OLD SCHOOL BLUEGRASS BAND.
Area clubs are kicking it this weekend, especially Juanita’s Cantina Ballroom, which has an awesome lineup over four consecutive days. Here’s a peek:
The much-beloved family-friendly bluegrass act Old School Bluegrass Band helps Acoustic Sounds Cafe celebrate its 11th anniversary on Friday, Jan. 14.
The plucky Arkansas-based foursome played a somewhat somber gig last year around this time as a tribute to friend, collaborator and celebrated artist/cartoonist George Fisher, who passed away on Dec. 15, 2003.
This should be a happier tribute, as the group unveils a new CD, “It’s the Old School Bluegrass Band, by George!” featuring some of Fisher’s appearances with the band.
Bill Nesbitt, mandolinist of the group, said the new album “consists of basically three elements. First, there are a half-dozen snippets of George Fisher speaking and singing when he appeared with us a few years ago at Acoustic Sounds Cafe. He explains some little-known facts about folk music, sings some, jokes around some and keeps the crowd entertained. Second, we include some of the songs George talks about in his segments, like ‘Froggy Went a Courtin’ ’ and ‘Prisoner’s Song,’ as well as some songs George used to sing himself, like ‘The Fox,’ ‘Turnip Greens,’ ‘Down in the Arkansas.’ Third, there are a bunch of other bluegrass and folk songs that George asked us to do a lot, such as ‘You Are My Flower,’ ‘Whiskey Before Breakfast,’ ‘Dim Lights, Thick Smoke and Loud, Loud Music’ and ‘Foggy Mountain Top.’ ” Nesbitt added, “We think it has been a very nice project, and something George would have been proud of. We all miss him very much. He was the OSBB’s greatest friend and benefactor.”
Admission is $8 for adults and $7 for students. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. with Smokey Mountain guitar-fiddle duo Jeff Barbra and Sarah Pirkle.
If you don’t get your fill of bluegrass at the Old School show, hike it down to Juanita’s the same evening. Friday’s presentation of the less-traditional, maniacal speed ’grass Split Lip Rayfield starts a terrific four-day music sprint. Split Lip Rayfield’s members play their acoustic instruments like the Carter Family set on fire.
Take special notice of the pieced-together gas-tank one-string bass with a percussive pick-up. This should give you an indication of the genre-crossing appeal: The group has shared the stage with Nashville Pussy, Reverend Horton Heat and Drive By Truckers.
The show starts at 10 p.m. with Little Rock’s Runaway Planet and Fayetteville’s Wildwood opening. Admission is $6.
Juanita’s continues the great music on Saturday, Jan. 15, with rocker Dan Dyer (who was discovered by Lenny Kravitz) out promoting his new album on Roxie Records (Kravitz’ label), “…On What Lies Beneath.” Support will be provided by Adam Hambrick and Jim Ranger starting at 9:30 p.m. Admission is $7.
Modern rock rules at Juanita’s for an early, all-ages Sunday show Jan. 16, headlined by Future Leaders of the World. Dallas-based Edgewater opens at 6:30 p.m. Advance tickets (at the venue or online at www.juanitas.com) are $10, or get them at the door for $12.
Incorporating funk, R&B, rap, garage-rock and street-folk, Philadelphia’s G. Love (vocalist, harp player and guitarist) and backup players Jeffrey Clemens (drums) and Jimi Prescott (bass) appear Monday, Jan. 17, at Juanita’s. G. Love’s latest album, “The Hustler,” is an adult-minded gem, with the prurient single “Booty Call.”
This show is likely to sell out. Advance tickets (at the venue or online) are $20. If any are available at the door, they’re $22.
Up-and-coming guitarist/songwriter Kaki King opens for Mr. Love and company at 8:30 p.m.
The Sugar Free Allstars, from Norman, Okla., will tap it twice in the city this week. The funky rock group with its Hammond B-3 organ, sax and drums consists of multi-instrumentalist Chris Wiser (who formerly made the Hosty Duo a trio) and drummer Rob Martin. Think Captain and Tennille in platform shoes meet Southern hair-rock balladeers and the Muppets’ Dr. Teeth.
The Sticky Fingerz show on Thursday, Jan. 13, starts at 9:30 p.m. with openers Six Hung Sprung from Fayetteville. Admission is $5.
The Allstars return for a Saturday, Jan. 15, late-night show (actually starting at 12:30 a.m. or thereabouts Sunday) at downtown private club Midtown Billiards. Memberships are available at the door.
Also at Sticky Fingerz: Yard Squad Reggae spreads One Love via St. Louis on Friday, Jan. 14, with special guest DJ Ras Levi, who runs the local One Love Productions and annually schedules a summer Bob Marley Tribute in North Little Rock. Things get started at 9:30 p.m., and admission is $7 … Saddle up for the real country deal twice with Arkadelphia-native Greg Gardner and VooDoo Cowboy on Saturday, Jan. 15, and Austin, Texas, honky-tonkers Micky and the Motorcars on Tuesday, Jan. 18. Both shows start at 9:30 p.m., and admission is $5.
An impressive lineup of young Little Rock talent is donating its services for an all-ages performance at Vino’s Brewpub on Sunday, Jan. 16, to benefit Arkansas Children’s Hospital. Sugar and the Raw, American Princes, School Boy Humor, Little Yellow Box, PM Today and the Contingencies are on the bill. A $7 donation gets you into the show, which starts at 2 p.m.