by Ryan Snyder

Upcoming shows you should check out


You can spend as much time as you want listening to the music of or even talking to Pittsboro songwriter MC Taylor, but there will probably always remain this ethereal quality about him that’s unfathomable. His music with songwriting partner Scott Hirsch in Hiss Golden Messenger is as beautiful as it is puzzling, like psalms to a god that could be benevolent as easily as it could be destructive. Taylor doesn’t perform much in the United States, because, as he says, there’s not much in it, though he does pretty well working to sate Europe’s Tarrarean appetite for American roots. A folklorist by trade, Taylor is often hired to produce field recordings of Southern musicians, the influence of some of which can be heard steeped into his own music. Hiss Golden Messenger outpaces them, and even some of his contemporaries, by generations, however. He writes under a kind of mystified country influence that suggests he might be a closet solipsist, unsure and probably unconcerned if the tales he tells could ever happen outside his own mind. He’ll make one of those rare stage appearances this Friday as support for Patterson Hood & the Downtown Rumblers for Crossroads #005 at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Arts, itself a momentous occasion. The Drive-By Truckers frontman is set to release a new solo album this fall, entitled Heat Lightning Rumbles

In the Distance, songs from which he’s currently previewing live. It’s an extremely personal release centered on his family, so it’s not the soundtrack to breaking bottles over heads like so much of DBT has been in the past. Like Taylor’s it’s still a bit of a mystery, but another that’s waiting to be unraveled. Tickets for the show $22.50, and the music starts at 8 p.m. sharp.


If the retro-soul revival is getting a little too magnanimous for the tastes of some, Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears are doing their damnedest to tip the balance. The second album by the young Austin soulslinger and his inexorably funky band find the blues and soul at its most salacious. Lewis is a bit like Blowfly meets Chuck Berry; a Marvin Sease for the 21st century. His second album Scandalous featured songs like “Booty City” and “Black Snake,” where he’s not talking reptiles. The album’s highlight, however, is a narrative romp inspired by “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer” called “Mustang Ranch” that finds Lewis holed up in the famed Nevada house of ill repute with only a Jackson to spend trying to get, err, his ham glazed. They’re in-between albums right now, so Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears seem to have been a cheap get for their show at the Blind Tiger this Sunday. At $10 for a ticket the savings are passed on considering few blues bands pack the punch of the Honeybears; at their core a standard five-piece rock outfit, but with a blistering three-man horn arrangement. Tickets are $13 at the door and the music, which will be amazing, starts at 10 p.m.

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