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by Ryan Snyder

UPCOMING SHOWS YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT

Woody Pines says he won’t get sick this time

Back in October, Woody Pines (www.myspace.com/woodypines) was supposed to fill a double bill at the Garage with esteemed bluegrass/ country singer David Via, but that never fully matriculated due to an inopportune stomach bug that Pines suffered. He’ll finally be back to the Garage this Friday, May 29 along with a couple of other pretty good performers on the bill. Willie Heath Neal www.willieheathneal.net is one of those and he has a new album that he wants you to hear. His 12-track 2009 release Out of Highway is one of those rare album’s that might never get heard, but isn’t any less brilliant because of it. It’s sometimes sad, very often funny with top-notch production and great instrumental accompaniment. Many will remember the evening’s third performer not just because of her striking red hair (okay, a lot of people probably will), but more so from her mesmerizing clawhammer banjo playing and classic country vocals. Eliza Lynn www.myspace.com/elizalynnmusic has been burning up the Americana scene in both Nashville and Asheville, but she’ll also receive outstanding instrumental accompaniment from Emma Gibbs Band alum Will Straughn. The good time starts at 9 p.m. and admission is only $5.

Jason Aldean comes to rival turf

In only his second album, Eric Church threw down the gauntlet in front of Jason Aldean (www. jasonaldean.com). Probably inspired by the likes of Jay-Z’s “The Takeover,” Church put out a diss track the likes of which is a true rarity in country music. “Lotta Boots to Fill” called out Aldean’s repeated namechecking of classic country greats and accuses him of taking the David Allen Coe path to stardom, i.e. if you talk about yourself beside them enough, people will believe that you’re just as good. But, with Aldean selling two million copies of his first two albums, topping the charts with five smash hits and racking up award nominations in the last three years, he’s done more than a little to outdistance himself from would-be rivals. Aldean will be appearing at the War Memorial Auditorium this Friday, May 29. He’s on the road again in support of his new release, Wide Open, and the album’s first single “She’s Country” is currently MySpace’s most streamed country song on the Top 40 chart and is one of iTunes’ most downloaded country songs. The show starts at 8 pm and tickets are $29.75 each.

Josh Ritter plays the Cat’s Cradle

One of the better things to come out of Idaho, aside from the potato, is the music of Josh Ritter (www.joshritter.com). Still riding high from his lauded 2007 release The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter, the classically-trained folk singer will make his Lone North Carolina appearance at the Cat’s Cradle this Saturday, May 30. He’s been heavily influenced by the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and Mark Twain and it’s quite apparent in his last album, which he began writing by committing to tape wordless tunes and melodic fragments, certain that the lyrics and thematic ideas, whatever shape they might take, would soon follow. While The Animal Years was a meticulously crafted and stately paean, for Conquests the artist radically revamped his working methods and his sound. The result is a raucous, occasionally dizzying affair, with pounding keyboards, strings, horns that you may be able to sing along to if you’re quick enough to get all the words. Doors open at 8 p.m. and the show starts at 9 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance and $18 on the day of the show. Raleigh indie-folksters the Proclivities www.myspace.com/theproclivities and David Shultz & the Skyline www.myspace.com/davidschultz will open the show.

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