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Music Menu


Folkin' Vote! -- This voter registration event features a host of local musicians (David Childers, Jeff Williams, John Morris, Michael Reno Harrell and many more) putting their politics where their mouths and music are. Apparently, they call it Democracy. For more information, go to our See & Do section this week. The Evening Muse (Schacht)

Tift Merritt -- The Lost Highway songstress has a new one out, Tambourine. See our story in this issue. Visulite (Davis)

Peter Carp & The Roadshow -- A heavy mix of blues, rock and roots, Carp and road crew light a much-needed fire in the belly of a too often by-the-numbers genre. A spin of Carp's latest, The Turning Point, makes it apparent that they're not kidding around -- just in case the presence of Sticky Fingers-era Rolling Stones lead guitarist Mick Taylor on a few tracks didn't suggest as much. The Evening Muse (Schacht)

Starclimber -- This Charlotte quartet has its sights set on radio fame. And there's nothing wrong with that if you are able to deliver the goods packaged in a contemporary power-pop mode. The band's Brit-pop pleases eardrums with melodic vocals and a "crank it up" feel. Their 5-song, self-titled EP doesn't really have a weak track on it, proving the fact that the band's self-promoting moniker does carry weight. With LFE and Ultralush. Neighborhood Theatre (Shukla)

Flogging Molly -- The torchbearers for the Pogues and maybe even the Dropkick Murphys, these cats are nothing short of extraordinary when it comes to blasting searing Irish/Celtic punk. Their new record, Within a Mile of Home, should be out by the time you read this. See our story in this issue. Tremont Music Hall (Shukla)

Jeff Black -- Shades of Springsteen-honed sensibilities are scattered all over Black's music and especially on the sparse, yet refreshing production of his last recording, B-Sides and Confessions, Volume One. Black's country music is lightly brushed with rock and infused with evocative writing. This Kansas City born singer/songwriter isn't afraid to use the piano to add layers of emotion. The music is subtly somber but Black avoids overt emotions to croon about those pesky yearnings. The Evening Muse (Davis)

Jimmy Thackery -- Thack's shows are much like the meat-and-potatoes, bring-your-lunch-pail, hang-your-hat-at-the-door kind that his former band, DC's The Nighthawks, have become so beloved for. There's not a lot of orgasmic grimacing when bending strings, or any of the things that, for some people (and, sadly, many touring artists), define the blues. In their place? Honest axmanship, sturdy songwriting, and a belief that toes tapping is a better indicator of a bluesman's worth than fret board tapping will ever be. Double Door Inn (Davis)

Shadowflag CD Release -- The trio (Matt Olin on keyboards, Ben Jackson on guitar and Jason Manes on drums) has been fine-tuning their sound playing assorted local venues. Now they're apparently ready to release their debut. The band members gelled after performing together as the rock band that backs up Hedwig in the local theater production of the rock & roll musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch. The Room (Shukla)

The Commitments -- If you've seen the movie The Commitments, then you know these guys. Actually, no you don't. Only about three or four of the original cast members are here, but the hard-touring outfit is still said to be a rock-solid soul revue, and with fulltime backup singers, keys, guitar, bass, drums and horns, how can you go wrong. Granted, it's not "crucial" -- at least in the punk sense of the word -- but it might be a nice accompaniment to the brews and barbecued meat they'll be serving. Call it soul on rice. Blues, Brews and BBQs Stage, Shout Festival. Gateway Village (Davis)

Dave Alvin and the Guilty Men -- The ex-Blaster returns with his Americana blend of country, blues and rock. See our story in this issue. Visulite. (Shukla)

Sam Bush -- By now, you probably know the Sam Bush story: Newgrass mandolinist extraordinaire, expert sideman, and, along with David Grisman, perhaps the best mandolinist in popular music today. His newest, King of My World, is exactly that: a solo self-portrait of a man who has mastered his music to the level that he only takes on projects that excite him. Not that it excited me so much, necessarily, but the album is a solid enough Newgrass listen, and a must for mando fans. Neighborhood Theatre (Davis)

Snagglepuss -- Now in their fifth year, this Charlotte institution is all about the fun. Fun with the music, fun with the crowd, fun with Hope Nicholls' hair. All the while the band has honed their rambunctious stage show and musical meld of new wave, punk, jazz, soul and rock to a fine crystalline point of ... well, fun. As much cabaret as rock show, the Puss believes music and entertainment are not mutually exclusive -- in other words, quit moping, you emo wussies. It's over the top on occasion, but kudos to them for trying. The Room (Schacht)

Willy Porter -- The former viola player switched to guitar after hearing Leo Kottke, and hasn't looked back since his 1990 self-released debut. Porter's played the major label game, even chalking up an AAA hit with "Angry Words." His latest, 2003's High Wire Live, was produced by Ben Wisch (Marc Cohen, Patty Larkin). Porter shifts between slide blues, folk and soulful pop with ease, and without any influence predominating -- even if you wish one would on occasion. The Evening Muse (Schacht)

Converge -- Relentlessly challenging and commandeering the ideologies of the metal/hard core community over the past 10+ years, Converge once again plunges fearlessly into unsuspecting waters with their 4th full length, You Fail Me. Carefully executed, complex, brutal and chaotic yet beautiful song arrangements support engaging and powerful lyrics -- revealing the sheer brilliance behind the mayhem of these seasoned veterans. Tremont Music Hall (Lydia Marlon)

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