by Ryan Snyder

Upcoming shows you should check out


The Music Academy of the American South, the weekend-long masters class/performance expo founded at the NC School of the Arts by alum Justin Poindexter, proved untenable following the resignation of former NCSA chancellor John Mauceri, its primary champion, but Poindexter is still finding ways to show his alma mater love. On Thursday, the band around which MAAS was built, Poindexter’s jazz-leaning folk-pop outfit the Amigos, will return to Winston- Salem to head up the second week of the Carolina Summer Mus ic Festival series, a presentation of the Carolina Chamber Symphony, on Thursday evening at the Hanesbrands Theatre. The Amigo’s expanding, revolving cast won’t include saxophonist Eddie Barbash, who has been a featured player with Jon Batiste & the Stay Human Band as they carve out firm footing atop the jazz world. Barbash can still be heard all over the Amigos’ outstanding new record Diner In the Sky, however, and the full lineup will feature several NCAT alums, including in supporting acts the Blue-Eyed Bettys and the Peppercorn Players. Tickets are $20 for adults and $5 for children, and the show starts at 7:30 p.m.


The term ‘supergroup’ has become a bromide of sorts; a not-entirely-objectionable way to refer to a group of well-known musicians getting together for a new endeavor, but no one should object to calling Phil Cook & the Guitarheels one. Cook yokes together an all-star cast from some of North Carolina’s most recognized bands “” members of Megafaun, Hiss Golden Messenger, Mandolin Orange and Chatham County Line “” into a stampede of Little Feat-inspired country funk. In the short life of the band, he’s favored playing music more readily familiar among that oeuvre. Last year, he did an entire show based on Ry Cooder’s archeological survey of early- to mid-century blues, Boomer’s Story, and it’s not hard to find his band jamming on Meters and the Band tunes online. The drawback of such an ensemble cast is that it’s difficult to coordinate such varied schedules to actually play as a group, but Cook is making it happen this Friday night at the Triad Stage as a part of EMF Fringe, the Guitarheels only full-band show of the summer. There should be more on the horizon, however, has the band is wrapping up the official Guitarheels debut album, because it’s still better to be called a supergroup than a cover band.

The Guitarheels will be supported by Molly McGinn, who is releasing an album of her own on Friday. It’s called Postcards from the Swamp, and it’s the culmination of a pretty compelling collection of short stories of the same name released over the course of the summer about her solo adventures in the Great Dismal Swamp (though if you heard her scandalous contribution to a recent Monti, her best stories are reserved for more exclusive audiences). Here, the pieces are rendered as southern acoustic folklorica, sweet and sentimental, with touches of boogie in the right places (possibly that’s the contributions of Cook, who actually played on the record). Tickets to Cook and McGinn’s Triad Stage show are $22 each, and the music starts at 8 p.m.


The late-great RL Burnside didn’t live to be the oldest of Mississippi’s famed Delta blues canon, nor was he the most celebrated while he was alive, but he might have left behind the most durable legacy. His sons Duwayne and Garry Burnside have enjoyed modest careers in their own right, but it’s Cedric Burnside who has picked up his granddaddy’s torch and ran with it. In one of his frequent visits to High Rock Outfitters in Lexington, Burnside opened his set on acoustic guitar, recited a slightly puerile toast that the recently departed T-Model Ford taught him, and downed a glass of red wine before regaling a nearly full room with a set of gentle country blues. It was when he picked up his drumsticks and introduced guitarist Trenton Ayers that things really got interesting.

As a kid as young as nine, it was often the third generation bluesman Burnside’s charge to hold down that hard-charging backbeat upon which his grandfather spun gritty, sometimes off-color tales of loose women and boozy dysphoria.

He held the beat in the Hill Country shacks late at night and on the road, and when he got behind the kit for his epony duo, it was as if a dam had broken. Cedric Burnside is a special kind of drummer, never overcomplicating things, but the kind whose swagger IS the show. Then he leans down to his mic in the middle of a ferocious beat and wails a song like “Skinny Woman” or “Shake ’em on Down”. The acoustic/electric affair is steeped in the thorny Delta style of RL, but what’s most interesting is how Cedric retains the hip-hop vocal stylings of his late brother Cody alongside his swampy baritone while still wielding the meanest of sticks. The Cedric Burnside Project will return to play High Rock Outfitters in Lexington this Saturday, August 9 at 9 p.m., and tickets are $10.


One of the most underrated garage rock bands in America has completed its mutation into one of the most underrated part-time alt-country bands in America. Spider Bags brand-new album Frozen Letter puts Dan McGee’s act two full records removed from the awesomely crusty Goodbye Cruel World, Hello Crueler World and the apocryphal Bacchanalia that preceded its decidedly more mature, but nevertheless ass-kicking 2012 follow-up, Shake My Head. McGee’s nuptials during that time might have contributed to its slightly mellower tenor, but mel lowing is all part of growing up if you’re doing it right.

On Frozen Letter, the band’s fourth album and first with Merge Records, new guitarist Gregg Levy kicks things off with a “Wild Thing”-inspired feedback build that culminates in a barrage of brief, garage-y missives that throw back to the band’s early albums. They then spend the latter half immersed in the sounds that McGee took away from the ashes of his old band, the DC Snipers “” hazy, twangy psych, not unlike that of the Meat Puppets’ “Oh Me”. You can call them country songs at heart, and the albums best lines definitely speak to it: “There aren’t any jobs unless you’re working at prison” from “Walking Bubble”, or “She’s beautiful and pregnant/My coffin car” from “Coffin Car”. Spider Bags will release Frozen Letters this Saturday night at 9 p.m. at Krankies, and we’re giving away a pair of tickets to the show. Just tweet to @YESRyan and we’ll announce the winner by Friday. It’s that easy. !