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Bitter rivals? Church and Aldean play the Coliseum

On his last album, 2009’s Carolina, Eric Church was taking shots at Jason Aldean through the song “Lotta Boot Left to Fill” for Aldean’s gratuitous name-dropping of Johnny Cash. Now he’s backstage taking shots with him as the special guest at Aldean’s headlining show at the Greensboro Coliseum this Friday. Church’s point was that far too often do country musicians toss about the names of the greats while having someone else pen their music. All puff, no stuff as it were. According to Church, his former Capitol Records labelmate Aldean was as guilt of that as anyone. Now Aldean is off Capitol and onto the independent Broken Bow records, still not writing a single one of his songs, and yet his last album, My Kinda Party, was a hit. Church, on the other hand, has a new iTunes-only EP under his belt, but even though Carolina was a clear stab at the mainstream success that has eluded him thus far, he’s still more closely rooted in the outlaw country sound that Aldean can never know. Tickets for the show are $44.75 and $30.75, and the JaneDear Girls will come on in support.

Robert Plant, Buddy Miller and Patty Griffin band together

In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal’s Jim Fusilli, Robert Plant characterized his newest project Band of Joy as having “… morphed into part Led Zeppelin III, part Grateful Dead, part Jefferson Airplane, part Bascom Lamar Lunsford.” Like the quote implies, the band is a traveling celebration of music from Plant’s earliest era, a time when blues, country and other genres on their periphery all found a common ground with rock and roll. It’s a description that is also reflected in the setlists of his current tour: reworked Led Zeppelin classics intermingled among obscure folk and indie-rock covers, cherry-picked solo Plant originals from his lengthy discography and traditional tunes scattered here and there. His legacy as one of the greatest hard-rock singers of all time firmly entrenched, Plant may not possess the ear-splitting range of his youth, but he’s worked hard to redefine himself as one of the great voices and visionaries of contemporary Americana. He’s not alone in the Band of Joy, however. Plant’s immeasurable cachet has netted him an all-star cast of co-creators and sidemen who have joined him on both the Band of Joy’s eponymous album and the ensuing tour. Both revered as songwriters in their own write, Buddy Miller and Patty Griffin’s presence in the group work as a restraining counterpoint to Plant’s brooding intensity, while master bluegrass players Byron House and Darrell Scott come aboard with session wizard Marco Giovino to form the band’s instrumental core. The Band of joy will visit North Carolina for two dates this week, starting tonight at Raleigh’s Progress Energy Center and also on Monday, Feb. 7 at Ovens Auditorium in Charlotte. Both shows start at 8 p.m., while tickets for the Raleigh show range from $50 to $80, and Charlotte is $45 to $75.

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