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CHARTS hosts Blues Trifecta

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THURSDAY 9/21

'HATTIE CARAWAY'S LONG SHADOW: WOMEN IN THE U.S. SENATE'

7 p.m. Ron Robinson Theater. Free.

Hattie Wyatt Caraway could not vote for her husband, Thaddeus, when he ran for office in the 1912 election to the U.S. House of Representatives; women's suffrage wasn't codified until 1920. I imagine, though, that Thaddeus did have her support when he ran for Senate in 1921, seeing as how Hattie was reported to have said that — after women were given the right to vote — she "just added voting to cooking and sewing and other household duties." Ten years later, Thaddeus died in office and, as was the custom of the time, Hattie was appointed to temporarily take her husband's place. In January 1932, Hattie easily won a special election to fill the seat for the rest of the term, officially making Hattie the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate. Most Arkansas politicians thought that she would simply step aside at the end of what had been her husband's term, but she surprised folks by declaring, "The time has passed when a woman should be placed in a position and kept there only while someone else is being groomed for the job." Backed by populist former governor and U.S. Sen. Huey Long of Louisiana (whose efforts to limit the incomes of the wealthy and increase aid to the poor Hattie had supported), Hattie went on to win the general election in November, amassing nearly twice as many votes as her nearest opponent. For the second annual Betsey Wright Distinguished Lecture, sponsored by the Central Arkansas Library System's Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, historian emeritus of the U.S. Senate Dr. Donald A. Ritchie will discuss the influence of women on Capitol Hill since Arkansas voters elected Hattie Caraway 85 years ago. Ritchie will be introduced by former Sen. Blanche Lincoln, the most recent woman to represent Arkansas in Congress. HS

BENTONIA BLUES: Jimmy "Duck" Holmes performs at UA Pulaski Tech's "Blues Trifecta," to feature a presentation by blues archivist Dick Waterman and a screening of "Two Trains Runnin,'" directed by Sam Pollard and narrated by Common. - JD LAWRENCE
  • JD Lawrence
  • BENTONIA BLUES: Jimmy "Duck" Holmes performs at UA Pulaski Tech's "Blues Trifecta," to feature a presentation by blues archivist Dick Waterman and a screening of "Two Trains Runnin,'" directed by Sam Pollard and narrated by Common.

THURSDAY 9/21

BLUES TRIFECTA

7 p.m. Center for Humanities and Arts (CHARTS), UA Pulaski Technical College, 3000 W. Scenic Drive. $25-$50.

The haunting, open-tuning style Skip James used on "Hard Time Killin' Floor Blues" made him the icon he is to so many musicians in and around the blues idiom — well, eventually, anyway. Unfortunately for him and maybe for us, James' artistic upswing came at the onset of the Great Depression, not exactly a fortuitous time to burst onto the scene and an even worse time to be making music that reminded people of how hard times were instead of helping them escape from it. As a result, tunes like "Killin' Floor" languished in relative obscurity while "Get Happy" and "Oodles of Noodles" flourished. James stopped recording and got a job in his dad's church, and his music wouldn't be appreciated much until the 1960s, when folk musical traditions became hip again. This event at Pulaski Tech is an exploration of that blues revival, and of the ways in which the lives of so-called "Bentonia bluesmen" like James and Jimmy "Duck" Holmes intersected with archivists like Alan Lomax and Richard "Dick" Waterman, thrusting rural Mississippi blues to the forefront of American musical consciousness. Holmes himself will perform and Waterman — the guy who essentially discovered Bonnie Raitt and "rediscovered" Son House — will speak and show off some of his photo collection. Then, "Two Trains Runnin' " will screen. Hip hop artist Common narrates the film, a part-animated, part newsreel depiction of the summer of 1964 in Mississippi, when Waterman and a fellow journalist drove South to try and find yet another largely forgotten bluesman, Son House. If blues history is your thing, this is a must. If it's not your thing, it may very well be after you catch Sam Pollard's film, a view of the voting rights struggle framed by two unrelated and parallel searches for obscure musicians. Tickets are at uaptc.edu/charts. SS

CHRISTINE LANG
  • Christine Lang

THURSDAY 9/21

ANDREW YORK

7:30 p.m. The Joint Theater and Coffeehouse. $25.

Next to the standard sublinks at the top of acoustic guitar virtuosos Andrew York's website — "store, press, gallery, videos" — there's a tempting one: "math." In a series of essays under that subheading, York discusses the finer points of topics like logarithmic spirals and binary switch functions, introducing one dispatch with the line: "Back in the old programming days, my favorite line of code was 'if-then.' If some condition is met, then do something specific: incredibly useful for making things happen exactly when you want them to happen." That obsession with logic and predetermination is not only at the core of York's success as a guitarist, but also as a conductor, painter and longtime member of the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, which he left in 2006 to pursue his solo projects. He favors an 1888 Antonio de Torres guitar, which he seems to know well enough by feel that he plays mostly with eyes closed, only occasionally checking in with where his hands are on the 130-year-old fretboard. Check out his suite "The Equations of Beauty," each movement of which is named after a mathematical constant. As that programming principle dictates: If you — like York's fans all over the world — find it rapturous, then you know where to be Thursday night. Find tickets at argentaartsacousticmusic.com or at centralarkansastickets.com. SS

QUARTETTSATZ: The Arianna String Quartet kicks off the Chamber Music Society of Little Rock's season with a concert of works from Janacek, Beethoven and Schubert. - JUSTIN LEE
  • Justin Lee
  • QUARTETTSATZ: The Arianna String Quartet kicks off the Chamber Music Society of Little Rock's season with a concert of works from Janacek, Beethoven and Schubert.

THURSDAY 9/21

ARIANNA STRING QUARTET

7:30 p.m. St. Mark's Episcopal Church, 1000 N. Mississippi St. $25.

The Arianna String Quartet — pretty much rock stars of the St. Louis classical scene — released a recording of Beethoven's "middle period" quartets earlier this month, and maybe that alone lets you know what sort of repertoire they like to tackle. Beethoven's "String Quartet No. 8 in E minor," for example, is the centerpiece of this concert, brought to us courtesy of the Chamber Music Society of Little Rock. It's a product of the composer's commissioned works for Count Razumovsky, the Russian ambassador to Vienna, and, boy, was Beethoven in a mood. He wrote dramatically and hyperbolically, ripping off the Band-Aid from his early quartets' marriage to a slightly safer "chamber" sensibility, evoking large-as-life emotions and requiring a ridiculous degree of investment from players: so much investment, in fact, that when a violin player sought suggestions from Beethoven for fingerings for the composer's "Quartet in F Major, Op. 59, No. 1," Beethoven is said to have replied, "Oh, they are not for you, but for a later age!" (Sick burn, Beethoven.) The Arianna Quartet takes on that pathos and divinity for this concert, as well as Franz Schubert's 1820 "Quartetsattz" — the first of a set that he later abandoned. They open with Leos Janacek's "Intimate Letters," a quartet inspired by a 67-year-old Janacek's infatuation with a married woman 37 years younger named Kamila Stosslova, to whom he wrote over 700 passionate love letters: "Your good heart, the impetuousness of your feeling, your appearance, which fascinates me, your whole naturalness — with all this you dazzle me, captivate me!" Tickets are available at chambermusiclr.com. SS

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THURSDAY 9/21

SECRET SISTERS

8 p.m. South on Main. $25-$34.

What could be more classic country than a meteoric rise, a few mind-blowing years at a zenith, and a catastrophic fall that has our protagonists pondering cleaning houses as the most logical next step? Only the stealing of a truck, I suppose, the loss of a dog, and the burning of a trailer. Luckily, the last three things didn't happen to the Muscle Shoals, Ala., duo The Secret Sisters, but the first three most certainly did. Americana singing and songwriting sisters Laura and Lydia Rogers — who've been compared to the likes of The Everly Brothers — burst on to the country scene in 2010, when, following an impromptu audition at the Hotel Indigo in Nashville, the girls sang so impressively together (something they hadn't really considered pursuing for real before, even though they'd been harmonizing a cappella at their hometown church), they were flown out to Los Angeles and were assigned to Universal Republic Records. It was Laura's first time in an airplane, and their retro aesthetic pervaded the production of their eponymous debut album, which was recorded with classic analog equipment, using vintage microphones and classic recording techniques — down to the same type of tape that would have been used 50 years earlier. The album peaked at No. 27 on the Country chart, and the girls went on to have a song featured on the soundtrack from the movie "The Hunger Games" and to tour with Nobel Prize-winning Bob Dylan. But when Republic Universal dropped them in 2015, they ended up purging their team and filing for bankruptcy. Lucky for us, the Sisters couldn't shake their love for music and, with the help of Grammy-nominated Americana and folk rock singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile, released "You Don't Own Me Anymore," their third CD — and the first as New West signees. Their soulful, gospel grooves will have you praising the redemption process. HS

THE CHEF: Rapper and Wu-Tang Clan member Raekwon performs at Revolution Friday night. - SHERIF MOKBEL
  • Sherif Mokbel
  • THE CHEF: Rapper and Wu-Tang Clan member Raekwon performs at Revolution Friday night.

FRIDAY 9/22

RAEKWON

9 p.m. Rev Room. $20-$25.

"It's Raekwon." That's how I would convince most people to go to this show. In case that one name, though, like Madonna or Prince or Beyoncé, does not immediately bring sensory joy to your spine, let's go down memory lane. This is Raekwon, a.k.a. the Chef, the linchpin of the Wu-Tang Clan; the author of "Only Built 4 Cuban Linx ... Part II," one of the best rap albums — wait, no! — one of the best albums (period) of the last 20 years, and the writer of modern Greek epic sagas so smoothly said that you can play them at parties. Yes, with a new album, "The Wild," Raekwon at age 47 is still innovative and listenable and moving. Or, as my colleague said in reference to this show, "Raekwon. OMG Raekwon." So, yeah: You should go. He's a living legend, and he's coming to Little Rock. If it's been awhile and you need to get reacquainted with Raekwon, "The Wild" is not a bad place to start. It's the first of his eight solo albums not to include a member of the Wu-Tang clan. You can hear some of the maturity, and a bit of the anguish, of growing older and growing apart. The stand out is "Marvin" — which tells the life story of Marvin Gaye, who was shot by his own father — and speaks to the problems of love and music, and how fame mixes up close relationships. "Success in the palm of his hand/But unfortunate, the fame wasn't enough/He wanted more out of life," Raekwon says early in the song of Gaye. That, by itself, is pretty great. But then he repeats the use of the word "palm," when Gaye's father shoots him. "But the hatred is too strong," he says of Gaye's father, "revolver in his palm." With that the theme of filicide and the knotty concepts of jealousy and love that come with it are brought to the modern from the historic. Moreover, he drills it all down just one moment: Who gets to hold power (whether gun or fame)? And is anyone happier for it? This heightened moment brings to light more common occurrences for musicians dealing with success and love. "Mar-vin," CeeLo Green soars during the outro, and from a whisper almost behind the rest of the music you can hear someone say, "It's the sound of the music." JR

THE FAMILY MANN: Grammy winner Tamela Mann and family bring a gospel performance to Second Baptist Church Saturday evening.
  • THE FAMILY MANN: Grammy winner Tamela Mann and family bring a gospel performance to Second Baptist Church Saturday evening.

SATURDAY 9/23

TAMELA & DAVID MANN

7 p.m. Second Baptist Church, 1709 Barrow Road. $25-$75.

In the world of new gospel music, Tamela Mann is queen, and she's had a whopper of a year. The singer, a staple of Tyler Perry movies since she took on the role of Cora Simmons in Perry's 2000 play, "I Can Do Bad All By Myself," Mann walked out of the 2017 Stellar Gospel Awards with six titles in hand, including one for Artist of the Year. Her vocal range is insane — or divinely bestowed, depending on who you ask — and she uses every bit of it in songs like "Take Me to the King" and "God Provides," for which she scored a 2017 Grammy Award for Best Performance/Gospel Song. She joins her longtime business partner and husband, David, for a full concert at Second Baptist. Her performance is preceded by a comedy set from David and music from two of the couple's children, Tia Mann and DJ David Mann Jr. Tickets are available at kingdomtickets.com. SS

BIG-HAT ACT: Dylan Earl celebrates his record release at White Water Tavern.
  • BIG-HAT ACT: Dylan Earl celebrates his record release at White Water Tavern.

SATURDAY 9/23

DYLAN EARL: RECORD RELEASE SHOW

9 p.m. White Water Tavern.

Is Dylan Earl trying to be nostalgic? On the cover of his new album, "New Country to Be," Earl wears a white cowboy hat and a mullet. He's got a mustache, a five o'clock shadow, and is wearing a burnt-orange collared shirt with elaborate gold-flecked designs on each side of the front. He looks like a '70s version of one of country's big hat acts. In the bottom left-hand corner of the cover it reads: STEREO. Is this ironic? As you ask that, you put the record on and ... "I toooook off," he almost speaks. It's the first noise you hear on the opening track, "My Failing Life," and as the drums and guitar kick into a slight gallop he goes down to grab the end of couplet, "I'm bound foooorrr the borddderrr." Guitars slide, the drum moves in sedated, precise rhythms and the piano glides lazily; we're in the pocket. By the time Earl hits the word "town," lilting it and wobbling his voice, it is sealed: This is not a joke. This is no false appeal to country roots to subvert them. The man from Fayetteville has brought forward the classic country sound, of crooning and sorrow — of a man looking down the bar at everyone else and wondering who he is — without modernizing it and without trying to give a sense of revival. Here is just a great country record that could've been released in 1988 or 2017. I am convinced: Earl's voice was too perfectly fitted for the Nashville of the past — too close to the greats like Dwight Yoakham and George Strait — to do anything but double down. The album release show should have a hefty amount of new stuff that deserves to be danced to in a slow, swaying motion. He'll be joined by The Phlegms (rock/punk with a great song called "Parasitic Sack of Sperm") and Willi Carlisle (folk singer). JR


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