upcoming shows you should check out
Johnny Cash turns 79 Saturday at the Garage
Johnny Cash would’ve been 79 years old this Saturday, and to put that in perspective, Loretta Lynn will play the War Memorial on Sunday, and she’ll be the same age in a couple of months. George Jones is 79 and still touring (barely), and Charlie Louvin was playing right up until he died last month at 83. Point is, it seems like Cash should still be with us, but there’s no shortage of tributes to be found. The Garage has been doing it for nine years now with Cash Bash, and this year’s lineup just might be its best ever. It does a great job of showcasing not just Johnny’s pervasive country influence, but his less recognized impact on punk music in one fell swoop. Starting with the pre-party on Thursday, Stacey Earle and Mark Stuart & the Toughcats lead into a performance by gritty Southern rockers American Aquarium. Friday features a Billie Feather double feature, with performances by John Howie Jr. & the Sweethearts and the Bo Stevens. They’re followed by the spectacular country-folk rock band Brian McGee and the Hollow Speed. Heavy Rebel founder Dave Quick opens Saturday on Johnny’s birthday, followed by a heavy dose of punkabilly with Gojira-X and Reverend D-Ray & the Shockers. Music starts at 8 p.m. every night and tickets each day are $10 in advance and $12 at the door.
You gotta see the legends while you can
Speaking of Loretta Lynn’s show at the War Memorial, you really ought to take the opportunity to see the legends when you can. Despite not having released new material since 2004, it’s hard to deny that Lynn is still the queen of country music, even if she’s starting to look a little more fragile in those massive evening gowns. With Jack White producing and playing every instrument under the sun, Van Lear Rose was without a doubt one of the best albums of the last decade, reminding anyone who heard it how sweet and devastating her voice can be while opening up a whole new audience for her thanks to White’s presence. Reviews of her live shows over the past few years have been mixed, however, with a common undercurrent being that her (decidedly less talented) children tend to get too much face time, along with Lynn simply being unable to remember a lot of her best songs. In fairness, most are lucky when their grandmothers can remember their birthdays, and Lynn has a lot of songs — 54 studio albums worth, to be precise — so what if a few slip through the cracks? Her Sunday show in Greensboro is set to start at 6 p.m., and tickets are close to selling out.
Give me that old-time… old time
You could publish a phone book with the list of influential old-time musicians born in the North Carolina Piedmont, but there are few who have carved out the kind of legacy that Toast-born musician Tommy Jarrell did. Once you’ve heard one Tommy Jarrell picking a tune, you’ll know his sound forever. Few players could infuse a melody with as much richly complex ornamentation as Jarrell, and even fewer could sing with the kind of expressiveness he had while doing it. His legacy will be honored once again this weekend in Surry County during the 10 th Annual Tommy Jarrell Festival, featuring the great Benton Flippen among a cast of notable old-time players that includes Riley Baugus, Verlen Clifton, Richard Bowman and tons of others. The festival starts on Thursday and runs through Saturday. Visit www.surryarts.org for tickets and location information.