upcoming shows you should check out
Your lucky day: The-Dream at Greene Street on Friday the 13 th
Everyone loves a nice, dirty double-entendre. The bluer and more oblique, the better. Hardly anyone writes a better one these days than Rockingham-born R&B maven and hit maker Terius Nash, otherwise known at the-Dream. Nash, however, excels at writing them from the female perspective. See: Rihanna’s über-suggestive “Birthday Cake” for proof. When he’s not empowering women by proving that their minds can be even nastier than a frat boy’s, he’s writing hits like Beyonce’s “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)” or releasing his own albums of killer bedroom jams. When he released a free album last August under his own name though, it showed a side of his artistic persona that few could have imagined from the brash, confident songwriter. That’s what having Christina Milian put you through a personal hell might do to a man. 1977 is a toothed, recriminatory work bathed in defeated frustration, but with the Love MMXXI! forthcoming, expect renewed confidence as a he takes down rising stars like the Weeknd amidst a flurry of fresh sex jams. He’ll have a few of those new tracks to offer up when he comes to Greene Street Club on Friday with the excellent CJ Hilton in town. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door, and the music starts at 9 p.m.
Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit at Ziggy’s.
Through three albums ranging from pretty good to excellent since bolting from the Drive-By Truckers, Jason Isbell more-or-less positioned himself as the more soulful, pop-leaning member of the Hood-Cooley unit. That all probably changed with keyboardist Jay Gonzalez’s Mess of Happiness, though. For a guy who never once wrote a song or took a lead vocal since joining the band, it’s an out-of-nowhere pop gem that will likely serve to further distance Isbell’s contributions to the band in the minds of the DBT devotees. With his latest record, Here We Rest, Isbell has equaled his output with the Truckers and completed the transition from hard-scrabble Southern rock to mollified, soulful country, so maybe one of these days, we’ll stop constantly bringing up his old band when discussing him. He’ll be at Ziggy’s this Friday with Possum Jenkins and American Aquarium in support. Tickets are $17 in advance and $20 at the door.
The good times ain’t over
Even at 75 years old, Merle Haggard can still bring it. The man who helped bring the ragged, beer-sodden Bakersfield Sound to the country music conscience has weathered whatever ailments age could throw at him, most recently severe pneumonia, to blow the candles off of his threequarter-century birthday cake last Friday. When most artists his age are pulling back their schedules, the Hag is ramping his up. Taking people like Bear Bryant or Andy Rooney into account, there might be a reason Haggard won’t take his foot off the pedal. This Wednesday, he embarks on an insane spree: 16 shows in 17 days beginning at the Ryman in Nashville that will include a stop at the War Memorial Auditorium on Saturday. Then it’s a couple of weeks off and he’s more or less playing through September; something to think about the next time the itch to call in sick to work takes hold. Tickets for the show range from $37.50 to $57.50 plus fees, and the music starts at 7:30 p.m.