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WEDNESDAY 9.15
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band -- John McEuen was not an "original" member, but has led the Nitty Gritty Dirt band for the past three dozen years. The group was a catalyst for folk and country rock, and later influenced Americana musicians. They've even had some light-rock hits, but the band has never strayed too far from country and bluegrass. Their career kick-started with the hit "Mr. Bojangles," and they were likely the first rock band to make headway in Nashville. The band's signature trilogy, Will The Circle Be Unbroken, is a virtual historical study of American music. Neighborhood Theatre (Shukla)

THURSDAY 9.16
Clifton/The Sammies -- Two of Charlotte's newest and brightest bands make for a nice contrast here. Headliner Clifton gets the early-Elvis Costello-meets-early-REM comparison, and recently won a national competition to open for Michelle Branch, Los Lobos, and LIVE. / The Sammies have impressed nearly everyone who's seen their MC5/Mooney Suzuki-like live gig. Entertaining, to be sure, but wait 'til you hear the record: Amazing. Joey Auch opens. Visulite (Schacht)

Leftover Salmon -- Must be something in the water this year, as 2004 is turning into the Year of the Ph/Fish-related jam-band retirements. This crew has decided to pull the plugs -- whether permanently or temporarily is still up in the air -- after a 15-year haul. For these Colorado-based self-professed "Polyethnic Cajun Slamgrass" proponents, the familiar "on hiatus" status awaits. Neighborhood Theatre (Schacht)

Rock Songwriter Night -- Another nice lineup here, even if I'm not so sure that the artists attending -- Two Dollar Pistols frontman John Howie Jr., The Houston Brothers' Matt Faircloth, and Blake Rainey -- are all that much rock & roll. Not to worry. The songwriting part is very much taken care of, with John Howie's booming basso profundo -- able to buckle a female knee at 50 paces -- being perhaps the best-known draw. The Evening Muse (Davis)

FRIDAY 9.17
Alternative Champs -- What'll it be this time, gents? Goth night? White Strokers? The Burning Men bobsled team? Maybe some Baba Ganoush on the menu? Who will call in and harass them? Who will get up on stage and make an ass of themselves? Who will spin the Wheel of Alcohol, and who will buy them all expensive shots? You will. The Room (Schacht)

Damnwells -- This Brooklyn quartet taps into an early Soul Asylum/Replacements vibe on parts of their debut, the aptly titled Bastards of the Beat. At other times the band veers off into more sugary pop territory with predictable results, but this is clearly a group with a bright future -- the direction they go in will determine what "bright" actually entails. Local roots man CR Edwards opens, billed with the "Hard Times Two," presumably prospective members of the elusive Hard Times Family. Tremont Music Hall (Schacht)

Martin Stephenson/Steve Forbert -- Stephenson returns to Carolina from his home in the Scottish highlands with a new record, Airdrie, in tow. Having explored the Carolina roots' scene at the invitation of local impresario Dolph Ramseur (captured on 2003's The Haint of the Budded Rose), Stephenson's new one is a full-band affair adding a little more "oomph" to the proceedings./Forbert's Just Like There's Nothing To It, is his first set of originals since 2000, and includes an ode to the Band's recently deceased Rick Danko, "Wild As the Wind." Nothing much new here, but Forbert fans should be pleased -- they usually are. The Evening Muse (Schacht)

Reverend Horton Heat -- The Rev and his posse add just the right amount of punk sneer to classic rockabilly in their scorching version of psychobilly. For more information on this show, turn to this issue's See & Do section. Visulite Theatre (Shukla)

Sixtoo -- Sixtoo has a great new album out on the (great, not so new) label Ninja Tune, entitled Chewing on Glass & Other Miracle Cures. Filled with equal parts John Cage and DJ Shadow, it should please both DJ and avant-garde fans equally (to that end, one song on the new record, "Storm Clouds & Silver Linings," even features a star turn by Damo Suzuki of Can fame). One of those shows that doesn't make its way to Charlotte very often, in other words. With DJ Signify, Blockhead, Dominant 7, and DJ Slate. The Room (Davis)

A Wake For Dede: A Tribute to Dede Davis -- A tribute show for a model music fan, Diana "Dede" Davis, this show features three Raleigh-area acts -- the Connells, George Huntley, and Street Green -- who well knew the dearly departed. Davis was a huge Connells fan, logging some 120 shows with the band. The love was mutual -- the band will play many of Davis' favorite songs tonight, culled from all corners of the band's deep catalog. Visulite Theatre (Davis)

SATURDAY 9.18
The Blind Dates -- An unofficial "going away" party for Penny Craver, the soon-to-be-former owner of Tremont Music Hall, this show features her old band The Blind Dates, Jeff Williams' "one-time-only" Lodestar reunion, old school Charlotte faves Big Brick Building, Snagglepuss, and more (including an all-female Ramones cover band, The Ramonas). Tremont Music Hall (Davis)

Kenny Roby / Tres Chicas -- Roby, fresh out of Charlotte's Cougar Camp studios, might be the most underrated figure in Carolinas alt.country (whatever that is). He'll be joined by Cougar Camp don Justin Faircloth, as well as his Triangle friends Tres Chicas, a heavenly trio consisting of Caitlin Cary (Whiskeytown, a burgeoning solo career), Tonya Lamm (Hazeldine), and Lynn Blakey (Glory Fountain). Both these artists played last week's Spread Your Wings benefit, so if you missed them then (for shame!), here's another chance. With Valorie Miller (opening the 8pm Chicas Show). The Evening Muse (Davis)

MONDAY 9.20
Jon Dee Graham -- This is a rare Monday show at the Muse, but a visit from one of Americana's unsung heroes is well worth turning the lights up for. A member of Alejandro Escovedo's iconic 80s rockers, the True Believers, Graham writes poignant songs that pack a literal and figurative punch, nowhere more so than on his excellent new record, The Great Battle. Picture a cross between X's John Doe (with whom Graham collaborated on Meet John Doe) and Charlotte's David Childers and you've got a strong approximation of the Jon Dee Graham sound -- in other words, well worth your attendance. The Evening Muse (Schacht)

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