Walter Tunis: Natasha's offers back-to-back nights with returning folk artists

Contributing Music WriterOctober 10, 2013 

Daniel Martin Moore is a Kentucky native with a national presence.

MICHAEL WILSON

  • THE WEEK THAT WAS

    Dwight Yoakam at the EKU Center for the Arts in Richmond: As his performance barreled into the spry Tex-Mex drive of Streets of Bakersfield, Dwight Yoakam took a detour. Actually, he took several.

    When the song, a 1973 Buck Owens single that Yoakam made a hit out of again in 1988, referenced how its protagonist "spent some time in San Francisco," the performance halted as if there was a technical glitch. Then, over and over, Yoakam inserted into the verse the names of the Eastern Kentucky locales frequented during his childhood. Corbin, Prestonsburg, Pike County and Floyd County all got nods before the singer ended by honoring Richmond and then moving on.

    As a whole, the show was intensely electric, borrowing from Los Angeles-bred post-punk (which fortified the encore version of Dave Alvin's Long White Cadillac) and big-beat pop accents that reached back into the '60s (the atomic Roy Orbison strut of Fast as You). But there were also varying displays of vintage honky-tonk that shifted from Charlie Rich-style reflection (the piano colors Bryan Whelan provided Heart of Stone) to serious barroom-guitar twang (underscored by the mighty ensemble rumble of Little Sister).

    There were also several fun instances in which all these sounds and styles rear-ended one another. A fine case in point: a thick, thundering makeover of Ring of Fire that sounded less like Johnny Cash and more like T. Rex.

    At several points during the show, Yoakam asserted to his home-state crowd that the newer songs performed from his album 3 Pears were, at their core, elemental extensions of his Kentucky roots. That was essentially true, although the show-opening Take Hold of My Hand sounded less like Appalachia and more like the Dave Clark Five, which was just fine. But he also playfully used the explanation as a default clause, saying the audience's kinship to his songs' stylistic influences might trigger some performance pandemonium.

    "If I get carried away tonight," he told the crowd, "I'm going to blame it all on you."

Daniel Martin Moore, Scott Whiddon

8 p.m. Oct. 11 at Natasha's Bistro & Bar, 112 Esplanade. $8 (859) 259-2754. Beetnik.com.

David Wilcox

8 p.m. Oct. 13 at Natasha's. $20.

A full, folk-fortified weekend is on tap at Natasha's Bistro & Bar.

Friday marks the return of Kentuckian Daniel Martin Moore. For the past six years, the Cold Spring native has established a strong national presence as a folk voice that is equally but alternately poetic, personal and political.

Following an outstanding 2010 collaboration with fellow Kentuckian Ben Sollee centered on activist themes against mountaintop removal mining (Dear Companion), an outstanding 2011 collection of spirituals (In the Cool of the Day) and a lovely collaborative work with Joan Shelley (Farthest Field), Moore is offering Archives, Vol. 1, a sampler of previously unreleased songs recorded concurrently with all of those projects.

Sunday marks the return of folk songsmith David Wilcox to Natasha's. For more than 25 years, the Ohio native has been issuing records of vivid narrative detail heavy in Americana imagery and a generous dose of performance cheer, even when the songs turn stoic and sad. Critics regularly have compared his work to the songs of James Taylor and such comparatively overlooked contemporaries as John Gorka and Kenny Rankin.

Wilcox's newest studio album is 2010's Reveries, although two newer recordings — a mixtape-style set of very early music and a newer concert album — are available as downloads from his website, Davidwilcox.com.

Bluegrass goes indoors

There are few more welcome assurances that fall is fully in place than the start of another autumn-to-spring series of Saturday-night bluegrass concerts at Meadowgreen Park Music Hall in Clay City.

Now that summer festival season has concluded, national and regional bluegrass acts can perform in one of the most inviting and unspoiled indoor venues anywhere. The series, organized annually by the Kentucky Friends of Bluegrass Music Club, kicks off Saturday with Johnny Browning and Cornbread Express and Wilderness Trail. (7 p.m. $10. (606) 663-9008. Kyfriends.com.)

Upcoming performers at Meadowgreen Park, 303 Bluegrass Lane, include Kentucky Music Hall of Famer Melvin Goins on Nov. 2, the New Coon Creek Girls on Nov. 9 and Bobby Osborne on Dec. 7. On deck for 2014 will be Dale Ann Bradley, Marty Raybon, IIIrd Tyme Out, Larry Sparks, Doyle Lawson and many others.

A night on the Cowtown

What say you to a free night of acoustic swing where the inspirations blend the sterling European guitar/ fiddle jazz pioneered by Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli in the Quintet of the Hot Club of France and the very Americanized Western swing of Bob Wills?

We're speaking of the great Hot Club of Cowtown, which has been playing Central Kentucky venues for 15 years. The Austin, Texas, trio returns at 8 p.m. Thursday for a free convocation concert at Phelps-Stokes Auditorium at Berea College.

In this weekend's Sunday Living section, Hot Club fiddler Elena James talks with us about the group's new album, Rendezvous in Rhythm, the challenges of playing vintage swing in a modern world and opening arena concerts in England for Roxy Music.

For more info, go to Berea.edu/convocations/2013-2014.

Fangs a lot

Louisville's artful and thoroughly rocking "psych pop" troupe Wax Fang completes the weekend's list of concert returnees with a performance Friday at Cosmic Charlie's, 388 Woodland Avenue.

Wax Fang has long been a favorite of Lexington clubs, having established itself with shows at the original West Main location of The Dame. The band itself took a break after extensive touring behind 2007's album La La Land and its 2010 "space rock freak fest" followup, The Astronaut, Pt.1. Wax Fang returned with last year's Mirror Mirror EP and introduced a new single, King of the Kingdom of Man, through MTV Hive last month.

The Nativity Singer will open Friday's show. (10 p.m. $10. (859) 309-9499. Cosmic-charlies.com.)


THE WEEK THAT WAS

Dwight Yoakam at the EKU Center for the Arts in Richmond: As his performance barreled into the spry Tex-Mex drive of Streets of Bakersfield, Dwight Yoakam took a detour. Actually, he took several.

When the song, a 1973 Buck Owens single that Yoakam made a hit out of again in 1988, referenced how its protagonist "spent some time in San Francisco," the performance halted as if there was a technical glitch. Then, over and over, Yoakam inserted into the verse the names of the Eastern Kentucky locales frequented during his childhood. Corbin, Prestonsburg, Pike County and Floyd County all got nods before the singer ended by honoring Richmond and then moving on.

As a whole, the show was intensely electric, borrowing from Los Angeles-bred post-punk (which fortified the encore version of Dave Alvin's Long White Cadillac) and big-beat pop accents that reached back into the '60s (the atomic Roy Orbison strut of Fast as You). But there were also varying displays of vintage honky-tonk that shifted from Charlie Rich-style reflection (the piano colors Bryan Whelan provided Heart of Stone) to serious barroom-guitar twang (underscored by the mighty ensemble rumble of Little Sister).

There were also several fun instances in which all these sounds and styles rear-ended one another. A fine case in point: a thick, thundering makeover of Ring of Fire that sounded less like Johnny Cash and more like T. Rex.

At several points during the show, Yoakam asserted to his home-state crowd that the newer songs performed from his album 3 Pears were, at their core, elemental extensions of his Kentucky roots. That was essentially true, although the show-opening Take Hold of My Hand sounded less like Appalachia and more like the Dave Clark Five, which was just fine. But he also playfully used the explanation as a default clause, saying the audience's kinship to his songs' stylistic influences might trigger some performance pandemonium.

"If I get carried away tonight," he told the crowd, "I'm going to blame it all on you."

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