Nappy Roots, Eazy and DJ Kym
9 p.m. Oct. 22 at Buster's Billiards & Backroom, 899 Manchester St. $12 advance, $15 day of show. (859) 368-8871. Bustersbb.com.
Amazingly, the story of the Kentucky-born hip-hop brigade Nappy Roots is now 15 years old.
It might not seem that established, especially since the group's commercial profile didn't explode until the singles Awnaw and Po' Folks made serious inroads on the national charts in fall 2002. Shoot, the recording that those hits came from, the triple-platinum-selling Watermelon, Chicken & Gritz was Nappy Roots' third album. But the actual meeting of members from the Louisville area and Oakland, Calif., had occurred at Western Kentucky University years earlier.
The Nappy Roots rappers Skinny DeVille, Ron Clutch, Fish Scales, B Stille and Big V and are back in Lexington to continue the saga this weekend. In fact, they will be expanding its newest chapter: This will be Nappy Roots' second local outing since the release of The Pursuit of Nappyness in June.
DeVille has called the album's music "reality rap from a common man's perspective." And indeed, the feel at times approximates Outkast's early music, especially on the Nappy Roots tunes Fishbowl and Paint a Picture. But the organic, Southern-steered sound that Nappy Roots popularized eight years ago via Po' Folks remains alive and vital on The Pursuit of Nappyness's prime summer single, Ride.
The geography of Nappy Roots has shifted a bit of late. Several members have moved to Atlanta, one of the nation's longstanding hip-hop hot spots. But dig into the earthier, country- friendly grooves that The Pursuit of Nappyness offers and you will hear a big Bluegrass heart beating proudly.
Mollie O'Brien and Rich Moore and Gary Bennett
6:45 p.m. Oct. 25 at The Kentucky Theatre, 214 E. Main, for WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour. $10. (859) 252-8888. Woodsongs.com.
With our attention drawn in recent weeks to the Alltech Fortnight Festival and Spotlight Lexington, we neglected a milestone. Last week, WoodSongs Old-Time Radio recorded its 600th program.
So to all who have helped redefine what Monday evenings can be like in Lexington with live tapings of a weekly radio and TV program that consistently has brought world-class folk and Americana music to our doorstep, a hearty thank you is in order.
Typical of the musical menus in which WoodSongs specializes are the artists on tap Monday for show No. 601.
Up first will be the husband-and-wife team of Mollie O'Brien and Rich Moore. O'Brien is sister to acclaimed bluegrass and Americana stylist Tim O'Brien. The siblings have recorded and toured extensively together, which has helped spotlight Mollie O'Brien's wonderfully massive vocal sound.
Moore is a guitarist who has collaborated extensively with several of the state's most noted artists, including longtime Tim O'Brien ally Pete Wernick, and a few out-of-town visitors, including folk great Tom Paxton.
Completing Monday's lineup will be one of the co-founding members — and one of the two original lead singers — of the country-roots ensemble BR549, Gary Bennett. He bolted from BR549 in 2002, frustrated by the retro tag that had been permanently pinned to the band's music.
A fine new, four-song EP disc surfaced during the summer that revisits one of Bennett's finest BR549 tunes, You Are Never Nice to Me. It doesn't exactly dispel the retro label that Bennett was trying to outrun. Neither does the following I Ain't Gonna Do It Anymore. These two fine roots-driven songs also are featured on Bennett's new solo album, My Ol' Guitar. But search out the EP, if you can. It is fleshed out by covers of two cross-generational country staples, Hickory Wind and Long Black Veil. Their sound isn't so much retro country as it is lovingly traditional.