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ryan’s forecast

by Ryan Snyder

upcoming shows you should check out

Not actually on Valentine’s Day, but still a reason to get it on

The Red Light Crew is at it once again, and this time it’s in the form of the Get Your Heart On! Valentine’s Day Blast, happening this Saturday at the Calvin Graves Plantation in Locust Hill, near Reidsville. Looking for any reason to put on a shindig, H Blast productions makes a tenuous connection to the most wantonly commercial of holidays with an event that itself has absolutely zero commercial aspirations. Beginning with a Friday night early-bird set by the Electric Soul Pandemic and carrying into the wee hours of Sunday morning, you could go as far as to say that this harkens the beginning of festival season. The bands are certainly one’s you’ll see on the local festie circuit; the Brand New Life, Big Daddy Love, Electric Soul Pandemic, Yesterday’s Gravy and Sol Flow all bring the old school jam appeal. Don’t sweat the cold too much, though. The music happens in a heated 50-by-50 big-top tent, which patrons are welcome to crash in. You’ll need to bring your own Sharpie for writing on the faces of the slumbering, however. Promoters say in the press release that this is a private party on private property, so take that for what it’s worth. Surprises are promised in the most ominous of ways, so let someone know where you are beforehand. No admission is mentioned, so bring some green bean almandine to share.

Songs of Water, Ben Vesper in the house

Anyone who’s heard the last album by Greensboro world-folk ensemble Songs of Water knows the band is a talented bunch, but it doesn’t end at music. Frontman Stephen Roach is trying his hand at kid lit with a book that didn’t exactly begin as such. His forthcoming work Satchel Willoughby and the Realm of Lost Things simply began as an outlet for a story idea that he only later realized would make a fine children’s book.

Not to spoil the plot — it sounds really, really cool — he’ll be holding a book signing at a very limited engagement house show at 614 S. Elm St. along with the book’s artist, Vesper Stamper, this Sunday. But like any good book, there’s a twist. Not only will there be a full Songs of Water performance, but Stamper has her own nationally touring act with her husband by the name of Ben Vesper. Their new album Honors is an engaging bit of freak pop that features none other than Sufjan Stevens on keys, and while there’s little chance Stevens shows up in support of his label mates, folks play the lottery for a reason, right? Only 60 seats are available, so visit www.benandvesper.com for ticketing info.

Share your VD with the one you love and Clarence Carter

What’s more surprising: seeing Bobby Blue Bland’s name on the New Orleans Jazz Fest bill and finding out he’s still alive, or seeing Clarence Carter’s name on the Greensboro Blues Festival bill and learning the same for him? Either way, the man who brought “Strokin’” to every late-night bowling alley in America will appear live and in person at the (dubiously named) Greensboro Blues Festival this Sunday. Last year’s event looked pathetically empty at its postponed Greensboro Coliseum date, so it’s moving back to the War Memorial Auditorium where it’s existed for years. The hot, soulful playing that’s typically associated with the blues is mostly missing here. Instead, you’re more likely to find everything from bawdy R&B to deep-South gospel to quiet storm grooves in the lineup that includes Mel Waiters (who canceled last year), returning headliner Theodis Ealey and Marvin Sease, the man who makes the Ying Yang Twins look like Biz Markie and DJ Lance Rock. The music starts at 6 p.m. and tickets are $39.50 and 49.50.

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