WUKY Phoenix Fridays with Jukebox the Ghost, Jarkekus Singleton, Northside Sheiks
5 p.m. Sept. 26 at Phoenix Park, S. Limetone and W. Main. Free. (859) 257-3221.
A helping of D.C.-bred indie pop, a slice of Mississippi-bred blues and a side dish of vintage soul and blues grown right here in Lexington — that's the menu for the last installment of WUKY-FM's inaugural Phoenix Fridays concert series.
Topping Friday night's lineup will be the Washington, D.C. trio Jukebox the Ghost. Now working out of New York, keyboardist and vocalist Ben Thornewill, guitarist, bassist and vocalist Tommy Siegel and drummer Jesse Kristin are gearing up for the Oct. 21 release of Jukebox, the Ghost's self-titled fourth album. Radio has been spinning the record's initial single, an alert and atypically sunny (for the band) bit of piano-pop with a dash of gospel spice titled The Great Unknown, since June.
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If the rest of the album is as accessible as the single, then Jukebox could be as big a stylistic departure from the trio's preceding album, 2012's more introspectively inclined Safe Travels, as that work was from initial recordings that mixed darker, more fantasy-laced themes with ear-catching pop melodies.
Should you hear a passing resemblance in Jukebox the Ghost to Ben Folds, don't be surprised. Folds took the trio on as an opener for a tour in 2009. Jukebox the Ghost also has shared stages with Barenaked Ladies and Jack's Mannequin, and it has been part of festival bills at Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo.
The blues portion of the show — or one of the blues portions — comes courtesy of Jarkekus Singleton. Although he issued an indie debut album, Heartfelt, in 2011, his new album, Refuse to Lose, on Chicago's heralded Alligator label, is a more formal introduction of a potent contemporary blues force.
The album's title tune traces the solitary studies of blues tradition that Singleton engaged in when forging his playing style but then fast-forwards to the excitement experienced as audiences began keying into his music. He whittles the entire journey down to a single line in the song: "I tuned the world out, now the world is tuning in."
A capable vocalist with enough preference for churchy soul to bring blues crossover star Robert Cray to mind (especially in such Refuse to Loose songs as Crime Scene), Singleton might favor a sound that is often modern. But tradition sprouts about the record, too, from the fat, jagged guitar sound on Gonna Let Go that recalls the great Albert King to the summery country blues stroll on Blame Game.
Try to get downtown by the 5 p.m. start time to catch an opening set by the Northside Sheiks. The band of local pros maintains a weekly residency at Willie's Locally Known that dips generously into decades-old soul, blues and R&B fare.
While we're at it, let's wish for inviting skies tonight. August's Phoenix Friday was subjected to what was arguably the summer's most intense and prolonged thunderstorm. Here's hoping that one of the most welcome additions to Lexington's summer music calendar is afforded a fine fall sendoff.
Love a parade
With a smart new Americana-and-more album called Strangers, The David Mayfield Parade returns to town for some Friday fun at Cosmic Charlie's, 388 Woodland Ave. (10 p.m., $10). The record, Mayfield's first for the champion Nashville label Compass, touches on elements of Celtic and country mutation, folkish narratives and intermittent touches of regal pop. Check out Ohio is Fake for an especially inventive instance of folk-pop fusion. But it's always the kind of vaudeville cheer Mayfield injects into his recordings and concerts that makes his music so inviting and distinctive.
For ticket info, call (859) 309-9499 or go to Cosmic-charlies.com.