GUITAR SHORTY: Not short on talent.
Headstands, backbends and other physical stage antics and gimmickry may get people talking about Guitar Shorty’s show, but make no mistake: the 65-year-old Shorty (born David Kearney in 1939) is a giant in a creative pool of guitar players and blues artists.
Guitar Shorty appears at Sticky Fingerz on Thursday, Dec. 16. Heber Springs-bred blues woman Charlotte Taylor and her band, Gypsy Rain, will open the show at 9 p.m. Admission is $7.
Shorty toured with Ray Charles right out of high school, then with Guitar Slim in New Orleans, then with Sam Cooke, and in later years worked with other blues royalty such as Willie Dixon, Otis Rush, Little Milton, Buddy Guy and B.B. King, playing from Houston to Kissimmee, Fla., to New Orleans to Seattle to L.A.
He took on the role of mentor when he married Marcia Hendrix, Jimi Hendrix’s stepsister. He claims of the young Jimi: “Oh yeah, Jimi would come and watch me play, going AWOL from his army unit. He tried to copy all the back flips and all, but he was too pretty. He set his guitar on fire instead, ’cause he was going to hurt himself.”
Shorty won a W.C. Handy award in 1991 for his album “My Way or the Highway” (an accolade much overdue, some say). Although he and Marcia are no longer together, he says he hasn’t given completely up on love, asking us to “inform all the good-looking ladies that Guitar Shorty will be there for them,” presumably meaning the show at Sticky Fingerz.
Not stopping for breath from his latest release, “Watch Your Back,” Shorty is writing and working on his next album on Alligator Records.
If you’re looking for something other than blues on Thursday, Nashville, Tenn.-based acoustic stomp and bluegrass hybrid rock band Bonepony performs at 9 p.m. at Juanita’s Cantina Ballroom. Admission for ages 18 and up is $6. The trio’s latest album is “Jubilee.”
For fans of ska and reggae, Saaraba is a band from New Orleans that offers funkified doses of both, combined with world music enriched with horns and congas. Saaraba will be at Cornerstone Deli and Pub in North Little Rock at 10 p.m. Friday, Dec. 17. Admission is $5.
“Nudivinity,” released this year, is CD No. 2 for the band. Saaraba has headlined in many of the top spots in New Orleans, including Tipitina’s and the Howlin’ Wolf, as well as playing shows from Colorado to Florida. Saaraba’s was formed through a series of parties in an abandoned New Orleans convenience store in the summer of 2002. The group consists of Danny Marks (guitar, vocals), Boyanna Trayanova (drums), Joshua Scalf (saxophone), Luke Hudleston (trombone) and newest member Josh Riley (bass).
Check out more about the band or hear some of its MP3s at www.saaraba.com.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the river, Juice, another popular New Orleans-based jam and R&B funk band, will be playing at Sticky Fingerz. Opening for Juice will be Variations in the Key of Funk at 9:30 p.m. Admission is $7.
Pop and dance-tune cover band Superflux, led by the vivacious and talented former Teen America Cara Hays, plays diversified offerings from their expansive set list — everything from Smash Mouth to Sophie B Hawkins to Donna Summer — at Cajun‘s Wharf on Friday, Dec. 17. Originally, Superflux was scheduled for Saturday, but switched places with Blues DeVille, who will now appear for Saturday’s show.
Admission to either show is $5 and the music starts at about 9 p.m.
The Under the Ground hip-hop entities break it down at Vino’s Brewpub at 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 18, where MCs will battle. The lineup will include performances by Phonographics, Juggernaut Glitch, 607, JG, Oddball, Scatterbrains, Grim, Muzik, A-State Hustlerz, DJESUN, Dirtbag and MC Truth Universal from New Orleans.
The all-ages show costs $5.
Little introduction is needed for Sonny Burgess, the Newport native who was part of the huge rockabilly explosion of the ’50s with fellow Sun Records recording artists like Elvis Presley and Billy Lee Riley (just to name a few). Burgess appears with his band, the Pacers (boasting on its website of being around 49 years and still rocking), on Saturday, Dec. 18, at Juanita’s. Admission to the 9:30 p.m. show is $8.
Brooklyn-based jazz, metal and hardcore band Candiria’s latest album, “What Doesn’t Kill You,” is appropriately named in recognition of the group’s nearly fatal wreck involving an 18-wheeler in 2002 that left bandmembers for a while in critical condition.
All have recovered from their injuries, with this highly emotional CD effort in tow. The Sunday, Dec. 19, show at Vino’s Brewpub will include appearances by Epoch of Unlight and Temper Effect. The show starts at 6 p.m. and admission is $10.
Uptown Tavern in the Riverdale Shopping Center has confirmed its upcoming show with Black Oak Arkansas. Jim “Dandy” Mangrum and the veteran crew of BOA will play the tavern on Friday, Dec. 17, with local act Third Degree kicking things off at 8 p.m. Tickets are on sale now for $20 in advance or $25 the day of show. To purchase tickets or for more information, call 801-1080.