Music News & Reviews

Anthony D’Amato at Phoenix Friday starts a busy weekend

Anthony D’Amato plays in the season’s final Phoenix Friday concert at Phoenix Park in downtown Lexington.
Anthony D’Amato plays in the season’s final Phoenix Friday concert at Phoenix Park in downtown Lexington.

Anthony D’Amato

Playing WUKY Phoenix Fridays with Derik Hultquist and Justin Wells. 5:30 p.m. Sept. 16 at Phoenix Park, Main and South Limestone. Free.,,,

He has studied with Pulitzer Prize-winning Irish poet Paul Muldoon, became one of Rolling Stone magazine’s “Top 10 New Country Artists You Need to Know” (a dubious honor of sorts considering his Americana roots reach more to the folkier side of artists like Conor Oberst, who just happens to guest on his fine new album, “Cold Snap”) and has embraced a stylistic sensibility that runs from folky reflection to vintage pop to an occasional touch of Memphis soul.

His name is Anthony D’Amato, and he will headline Friday night’s final Phoenix Fridays concert for 2016 at Phoenix Park. The show is a late addition to the free summer concert series, sponsored and organized by WUKY-FM, that was to have concluded in August.

Also on the bill will be Tennessee songsmith and Kentucky Wesleyan College graduate Derik Hultquist, whose new album, “Southern Iron,” offers an appealing blend of rich folk/pop textures with an often ghostly electric ambience, and longtime Lexington favorite Justin Wells, who is celebrating the release of his new album, “Dawn in the Distance.”.

Keller Williams

9 p.m. Sept. 16 at Cosmic Charlie’s, 388 Woodland Ave. $20.,

The original one-man jam band is back in town Friday night as Keller Williams, with his arsenal of guitar riffs, loops and delays, performs at Cosmic Charlie’s.

Williams’ good-natured groove music and his library of one-word album titles (“Buzz,” “Spun,” “Dream,” “Odd” and 2015’s “Vape”) have reshaped general jam-band designs for more than two decades. By creating looped melodies and lyrical fragments live and then adding them to the textures of his songs, Williams orchestrates his music in an atypically spontaneous way.

Of course, there also are projects in which Williams steps out into more conventional band settings, as with a quartet amusingly titled KWahtro, a groove-based trio and several bluegrass-oriented projects that include Keller and the Keels (with noted flat-picker Larry Keel and bassist/wife Jenny Keels) and Grateful Grass. Williams also has shared bills of late with elder-generation guitar journeyman Leo Kottke.

The Keels are among the invited guests on Williams’ newest recording, a five-song EP called “Bluhm,” a benefit for West Coast songwriter Tim Bluhm, who is recovering from extensive surgeries after a paragliding accident.

On Friday night, though, the focus will be on Williams alone. Of course, the layered music he stirs up on the spot will make you think he has a band behind him.


▪  Louisville calls again this weekend: Headliners Music Hall, 1386 Lexington Road, has two killer weekend performances to recommend. Friday brings in the Bob Mould Band. Mould is 55, but his raging rock trio sound has lost none of its urgency, as shown by the three remarkable Merge albums he has issued since 2012 (“Silver Age,” “Beauty & Rain” and “Patch the Sky”). Fury Things opens (8 p.m.; $22-$25). Then on Saturday, surf and twang meet roots-rock mischief as Los Straitjackets shares a bill with Louisville-born NRBQ (8 p.m., $20). For info on either show, call 502-584-8888 or go to

▪  Similarly, Willie’s Locally Known, 286 Southland Drive, has a pair of shows to brag about during the coming week. On Sept. 20, The Americans, a highly recommended Los Angeles-based, roots-driven troupe with ample soul and reverb play (9 p.m., $7). Then on Sept. 23, a pair of veteran roots-rock upstarts, Dex Romweber (of Flat Duo Jets fame) and Paducah’s own JD Wilkes (of Legendary Shack Shakers notoriety) team up. Call 859-281-1116 or go to