8 p.m. July 31 at Paramount Arts Center, 1300 Winchester Ave., Ashland. $35-$55. (606) 324-3175. Paramountartscenter.com.
Who could tell what was going through Merle Haggard's mind as contemporary country music's biggest acts regaled him at the Kennedy Center Honors in December?
As he sat in the balcony, seated between President Barack Obama and fellow honoree Paul McCartney, the artist long known as "The Hag" sat quietly, a black hat covering the better part of his stone-faced profile.
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Was he elated? Was he asleep? Or maybe, the ever-restless Haggard was, as the celebration swirled below him, plotting his next artistic move.
At least in some part, the latter had to be true because Haggard, 75, is set to release a new album, Working in Tennessee, this fall. It will include a new version of his blue-collar anthem Working Man Blues with contributions from Willie Nelson and the singer's son, Ben Haggard.
A more retro-friendly evening probably will be in store for Hag fans when the Country Music Hall of Famer visits Ashland's Paramount Arts Center on Sunday.
He is known as "The Dancing Outlaw." But to many, Jesco White is part of the rural Appalachian clan depicted in the hit cult documentary The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia — a film that comes across like a monumental slab of reality TV. It borders on the disturbing.
White, whose father was also a dancer, adopts footwork that borrows from elements of mountain clogging. But personality is the draw here. It's certainly what sold The Wild and Wonderful Whites and two other documentaries featuring the dancer, who turns 55 on Saturday.
White performs Friday night at Cosmic Charlie's, 388 Woodland Avenue, with Roger Alan Wade. (9 p.m. $20. (859) 309-9499. Cosmic-charlies.com.)
What's with this wave of '80s and '90s pop metal bands that have been invading Buster's Billiards & Backroom, 899 Manchester Street, this summer? During the past month we've seen the return of Jackyl and Cinderella, and August will bring in a performance by Skid Row. Can Ratt and Winger be far behind?
Perhaps not. But Friday night, the platinum-selling rockers of Warrant will keep the nostalgia flowing. Albums like 1989's Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich and 1990's Cherry Pie kept Warrant visible through a series of glammed-up guitar-rock hits (Down Boys) and power ballads (Heaven).
Longtime vocalist Jani Lane won't be part of the party, though. He was replaced by Robert Mason on Warrant's new album, Rockaholic. But mainstay members will be on hand: Joey Allen and Erik Turner, both on guitar; Jerry Dixon on bass; and Steven Sweet on drums. Katie Kerkhover and the Die Nasties will open. (9 p.m. $25. (859) 368-8871. Bustersbb.com.)
Give a Hoots
Adopting a folk-roots sound out of Philadelphia both revivalistic and reactionary, Sean Hoots and Andrew "Hellmouth" Gray have gradually staked out a place in a jam-savvy hoedown movement that has given rise to bands like The Avett Brothers.
Performing as Hoots and Hellmouth, the duo will showcase songs from its newest fan-funded (through Kickstarter) project at Monday's taping of WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour at The Kentucky Theatre, 214 East Main Street.
Rounding out the program will be Vintage Wildflowers, a folk female trio — fiddler/mandolinist/guitarist Abby Bozarth, harpist Dana Fitzgerald Maher and flutist/banjoist/ mandolinist Melissa Schiavone — from Tulsa, Okla., with a strong ear for Celtic inspirations. (6:45 p.m. $10. (859) 252-8888. Woodsongs.com.)