by Ryan Snyder


kept it real from the “Jump”

John Jorgenson was an integral factor in the country chart-topping Desert Rose Band and a frequent live collaborator with Earl Scruggs during the bluegrass legend’s lifetime. Most of all, he’s in possession of a guitar technique that earned him a reputation as one of the greats in a completely different medium — as a master of the nuances and complex rhythms of Django Reinhardt’s gypsy-jazz style. Jorgenson hasn’t abandoned the high and lonesome, however, and his bluegrass band actually features the same Herb Pederson of the Desert Rose Band fame who scored a pair of No. 1, and multiple Top 10, country hits in the late ’80s with their remarkable self-titled and its follow-up, Running. The John Jorgenson Bluegrass Band is an entirely different beast, however. They can turn “Jump” by Van Halen (who actually re-recorded with song with JJBB on a covers album) into a master’s toccata and then turn in a perfect rendition of the Seldom Scene staple “Old Train.” The JJBB will visit the Presbyterian Church of the Covenant this Friday for a performance at 8 p.m. Arrive early, or else they’ll lock the doors. Tickets are $21 in advance.

The George Clinton reinvention marches forward

Very few, if any, artists make major stylistic progressions when they hit their seventies, but when you’re long known as one of the weirdest, most strung-out cats around, straightening out can easily be confused for evolving. The rooster wig has been as synonymous with who George Clinton is as his often addled physical presence, but when Parliament Funkadelic came to Ziggy’s back in March, however, Clinton looked like a new man. He traded his rooster wig for a smart suit and hat and was as on point as a 71-yearold former crackhead could be, even if the Parliament Funkadelic itself that descended looked almost nothing like the version that most remember. But Clinton’s P-Funk Family is so far-reaching that Parliament-Funkadelic can include few brand-name members when they return to Ziggy’s this Saturday and still deliver a set worthy of their greatest lineups. There will, however, be Michael “Kidd Funkadelic” Hampton on guitar and Michael “Clip” Payne as the show’s narrator and keyboardist, jam-band staple Danny Bedrosian on keys with long-time Bootsy stand-in Lige Curry on bass. The Prime Minister of Funk himself is especially more involved, trading that breezy, bemused presence for one that’s more focused, but still as edgy as ever. Tickets to the show are $25 in advance and $30 at the door, but we’re giving a pair away to a Twitter follower. Follow @YESRyan and watch for and retweet a post on Thursday about the show to enter.


As the blurred perception of the great outsider musicians goes, that of Bill Callahan is finally in focus. The Austin, Texas singer known simply as “Smog” from 1990 to 2005 dropped the pseudonym for his 2007 album Woke on a Whaleheart, and with it he dropped a lot of the pretense that he had clung to since his earliest days as a sub-lo-fi songwriter with a saturnine, almost sociopathic bent. Callahan isn’t the best singer or the best guitarist, but he has gotten remarkably better over time in both regards, and the impotent rage that led him to pen the line “I’m gonna be so drunk at your wedding” as an ode to an ex has mellowed considerably. His 2011 album Apocalypse sound him embracing the ’70s semi-country ethos of songwriters like Kris Kristofferson, while still retaining the honest lack of sophistication that earned him a small, but rabid following. His latest, Dream River, which was released last week, however, is an uncanny masterpiece of the kind that defies description and commands a listen. Callahan will be at the Cat’s Cradle this Sunday to present it, and tickets are only $15 in advance.