- SYKES: On tour.
A big slice of Memphis music will be served up Friday, March 3, at the White Water Tavern with headliners Keith Sykes and Jimmy Davis and duo Jed and Kelley on their self-proclaimed “World Tour of I-40.”
Sykes has been a big mover and shaker in Memphis, hooking up with various artists (for example, John Prine, the Judds, Jimmy Buffet) to write songs/perform with/produce for them. (For Parrotheads: Sykes was the co-writer of your anthem, “Volcano.”)
It’s fun Americana, with some serious talent involved. For fans, it’s probably up in the air whether it would be more enjoyable to sit back and watch or get up close and personal with the stage area. Some recognizable Sykes albums are “The Way That I Feel,” “I’m Not Strange, I’m Just Like You,” “It Don’t Hurt to Flirt” (our personal favorite), “Advanced Medication for the Blues,” and most recently, “All I Know.”
Jimmy Davis is known for his work with his rock band the Junction and has also been a big hoo-ha in the Mid-South area. Some may remember the song “Kick the Wall,” which was featured on MTV in the 1980s.
Taking Junction guitarist Tommy Burroughs with him to form the Riverbluff Clan, Davis expanded his repertoire to country and bluegrass-inspired rock and released the albums “One Night in a Month of Sundays” and “Two Quarts Low.” Now taking the solo route, Davis is spending time in the studio for his next album, “Campfire Songs.”
Jed and Kelley, an acoustic country duo who’ve been compared to Buddy and Julie Miller and whom Sykes produced, will open. “Lose to Win” is Jed and Kelley’s latest album.
Admission to the 9 p.m. show is $12.
Waldo native Shelly Shuffield does modern folk/roots with an old-time feel, and will be at Conway’s Advent Arts and Acoustics Cafe on Friday, March 3. She is a storytelling songwriter, and her lyrics in her new CD, “Something in the Water,” contain references ranging from Depression-era Bible-thumping Arkansas to the more modern images of her current home, the free-spirited town of Durango, Colo.
Adam Hambrick, an award-winning local acoustic performer who is popular with the college crowd, will open at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $6 for adults and $3 for children under 12. Free child care is available. Advent Arts, at 900 Farris Road, is non-smoking and alcohol-free. For more information, call 501-450-3416.
Always the consummate performer, Wes Jeans is so much fun to watch and skilled at blues guitar work. His shows are always solid and satisfactory, with Jeans getting high marks in showmanship. Jeans will be at Cajun’s Wharf on Thursday, March 2, starting at 8:30 p.m.
We love Jeans’ originals, done in perfect 12-bar Texas style, but we also love his covers of great blues legends, especially his take on Muddy Waters’ “Champagne and Reefer.” He takes his place among the current power players like Anthony Gomes, Eric Sardinas and Chris Duarte (one of his mentors). Admission is $5 for the 8 p.m. show.
We don’t know if this is pure coincidence, but Jeans’ mentor and fellow guitar power player Chris Duarte will be at Sticky Fingerz the same evening, Thursday, March 2. Duarte is on tour in support of his album “Romp” on Rounder records. Admission is $7 for the 9:30 p.m. show.
If you like the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, you’ll like Rebirth Brass Band from New Orleans, playing Saturday, March 4, at Sticky Fingerz. They’re just as down and dirty, mixing modern music into a traditional New Orleans-style brass band format. Admission for the 9:30 p.m. show (no opening act) is $8. It’ll be tons of fun.
Who knows what lurks behind the mask, but the lunatic guitar shredder and macabre rock and funk player known as Buckethead will be at Juanita’s Cantina Ballroom on Tuesday, March 7. He’s a curiosity, and will not compromise his own-stage persona, but he’s played nice enough to work with Bootsy Collins and Bill Laswell, as well as getting a brief stint with Guns ’N’ Roses from 2004-2005. His latest album under the group name Buckethead and Friends was 2005’s “Enter the Chicken.”
“An Evening with Buckethead” starts at 9 p.m. and is open to ages 18 and up. Admission is $15.
Saaraba, the New Orleans ska, rocksteady and jazz group, comes through town to play a late-late show at Midtown Billiards on Friday, March 3. Saaraba, which is as much funky as it is groovy, offers a great reason to stay up past the usual bedtime (they’ll start 12:30 a.m.-ish).
Saaraba has two albums: a self-titled release, and its latest, “Nudivinity.” Admission is $3 for members. Memberships are available at the door for $5.
The perfectly matched jazz/blues/R& B duo Brenda and Ellis, the 1999 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase winner, will be featured Friday, March 3, in a non-smoking performance at the Afterthought. The 8 p.m. show has a cover charge of $5.