Some professional musicians (such as myself) who make the club, bar and restaurant scenes must working in groups. If the instrument we play (in my case, drums) is not the sort that lends itself easily to solo recitals or background music gigs, we’ve got to align ourselves with cats who can either play melodic instruments, or who can carry a tune. However, there are plenty of folks who are quite capable of either fronting a band, or holding a crowd’s attention on an acoustic guitar or a keyboard.
Chuck Courtenay is one such fellow. He gigs regularly as a solo act offering well-known country, pop and rock favorites, but can also be found playing in tandem with either Bucky Bryant or his own brother Jason. Yet, when the money’s right and schedules align, he’s got an ace backing band made up of some of the area’s more experienced veteran players. For this gig at a venue with one of the largest stages and nicest PA systems in town, he’ll be joined by guitarist G.E. Perry, bassist Tim Burke, keyboardist Hank Miller and drummer Jesse Jordan for a late night of roadhouse covers. Better yet, it’s free to get in. Thurs., 10 pm, Wild Wing Café.
The Bernie Kenerson Group
This S.C.-based EWI player (Electronic Wind Instrument) and his acclaimed jazz fusion combo made their local debut a couple of months back at this same subterranean nightspot. Touring behind a debut indie CD, they offer funky, instrumental takes on both standards and original compositions that center around his versatile and unique horn synth, which allows Kenerson to create virtually any sound or tone he wants with just breath and inspiration. Fri., 9 pm, Jazz’d Tapas Bar.
Every once in a while, an unusually talented artist passes through town with little fanfare or pre-show publicity. Often, when this occurs, it’s owing to the fact that they’ve never made a dent into this market before. It may be their first serious road outing, or they’re great at what they do, but don’t have the acumen, budget or mind-set required to solicit media attention as they perhaps should. As a result, they usually get sadly overlooked — lost in the shuffle.
This Texas-based singer-songwriter is a perfect example of someone whose work deserves more attention than it will likely get at this dodgy MLK, Jr. bar that’s known more for amateurish metal and pop-punk acts. She’s currently on a 50-state tour in memory of her late brother, a Lt. Col. in the U.S. military who passed away in 2006 while serving in Iraq (half of any profits from the tour go into a memorial fund for his four kids). “He died in the name of this country, so I’d like him to be remembered in every state in this country,” Kruger has said, and while that is certainly the hook to draw those who know nothing of her work, her tantalizing talent as a post-modern alt.country songstress in the mold of Rilo Kiley, Lucinda Williams and Patty Griffin shines brightly, and should win over plenty of new converts who make the trek.
Named Dallas’ Best Female Vocalist in 2006, her latest CD won the Independent Music Award for Americana Album of the Year. With any sort of meaningful promotion on the part of this venue, Kruger’s appearance would have made for a lengthy, interesting and —likely— touching feature all sorts of folks could relate to. As it is, by the time I stumbled upon this gig on my own, I barely had this much space in our publication in which to sing Kruger’s praises. She’ll be accompanied by a guitarist/banjoist and a drummer. Listen and learn more at: www.kristykruger.com. There’s a $10 suggested donation. Sat., 8 pm, Guitar Bar.
The Sapphire Bullets
A rare public gig (and a free one, at that) by this well-known local 13-piece R & B show band boasting a full horn section, and a setlist filled with danceable tunes from the Stax, Motown, James Brown, Chicago and Tower of Power catalogs, plus more. Mon., 8 pm, Wild Wing Café.
This buzzworthy Asheville, N.C.-based group has a wildly entertaining sound which at times seems to nod to such disparate acts as TMBG, The Shins, Guster, Ween, OK GO and even Fountains of Wayne — yet somehow remains all their own. This allows them to find common ground among jam-band fans as well as lighthearted indie-rockers and power-pop diehards, and it’s helping them to fill medium-sized rooms nationwide. They’re also known for a unique light and video show, although the low ceiling and small stage of this venue may find them leaving that in the truck. Check out: www.seepeoples.com. Note: after 10 pm, anyone admitted must be 21+ with positive ID. Those under 21 must split by 10:30 pm. Fri., 11 pm, Locos (downtown).