choral name like, say, that of near-contemporary Thomas Tallis. This concert from the angelic, polished voices of the Chamber Singers ensemble promises to be part rollicking, part meditative and to give you a chance to hear some otherworldly (see: Ola Gjeilo) and seriously undersung Christmas repertoire. Admission to the performances at the Old State House is free; the Tuesday performance at St. Luke's will set you back $15. SS
- Meikel Church
THIRD FRIDAY ARGENTA ART WALK, 'MAKE IT MERRY'
5-8 p.m., downtown North Little Rock. Free.
The spirit is moving over in North Little Rock's artsy Argenta. The monthly Friday night celebration of art features more things to do than you can squeeze into three hours, so decide: Will you go to the Argenta Holiday Showcase at the Argenta Branch Library at 420 Main, where the diverse art of nine artists — Michael Shaeffer, Lynn Frost, Sulac, Vincent Griffin, Brianna Peterson, Michael Castellano, Phillip Huddleston, Heather Canterbury and Meikel Church — will be shown? Then to "Make It Merry" at the Innovation Hub, where for $10 (kids) or $15 (adults) you can make holiday gifts in the studios for screen-printing, printmaking, laser, 3D printing and more? (Some activities are free.) Or will you do the Art Walk to see impressionist Barry Thomas demonstrating his painting skills (711 Main St.), detour to 600 N. Olive to Ruth Pasquine Fine Art Studio to see her Buddhist-themed paintings, head back to Main to check out University of Central Arkansas professor and printmaker Jessie Hornbrook's show "My Social Insecurity" and knitted creations by Mindy Lucas at Mugs Cafe (515 Main St.)? The art walk path leads on, to Jake Jackson's work at the NLR Heritage Center (506 Main St.); "Best of the South" at Greg Thompson Fine Art (429 Main St.); "VI Machina" by David Murphree at studioMAIN and "Permanent Waves," work by Spencer Puritan, at Argenta Gallery (both at 413 Main St.); and "Path to Enlightenment" at Core Brewery (411 Main St.). House of Art's "Poets be like ..." doesn't start until 9 p.m., but doors open at 8 p.m., and you'll be glad to rest up for the spoken word, comedy and music event ($10). LNP
- Brian Nahlen
SOUNDS OF UNITY: BRIAN NAHLEN
7 p.m. Unity Church, 2610 Reservoir Road, Little Rock. $10 suggested donation.
Here's a new acoustic cafe series from duo Justin Patterson and Laura Lynn Danley, a pair of longtime regulars at songwriters' circles who just released their sweetly harmonic self-titled debut, "Ten Penny Gypsy," produced by Anthony Crawford, a seasoned former sideman to Vince Gill and Neil Young. Their set is paired this month with some tunes from featured baritone Brian Nahlen, a fellow Central Arkansas Music Awards nominee (visit arktimes.com/cama for more on that) whose 2016 album "Cicada Moon" ranges from melancholy ballad ("Holdin' On") to a Zeppelin-esque pep talk ("Sing Out Loud") to anthemic post-apocalyptic comfort ("A Song for the End of the World"). SS
- Royce West
- Corbin Pitts, John Michael Murphy, Ben Grimes, Grace Pitts, Annie McCurdy, Sagan Kinetic, Laura Grimes and Bella Insalaco as The Cratchit Family
FRIDAY 12/15-SATURDAY 12/23
'A CHRISTMAS CAROL'
Argenta Community Theater. 8 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 2 p.m. Sun., 7 p.m. Tue.-Thu. $25-$30.
Memory can be unkind to art, erasing the nuance we felt from a book or poem when we first read it or, worse, supplanting the depth of the original work with a hazy, bland pastiche of remakes we half-remember. So, when Argenta Community Theater decided to reimagine "A Christmas Carol," playwright Judy Goss went straight back to the source, reading Charles Dickens' 1843 novella for the first time. She knew, she told us, "the story's power: Scrooge gets a chance to rectify past wrongs, release self-imposed misery and mend broken relationships." However, she remembered it "as a grim tale which plays upon Scrooge's guilt and pity for the crippled Tiny Tim." A fresh read revealed humor and compassion. "Suspense never lags, vivid characters abound," Goss said, "and irresistible joy emerges from impending doom." With a new narrator's vantage point (no spoilers) and music from fiddler Charlie Friedman, the revised classic will be performed at the ACT through Christmas Eve Eve. Find tickets at argentacommunitytheater.org. SS
SATURDAY 12/16-SUNDAY 12/17
WINTER SOULSTICE VI: FOR THE LOVE OF OTIS
9 p.m. Sat., 7 p.m. Sun. White Water Tavern.
It was this week in 1967 that Otis Redding's plane crashed into icy Lake Monona only 4 miles away from the Madison, Wis., airport, just as the soul singer was poised to steer the previously dominant Motown sound Staxward. Redding packed an emotional wallop with each word, coaxing an immediacy from utterances like "fa, fa, fa, fa, fa, fa, fa, fa, fa, fa," elevating the nonsensical to something more akin to keening. And, with the Funkanites, Joshua Asante and DJ Baldego at the helm for two nights straight, this is probably your best bet to commune with the otherworldly Otis without help from DMT. SS
- Dazz & Brie
AMY WINEHOUSE TRIBUTE
9:30 p.m. Revolution. $15-$20.
Rock 'n' roll loves an outlaw, and Amy Winehouse's personal life — pouring pints at The Hawley Arms, getting into fights, picking at her towering bouffant, struggling with addiction privately and publicly — threatened to overshadow her music. Here to remind us is Julia Morgan Struthers as Winehouse, with a killer opening act: Dazz & Brie and The Emotionalz. SS
- Tim Anthony
ARKANSAS PUBLIC POLICY PANEL HOLIDAY FUNDRAISER
5 p.m. Mosaic Templars Cultural Center. $25.
One thing about our local political climate is clear: the Arkansas Public Policy Panel will have their plates full for the foreseeable future. "Putting the public back in public policy since 1963," the organization's website reads, the Public Policy Panel coordinates the Arkansas Citizens First Congress, an advocacy group that mobilizes when, say, the Arkansas legislature threatens to pass policy adversely affecting LGBTQ rights, water quality or funding for early childhood education. If that rings your bell and you're looking to find out more, spend your Saturday happy hour over at Mosaic Templars with the panel, a silent auction, open bar, live music from Tim Anthony & Afrodesia and food from Lost Forty, The Pantry, The Root and more. SS
- University of Arkansas at Fayetteville
- SEC FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK: Star forward Daniel Gafford and the Arkansas Razorbacks men's basketball team take on the Troy University Trojans at Verizon Arena Saturday night.
ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS VS. TROY TROJANS
7 p.m. Verizon Arena. $25.
Neutral ground might have disappeared altogether from the political landscape, but there are still a few corners of it in the sports world, at least technically speaking. Coach Mike Anderson, star freshman forward Daniel Gafford — an El Dorado native who's been averaging over 12 points a game — and the rest of the Razorbacks men's basketball team face off against the Troy University Trojans at Verizon Arena on Saturday. The Trojans, sitting at 5-5 overall, land at Verizon Arena after two consecutive losses, to the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles and to the University of Alabama at Birmingham's Blazers. SS
- "WHAT MORE CAN I BE?": Cindy Wilson of The B-52s performs at Stickyz Saturday night in support of her solo album on Kill Rock Stars, "Change."
9 p.m. Stickyz Rock 'n' Roll Chicken Shack. $20.
Kids' birthday parties aren't exactly known for breaking new musical ground, but maybe that's different when the blonde from The B-52s is your mom? Cindy Wilson, best known for her time partnering with Kate Pierson and Fred Schneider on party tunes like "Rock Lobster" and "Loveshack," met the bandmates who played on her full-length solo debut "Change" for the Kill Rock Stars label — Ryan Monahan and Lemuel Hayes — when they were playing in what Wilson told the Lenny Letter was "a really fantastic Beatles cover band," one she hired (and rehired) for her son's birthday shindig. Wilson spent most of her time with the B-52s shimmying and shouting. On "Change," she coos. The beat is still there, often a Tom Tom Club-ish bounce, with Wilson's voice whispering above it: "All over the world, all over the world, people are asking, "What more can I be?" SS
'OUT OF SIGHT'
7 p.m. Riverdale 10 Cinema. $8.50.Elmore Leonard's novels have long been the source of film adaptations. In fact, there hasn't been a decade since the '50s that didn't feature some adaptation of a Leonard work. The author, who died in 2013, wrote over 30 novels, several of which were winningly adapted for the screen — "3:10 to Yuma" in 1957 and a remake in 2007, "Get Shorty" in 1995 and the FX television series "Justified." Steven Soderbergh is as prolific a filmmaker as Leonard was a novelist. There isn't a job on a film set he hasn't done, often working under assumed names for different roles, and since 1985 he's amassed more than 40 credits as a director alone. Soderbergh's adaptation of "Out of Sight" (1998), said to best capture the style and tone of Leonard's writing, is next up in the Arkansas Times Film Series, screened Tuesday in partnership with Film Quotes Film and Riverdale 10 Cinema. The script, by "Get Shorty" scribe Scott Frank, is snappy and funny, the cinematography is stylish, and it's the first pairing between the director and actor George Clooney, who would go on work together on the series of "Ocean's Eleven" movies and a remake of Andrei Tarkovsky's "Solaris." Clooney plays Jack Foley, a career bank robber who tries (and fails) to go straight, and who is being hunted by U.S. Marshal Karen Frisco (Jennifer Lopez). Roger Ebert said of the pairing, "These two have the kind of unforced fun in their scenes together that reminds you of Bogart and Bacall." Of course there's a "meet cute" that takes place in the trunk of a car, and we later get one of the best love scenes committed to film, even though Soderbergh admits he stole it from Nicolas Roeg's 1973 film "Don't Look Now." The film also features a cameo from Michael Keaton, reprising the role of detective Ray Nicolette from Quentin Tarantino's "Jackie Brown." OJ