Tuesday marks the release of Johnny Irion’s new disc, Ex Tempore. Hipsters know that Johnny played in the Dillon Fence in the early ’90s. A Triangle-area band, Dillon Fence was considered on the verge of big things for a period. More recently, Irion has attached himself to the Guthrie clan, marrying Sarah Lee Guthrie (daughter of Arlo, granddaughter of Woody), who is also a musical partner.
His publicity machine reports that the album was conceived “during a fertile writing stint in the summer 2006 at the Guthrie compound in rural Massachusetts,” describing the collection as “intermingling piano balladry, Americana, chamber pop and folk-style fingerpicking with a sophisticated ear for arrangements.” In addition to Sarah Lee, guests include Hobex (including former Dillon Fence bandmate Greg Humphreys) and Chatham County Line. The album was engineered at Ryan Picket’s studio in Durham.
Wednesday’s rock showcase at Greene Street in downtown Greensboro features a wide range of outfits, including local rock-and-rollers Electromatic, Brazil’s atmospheric power quartet Diafanes, the Gate City acoustic quartet Defying Belief, the psychobilly Down on Luck from K-Vegas and Oregon’s Young Immortals. And a couple blocks east at Churchill’s, Hot Politics will be dropping the good funk.
On Thursday, Kudzu Wish reunites to share the stage with the Tiny Meteors and the Bronzed Chorus at Two Art Chicks.
On Friday, the Vision Band plays the Friendly Center in Greensboro. A straight business proposition, the Vision Band might seem like something of an outmoded concept, but rest assured that wedding gigs and corporate events are where the real money is. Their shows are basically made to order, with an interracial ensemble that ranges from five to seven pieces – no doubt priced accordingly. They perform jazz, beach, rock, country, disco and swing. Check out the video montage on their website and their renditions of the Manhattan’s “Shining Star” and Delbert McClinton’s “Giving It Up for Your Love.”
Also on Friday, House of Fools presides at Greene Street for a hometown show with Far-Less, a Clerestory and Jonas Sees Color. The latter band is celebrating the release of their Avalanche EP. And if you’ll cross the heart of the Triad, the Werehouse in Winston-Salem will get loose with Cancer City’s own Jew(s) & Catholic(s), Doug Cheatwood & the Bastards of Fate from Roanoke, Joe Jack Talcum (ex-Dead Milkmen) and Nashville’s Muadvelice.
Out in Chatham County, the Shakori Hills’ Moonlight Music & Dance Series features the Boys from Carolina on the Grove Stage on Friday. The same night, Dem Youngnz perform at the Drop, a hip-hop event sponsored by the city of Winston-Salem at Dixie Classic Fairgrounds. Dem Youngnz, the children of spoken word artist Donalja James, are probably the best adolescent hip-hop unit in the Triad – if there’s even any competition.
Thacker Dairy Road, a roots soul ensemble featuring the majestic vocals of Molly McGinn and the masterful fiddling of Rebecca Stevens, plays the Blind Tiger on Saturday. Also on Saturday, rock impresario Joe Ferguson will be celebrating his birthday at Greene Street with a bill that recalls the shuttered Ace’s Basement. The lineup includes Boston’s Receiving End of Sirens, Kentucky’s Emanuel, Charlotte’s Hopesfall, Monday In London (actually from Winston-Salem) and Phoenix’s Goodbye Tomorrow. The latter band’s debut album, Ceilings, drops in January.