Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out
3 and 7 p.m. Jan. 19 at Meadowgreen Park Music Hall, 303 Bluegrass Ln. in Clay City. $15. (606) 663-9008. Kyfriends.com.
A few times each summer, at the height of bluegrass festival season, we are given several opportunities to experience Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out in concert. The performance visits have become so frequent, in fact, that you can almost consider the players honorary Kentuckians.
As such, a pair of IIIrd Tyme Out shows this weekend in Clay City might not seem like such a big deal. After all, why journey out in the dead of winter to see an ensemble you can catch in the heart of every summer?
Well, for starters, guitarist and three-time International Bluegrass Music Association Male Vocalist of the Year Moore, along with the rest of IIIrd Tyme Out — banjoist Steve Dilling, mandolinist Wayne Benson, fiddler Justen Haynes and bassist Edgar Loudermilk — are usually restricted to bite-size hourlong (or shorter) sets at festival shows.
Also with the glorious festival weather, you get storms, bugs and, especially last year, monstrous heat. All that will change this weekend. IIIrd Tyme Out will play two full shows in the great indoors of Meadowgreen Park Music Hall. The outdoor elements shouldn't be a factor this time.
Regardless of the setting, Saturday is also a fine time to catch IIIrd Tyme Out in action.
The band is promoting a new recording, Timeless Hits From the Past ... Bluegrassed. The title refers to the group's frequent preference for mining material from country and even vintage pop terrain.
Timeless offers harmony-rich string-band revisions of country classics such as Mama Tried, Gentle on My Mind and My Window Faces the South. But there is also a new recording of Only You, the Platters doo-wop staple that set the standard nearly 15 years ago for the kind of genre-jumping that has to define IIIrd Tyme Out's repertoire today.
Johnny Browning and Cornbread Express will open each of the group's Clay City shows Saturday.
'WoodSongs' at the Lyric
World-class bluegrass music also will play a role when WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour makes its delayed debut at the Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center on Monday.
Performing will be veteran Southern blues, soul and funk singer Bobby Rush. We'll hear more from him in this weekend's Living Sunday section. But completing the bill will be acclaimed fiddler Michael Cleveland and his band Flamekeeper. (6:45 p.m, $10. Reservations required: (859) 252-8888. Woodsongs.com.)
Cleveland has been a regional favorite for years. He made numerous Lexington-area appearances as a member of Rhonda Vincent and the Rage before striking out on his own. Cleveland also won IBMA honors as Fiddle Player of the Year nine times, and Flamekeeper took Instrumental Group of the Year honors in 2010.
WoodSongs' inauguration at the Lyric marks the first of two celebratory weeks for the show. The program will present its 700th broadcast Jan. 28, featuring modern-day swing sensation Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. More on that next weekend.
■ The Jompson Brothers are back in town this weekend. And, no, there are still no siblings and no one named Jompson within its ranks. Instead, manning the band's huge Southern-steeped rock and roots sound is Paintsville native Chris Stapleton, formerly of country/ Americana faves The Steeldrivers. Stapleton boasts vocal ammunition that meshes old-school roadhouse immediacy with amped-up arena-rock intensity. Yet there is still a country streak throughout the band's thud and thunder. Hear for yourself when the Jompsons perform Friday at Cosmic Charlie's, 388 Woodland Avenue. (10 p.m. $12. (859) 309-9499. Cosmic-charlies.com.)
■ Lexington native Shelly Rann has been making a hearty go of it in Nashville in recent years as a recording session vocalist, songwriter and performer who has shared concert bills with Vince Gill and Trace Adkins, among others. On Sunday, she brings her music back home for a concert at Natasha's Bistro, 112 Esplanade. (8 p.m. $10. (859) 259-2754. Beetnik.com.) Julia Knight will open.
Also of note at Natasha's is a show Wednesday by Diana Chittester. The Cleveland guitarist/singer has a rich, percussive playing style and a singing voice that drapes her folkish tunes with rockish accents. Chittester delivered a fine opening set at Natasha's for Nellie McKay this month. (9 p.m. $7.)