by Ryan Snyder

Upcoming shows you should check out


Texas songwriting legend Steve Earle played a couple of great paternal figures on David Simon’s HBO projects over the last decade. First, he was the addictturned-Narc Anon counselor Walon on “The Wire,” and then the enigmatic street musician who mentored Lucia Micarelli‘s character on the gorgeous, but underappreciated “Treme“. Given his own checkered past, these magnificently-played roles could well have been a bit of method acting for Earle, but also a bit of healing. Earle’s struggles with drugs and alcohol are extremely well documented in song “” from the inscrutable sense of emptiness in “Nowhere Road” to the exultant anthem of revival “I Feel Alright” “” but it’s their domestic effects from which he seems forever trying to recover. Earle hasn’t made any effort to hide the fact that his relationship with his songwriting son Justin Townes Earle

is often rocky, and justifiably so “” JTE just released his fifth album last week under the title Single Mothers “” but Earle’s missteps are not without purpose. It might seem cliché for a songwriter to do wrong in life in order to do right in art, but Earle’s catalog is rich with stories of tragedy and redemption. He’s currently on tour with another artist who has made a stellar career out of that in Shawn Colvin, but he’s flying solo when he visits the Carolina Theatre this Sunday night as a part of 17 Days Greensboro. Tickets are $34 and $24, and the show starts at 7 p.m.


According to KRS-One‘s anecdote in “Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap,” the origins of gangsta rap can essentially be traced back to a particularly unsurprising instance: some dude at a rap battle picked him out of a crowd to talk trash, KRS responded brilliantly off top, and then the genre’s most seminal figure was born. Shortly after, he founded Boogie Down Productions with D-Nice and Scott La Rock, the group released the essential, gritty and, at times, downright violent Criminal Minded in 1987, and it set hip-hop music upon a brand new course. The group’s DJ, Scott La Rock, was murdered only months after its release, and it would be KRS-One who would eventually carry the group’s standard into the conscious and militant humanist realms with classics like “Sound of Da Police” and “Free Mumia”. More than 20 years after embarking upon a solo career, KRS-One is far from hip-hop postscript; he’s maintained a fairly prolific output, including a rather excellent return to boom-bap in 2012 with The BDP Album, but it’s not as if anyone has forgotten the classics. British indierockers Alt-J, among the buzziest of the buzzy, are putting out their second album next Tuesday, and it name-checks “Sound of Da Police” at a rather crucial moment on maybe the record’s best song. Coincidentally, that’s the same day KRS-One visits Winston-Salem to perform at Ziggy’s.

His sets are lengthy (in rap terms) diving deep into his solo catalog and the BDP oeuvre, while also nodding to his friends an collaborators like Run DMC, Biggie, and Tupac. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door, and DJ SK will open.


The free, weekly newspaper game is as tough and unforgiving as they come, and sometimes to get eyes, you don’t necessarily have to break the unwritten rules that govern journalism, but reimagine them for a more amenable landscape. The Triangle’s Independent Weekly did just that to some degree with its inaugural Hopscotch Music Festival preview, almost an entire issue dedicated to a festival that it was also promoting. In the classic sense, it would represent a flagrant conflict of interest to set the reader agenda on something in which it had a saleable interest.

Then again, it might actually be easier to make money from a free newspaper than from a paid music festival. Regardless, the sanctioning body for weeklies like Indy Week and YES! Weekly, the Association of Issue prize at its 2011 awards.

Alternative Newsmedia, not only blessed that move, but conferred upon it the Best So, game on. In the interest of full disclosure (and lede burying), it should nonetheless be noted that not only has YES! Weekly helped make the upcoming Show of Hands x Mosiac Festival finale happen next Wednesday, September 24 at the downtown Greensboro Railyard, but I had a hand in helping Face to Face and CWS Greensboro bring its lineup together. That said “” and what good is having a soapbox if you can’t also jump on it? “” this show is going to be pretty great. It’s free to get in, vendors from all over the world will serve great ethnic dishes (bring cash for that), and musically, it might be one of the best free concerts to go down in the Triad this year (if I do say so myself). It will be headlined by one of international crossover pop’s best-kept secrets, the eclectic Malaysian soul crooner Yuna, a singer bearing the varied influence of songwriters from Sade to Corinne Bailey Rae. Raleigh charmer Derek Torres will open with one of the last of his revered solo sets as T0W3RS before he focuses on the explosive full-band dynamic leading up to the release of TL;DR in November. Likewise, Asheville producer Marley Carroll, who has blown Greensboro away more than once this year, will give one of his final performances for now before going to focus on new material. Don’t expect a repeat of either of his two Crown shows, however; he’s diving deeper into the realm of Pan-African electronica that he only hinted at previously.

Closing it out, however, it an emcee whose set was touched upon in last week’s Hopscotch review, even when it’s hard for a few hundred words to bring the complexity of his music into focus. Charlotte wordsmith Leroy Shingu, professionally known as Well$, is an embodiment of the challenge faced by the African immigrant community “” with whom building bridges is one of this event’s tangential goals. He’s second-generation Congolese who cut his teeth equally on the rhymes of Adb Al Malik and Outkast, a young black kid in Charlotte not readily accepted by his peers because of his origins, but facing the same societal struggles. His “Boyz N the Hood”-referencing mixtape MTSYD: Revenge of the African Booty Scratcher from earlier this year displays immense promise; he has a crisp, verbose flow and for a 20-year-old, his themes are mature and relatable while still being a lot of fun. The Show of Hands x Mosiac Festival show kicks off next at the downtown Greensboro Railyard next Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.. Admission is free. !