by Ryan Snyder

Last week’s news of John Prine’s lung cancer, albeit operable, adds an incredible sense of urgency to the living legend’s Dec. 6 show in Greensboro, one of the only two remaining this year that he hasn’t canceled, but also to that of the singer who will forever be the thunder to his lightning. Bring a handkerchief, because it’s going to get a little dusty in the War Memorial when Bonnie Raitt unwraps “Angel from Montgomery.” Irish folk singer and guitarist par excellence Paul Brady, the author of some of Raitt’s best tunes, will offer a great reason to show up early.

From an outsider’s perspective, rock sextet the Big Something have quietly developed into one of North Carolina’s most ubiquitous acts. Their annual Halloween bash has gro wn out of Raleigh’s Pour House and into the Lincoln Theatre, while their multi-day festival, the Big What?, drew so many this year it unexpectedly had to turn away a large number. But for the legion of followers who’ve been there since their days as Anonymous, a cover-heavy Burlington outfit with an affinity for blistering improvisation and an early songbook of starry-eyed earwigs, the release party for their John Custer-produced, eponymous LP at Ziggy’s on Wednesday is a kind of Thanksgiving of its own.

At least in part, it’s because with a dedicated lighting designer and sound crewman, the Big Something is a full-blown enterprise now, and it brings a hell of an experience to show for it. Their new record will be featured heavily at the release party, as will last month’s debut record by Moog’d out opener Electric Soul Pandemic.

Bad news is, by the time you come out of your postprandial stupor on Thursday, you’ll have already missed all of Black Friday and Tony Romo will have already thrown two pick-sixes. The good news is, an MST3K marathon is (slightly) better Turkey Day comedy than Cowboys football, and you can surely catch “Jungle Queen” before heading down to High Rock Outfitters to see Reverend Scoggin’s Funkadelic Tent Revival as the NC Music & Arts Festival kicks off in earnest.

Better than standing outside Best Buy at 11 p.m. on Thursday is standing outside CFBG at 11 a.m. on Friday to buy Dr. Suess’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas on wax. They’ve got dozens of the Black Friday special editions, and $1 off everything else. Likewise at Earshot in Winston-Salem, who’re stocking the Chris Robinson Brotherhood’s massive four-LP live disk. For awesome country rock IRL, American Aquarium are bringing the full band back to the Garage on Friday at long last, and they’ve conscripted the Darnell Woodies into opening duties. !