WUKY Phoenix Fridays featuring Turbo Fruits
Opening: The Vespers, Coralee and the Townies. 5 p.m. Aug. 21 at Phoenix Park, Main and Limestone. Free. (859) 257-3221. WUKY.org.
Here we have yet another indicator that summer, as we know it in the schoolwork sense, is drawing to a close. WUKY-FM's second annual Phoenix Fridays series of free monthly outdoor concerts ends now.
This weekend's finale brings to town a pair of stylistically varied Nashville acts along with a true local favorite.
The Music City express will be lead by Turbo Fruits, a troupe built around the post-punk pop of guitarist and vocalist Jonas Stein (who formed the group in 2006) and drummer Matt Hearn (the band's beat keeper since 2009).
The songs on Turbo Fruits' newest album, No Control — in particular, Don't Let Me Break Your Heart Again and The Way I Want You — are rich with pop vibrancy, bolstered by a vocabulary of infectious guitar hooks and rooted in unceremonious but highly accessible guitar rock basics. The record was produced in part by another noted Nashvillian, drummer Patrick Carney of The Black Keys, although it was largely overseen by veteran indie studio pro Jeremy Ferguson.
The other Nashville guest is the more Americana-directed quartet The Vespers, which boasts the novel personnel design of two sisters (Callie and Phoebe Cryar) and two brothers (Taylor and Bruno Jones). Guess that means the band has the sibling-harmonies element covered.
The newest album by The Vespers, released in February, is titled — perhaps unavoidably — Sisters and Brothers.
Lexington's own honky-tonk soul royals, Coralee and the Townies, round out the bill. That alone should seal the deal on how and where you will spend your Friday night.
The Outlaw Jamey
Jamey Johnson was born in 1975, the very year that the revered outlaw movement cemented around the songs of Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson, altering the direction of country music forever.
As an outlaw revivalist, Johnson leans to the traditional side, as evidenced by his outstanding 2012 tribute to the master country composer and stylist Hank Cochran, titled Living for a Song.
Johnson will put those outlaw and traditionalist spirits to work with a Saturday concert at Renfro Valley Entertainment Center, 2380 Richmond Street in Renfro Valley (8 p.m.; $40-$50). For tickets, call 1-800-765-7464 or go to Renfrovalley.com.
Last of the Hot Burritos
One of the guiding local voices in Americana music makes its final bow this weekend. The Hot Burrito Show, a weekly serving of indie and roots-driven country and more (sounds it has regularly dubbed "cosmic American music"), airs for the final time from noon to 2 p.m. Sunday on WRFL-FM 88.1.
The program, which has run continually for the past 25 years, has traced an entire generation of new and indie Americana sounds, running from the rise of so-called "alt-country" in the 1990s to the music's acceptance as a genre unto itself over the past decade.
Rob Franklin has been at the helm for the program's entire run, aided by several knowledgeable co-hosts. For many, Hot Burrito has become a Sunday brunch-time roots-music tradition. Imagining weekends without it is a sad prospect indeed, although WRFL said in a news release last weekend that it plans to carry on with a new, reformatted Americana music program. The news release also said halting the show was the decision of the show's hosts, not the station itself.
WRFL has honored Hot Burrito all week, with each of the programs on its broadcast schedule playing one Americana track in tribute to the show.