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WEDNESDAY 11.27

Bellglide / Filmschool -- The Bellglide crew recently sent a nice little four-song live EP that shows the band continuing to improve as a live act, nicely balancing vocalist Slappy's high moan with a bubbling rhythm section. The sound could perhaps use a bit more grease on occasion, but the meat is there. Filmschool, the new project of Mike Mitschele and pals Grainger Gilbert, Gary Guthrie, and Jeff Williams, are said to be in the more lo-fi, song-centric vein. I personally haven't heard them, so I can't say anything about them other than they can all play their instruments real well and it sounds cool. Double Door Inn (Davis)

Dave Rhames & The Westchesters -- "Southern Fried Rock-n-Roll, Country Style" is how Rhames describes his music, and he's pretty much nailed it. Hints of Tompall Glaser, Kristofferson, and Bocephus share the stage with Skynyrd and David Allan Coe. Mostly, it just sounds like Rhames: whiskey-strong, homey, and a little rough around the edges, with just enough danger mixed in with the balladry to keep you on your toes. With compatriots Eric Lovell and David Childers. Fat City (Davis)

FRIDAY 11.29

Baleen -- The boys in Baleen have been driving themselves crazy the last few months, playing everywhere from New Orleans to Jacksonville, FL to Philadelphia, along with plenty of good old-fashioned North Carolina sight-seeing. The band will be debuting new songs tonight, and, on the one-year anniversary of their last offering Soundtrack to a Normal Life, are currently back in the studio working on a new LP. With Ashley Robinson. The Evening Muse (Davis)

Leisure McCorkle -- The dapper Leisure, loaded with a flashy smile and a shiny head, has a knack for twisting melodic tunes with clean guitar riffs and harmony filled backup vocals. Visually and aurally the late Urge Overkill comes to mind, but Leisure and company opt for a more pop sound. The band has a sort of over the top live show that may give the notion they're trying to hide slack music, but that's not the case as the catchy new record, Jet Set Baby (released on local label MoRisen records), showcases. Opening for Blue Dogs. Visulite Theatre (Shukla)

SATURDAY 11.30

Abe Reid & The Spikedrivers -- Abe and his Spikedrivers (still one of the best band names around) play their blues/rock/reggae authentic Piedmont style, and his stint with the (in)famous Blue Rags provides the necessary boho slant. For a young fellow, Abe's seen a lot, and it all goes into the music, from his chicken-fried pickin' to his warm mahogany yawp. George Washington Bookstore & Tavern, Concord (Davis)

Billy Joe Shaver -- The old-school country music trailblazer has penned tunes for numerous comrades and has released his own records steadily despite remaining an odd man out in the business. Big time fame has eluded Shaver but that hasn't stopped him from writing simple yet potent tunes racking up honky tonk lyrics and an old West feel. It's served him well and now he's cut loose again with a new album, Freedom's Child, which has songs obviously honed by that grim day in September. He can play country rock, down in the dumps tearjerkers and all around honky-tonk drinkin' songs. Cheers. Neighborhood Theatre (Shukla)

Chris Robinson & New Earth Mud -- Ah, springtime in Paris. Never been there, but the appeal is universal, right? Now we've got the Black Crowes' lead singer gone solo and releasing a set of tunes recorded this spring in Paris. Dubbed New Earth Mud, the record is even mellower than some of the Crowes' ballads, with a decidedly more acoustic sound, cleaner vocals and a groove-oriented feel. With cuts like "Untangle My Mind," "Barefoot by the Cherry Tree" and "Sunday Sound," you can tell he's replaced the pungent homegrown from the backwoods of Georgia with a blanket on a lawn sipping French vintage. Tremont Music Hall (Shukla)

Jem Crossland & The Hypertonics -- Crossland wasn't born on American soil, but he does a fine job of synthesizing this country's early music history: namely, folks like Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, and Bill Haley. While Haley had "His Comets," Crossland boasts the capable Hypertonics, comprised of John Marlow on drums and Charlotte music vet Chipps Baker on saxophone and bass. Indeed, Crossland is able to look at this country's roots music as only an outside eye can: clearly, affectionately, and with an uncanny purity that comes from always having been exposed to the good stuff. Puckett's Farm Equipment (Davis)

WEDNESDAY 12.4

Sassagrass -- It's a family tradition. This quaint, old-timey outfit out of Boone plays warm bluegrass born and raised right here in sunny North Carolina. There's a front porch family sing-along feel about it and the sound seems to blow down the foothills like a cool breeze on a sizzling summer day. When traditional music such as bluegrass is handed down generations, as with the members of Sassagrass, it sounds the sweetest. Mojo Restaurant & Spirits (Shukla)

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