Upcoming shows you should check out
JAMEY JOHNSON’S END OF THE WORLD PARTY, JUST IN CASE
If it weren’t obvious from his set lists, there’s hardly a songwriter from the Golden Age of Country to whom Jamey Johnson doesn’t feel he owes a debt. The gruff, burlap-voiced and perpetually touring country dark horse is almost self-effacing in his commitment to playing the music of his influences with every show. Where some might offer the occasional cover in revealing their creative origins, it’s come to be expected that more than half of a Jamey Johnson concert is going to be drawn entirely from the works of pioneers like Vern Gosdin, Jim Reeves, Lefty Frizzell and Don Williams, or any of the outlaw luminaries whom Johnson’s plastic hat peers are content to name check. It is a little perplexing that a songwriter with one Grammy-nominated record and another double album that topped Billboard’s Country chart would so heavily to cover songs, but it’s also conceivable that Johnson is offering restitution to singers owed by so many but paid by so few. He’ll return to play Ziggy’s on Saturday for the umpteenth time this year, this time under the auspices of his “2 nd Annual End of the World Party.” As long as those shows keep selling out, he’ll keep returning. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door, and the show starts at 9 p.m.
In the course of rendering his Hall of Fame set list, it’s also likely that Johnson will offer a remembrance to a singer who passed recently of less than natural causes. Wayne Mills, a frequent collaborator of Blake Shelton, Taylor Hicks and Johnson, was shot dead by a Nashville bar owner following argument in the wee hours of Nov. 23. Wayne was a singer who was a living exaltation of the honky-tonk grind; he worked the margins diligently, releasing numerous albums to a small, but dedicated group of followers that just so happened to count several big names among them. Now, it’s likely that he will be remembered the way that Nick Drake or El Greco are — much more prevalently in death than in life thanks to an outpouring of public tributes by Shelton, Johnson and the Nashville diaspora. There have been a litany of tribute shows organized on behalf of his family, one of which will also happen at Ziggy’s on Thursday. Scheduled to play the benefit are nine country singers — and likely more to join — who could have easily been in Mills’ shoes on that November morning. Tim Elliott, Billy Creason, Mark Church, et al all work similar regional circuits as Mills, and maybe some even played the Pit and Barrel where Mills met his end. Tickets are $5, and all proceeds go to the family of Wayne Mills.
A (NOT) VERY CHATHAM COUNTY CHRISTMAS
Chatham County Line might not have been in the best of moods when requesting for a few churls at their Blind Tiger performance last year to “kindly shut the hell up” so John Teer could break off a wicked mandolin solo. As cantankerous as the band may be when the situation calls for it, their Electric Holiday Tour should find them in higher spirits when it comes to the Haw River Ballroom on Saturday night. Don’t confuse this for a run-of-the-mill Christmas fodder. The holiday aspect of this annual tour is in the spirit of togetherness only as they’re joined by good friends to help them plug in and rock out. In this case, pianist Johnny Irion and Tift Merritt’s rhythm section of Jay Brown and Zeke Hutchins. So ignore the Santa on the show poster and leave the Christmas requests at home — it’s probably not going to be that kind of show and you really don’t want to ruin the mood. Tickets are $17 in advance and $20 at the door.
HOUSE OF FOOLS HAVEN’T GONE COUNTRY, BUT ROSELAND HAVE GONE ROCK
Walrus guitarist Tommy Scifres was pretty surprised when he was asked to replace David McLaughlin as guitarist in Greensboro rock mainstays House of Fools last year, and no one expected a whole new band to be born from it. Roseland isn’t replacing House of Fools, who are on break currently following the winter 2012 of Versus the Beast, their declaration of freedom following a lengthy battle to escape the clutches of Drive Thru Records, but it is a means for its members to explore new sonic territory. Their self-titled debut was released in September and finds its entire membership, save for guitarist Joel Kiser, engaged in Jayhawks-meets-Big Starstyle pop Americana. Not coincidentally, most of Roseland/House of Fools are backing Kiser in his solo project, the Joe Henry Band. Their new associations don’t end there, because after Roseland play their final date of 2013 at the Blind Tiger this Saturday, drummer Jack Foster, bassist Jordan Powers and Scifres will be joining Winston-Salem expat Caleb Caudle in Asheville to record his new record, a seemingly obvious connection that actually didn’t start to grow until the longtime Triad alt-country wellspring was on the verge of moving to New Orleans. Roseland are also in the midst of recording their second album, much of which will be on the docket on Saturday, where they’ll be joined by the Genuine and Alan Peterson. Tickets are $8 and the show starts at 10 p.m. !
Correction: In the print edition, it is incorrectly noted that it is Wayne Mills’ widow that is the organizer of the benefits when in fact, they are being organized on her behalf by others. YES! Weekly regrets the error.