California Guitar Trio
■ 7 p.m. Feb. 26 at Natasha's Bistro and Bar, 112 Esplanade. $20, $24 (859) 259-2754. Beetnik.com.
■ 7 p.m. Feb. 27 at Kentucky Coffeetree Café, 235 W. Broadway in Frankfort. $20. (502) 875-3009. Kentuckycoffeetree.com.
My introduction to the California Guitar Trio came during the summer of 1995, when acoustic guitarists Paul Richards (of Utah), Bert Lams (of Belgium) and Hideyo Moriya (of Japan) opened for King Crimson at Cincinnati's Taft Theatre.
Keep the following in mind in assessing this first meeting. First, the CGT mixes the virtuoso with the versatile. Its repertoire shifts from classical to original to surf to prog and more. Second, King Crimson toured that year with a monstrous sound system. Finally, the Taft is not air-conditioned. The show was in late June.
So my introduction came after walking into a steam bath of a concert hall and hearing the roar of three acoustic (but heavily amped) guitars playing Toccata and Fugue in D Minor. Nothing says "hello" at a rock show like atomic Bach.
"We recorded a bunch of shows with King Crimson during that time period," Richards said during a recent phone interview. "Some were better than others. But I remembered that particular show. After we came offstage playing the Toccata and Fugue that night, there was such a feeling of excitement and energy through the music from the audience that I was totally buzzing. We sensed such a strong energy from that show."
The CGT revisits Toccata and Fugue, along with works by Beethoven, Barber, Vivaldi and more on its new album, Masterworks. Most of the compositions were featured on earlier CGT albums. But Masterworks boasts newer arrangements that reflect the instrumental maturity and band spirit of a trio that recently celebrated its 20th anniversary.
"If you compare the old versions with the new versions, you will notice the sound quality and the performance quality are quite different. More attention was paid to the acoustic tone of the guitars this time. It was just a really fulfilling thing to go back to these pieces, all of which were all very important to us, and find a way to record them in a way that was really satisfying."
■ 5 p.m. Feb. 26 at CD Central, 377 S. Limestone. Free. (859) 233-3472. Cdcentralmusic.com.
■ 9 p.m. Feb. 26 at Buster's Billiards and Backroom, 899 Manchester St. $18 advance, $20 day of show. (859) 368-8871. Bustersbb.com.
Wanda Jackson's Web site boldly proclaims her the Queen of Rock. Who are we to argue?
Ever since hits including Fujiyama Mama and Hot Dog! That Made Him Mad made her rockabilly royalty in the late 1950s, Jackson has maintained one of the longest and most prestigious of roots-rock careers. Through the years, she made detours into country and gospel, but she fully re-embraced her rockabilly heritage over the past decade with albums including 2003's Heart Trouble and 2011's Jack White-produced The Party Ain't Over. And at age 74, her live shows remain loaded with ageless vigor.
So, yes, Miranda Lambert might be the marquee country name in town Sunday. But just a few blocks over at Buster's (along with an afternoon meet-and-greet at CD Central) is where you can enjoy an audience with the Queen.
Miles to go
Local jazz favorite Miles Osland has an especially full performance weekend at hand.
As co-director of the Kentucky Jazz Repertory Orchestra, he will team Friday night with the Kentucky Spiritual Ensemble for the Duke Ellington Jazz Series at the Lyric Theatre and Cultural Center, 300 East Third Street. (8 p.m. $25 $45. (859) 280-2218. Lexingtonlyric.com.)
On Sunday, Osland presents a one-man band project that he toured around the Southeast last fall while on sabbatical from duties at the University of Kentucky's jazz studies program. Titled Some of My Favorite Things, the concert has Osland playing live saxophone alongside remixed recordings by the many local jazz groups he has spearheaded over the past two-plus decades, includes the Kentucky Jazz Repertory Orchestra, the Osland/Dailey Sextet, the DiMartino/Osland Jazz Orchestra, the UK Jazz Ensemble and more. The 7:30 p.m. performance at the Singletary Center for the Arts' Recital Hall is free.
Finally, the full, live, swinging version of the DiMartino/Osland Jazz Orchestra continues its monthly residency at Comedy Off Broadway on Monday with a performance that also enlists the Lafayette High School Jazz Ensemble. (7:15 p.m. $8, $5 students. (859) 271-5653. Comedyoffbroadway.com.)
What a Deal
She is the high-profile co-founder of The Breeders. He is a recording engineer, producer and mainstay member of Ampline. She hails from Dayton, Ohio; he lives in Dayton, Ky. Kelley Deal and Mike Montgomery make up a folk/pop/what-have-you duo side project known as R. Ring, which plays two local shows Saturday: a free in-store set at CD Central (5 p.m.) and a full evening show at The Green Lantern, 497 West Third Street, with The Swells and Black Swans (10:30 p.m., $8, (859) 252-9539).