Black Stone Cherry
Opening: Caleb Johnson, Through Fire. 8 p.m. March 10 at Manchester Music Hall, 899 Manchester St. $30, $35. 859-537-7321. Manchestermusichall.com.
Opening: Jordan Rager, Avery Glenn Crabtree. 7:15 p.m. March 11 at Manchester Music Hall, 899 Manchester St. $19.80, $28. 859-537-7321. Manchestermusichall.com.
One show represents the hard electric offshoot of one of Kentucky’s more beloved blues, rock and country institutions. The other features the very face of modern country itself. Together, they make up a full weekend at Manchester Music Hall.
Friday night marks the return of Black Stone Cherry, the Edmonton-rooted troupe forever linked to the Kentucky HeadHunters (drummer John Fred Young is the son and nephew of, respectively, co-founders Richard Young and Fred Young) but with a sound driven far more by contemporary guitar rock. The band is touring behind its 2016 album, “Kentucky,” which was cut in the same Glasgow studio of veteran regional engineer and producer Dave Barrick where Black Stone Cherry’s self-titled 2006 album was made.
Then on Saturday, country star Eric Paslay plays Manchester. The Texas native has been a frequent fixture among Lexington country music events including the summertime Red, White & Boom festival and the most recent installment of the wintertime Acoustic Jam. This marks his first headlining show, though, which is likely to include the radio-ready hits “Friday Night” and “Angels in This Town.”
George Winston/The Outside Track
After a 40-plus-year career, one might suspect that the world would have committed every artistic detail about George Winston to memory.
A genre-defying pianist who paints often pastoral instrumental portraits inspired heavily by his Montana upbringing, Winston has made no secret of championing his source material: The New Orleans stride pianist Henry Butler (for whom he produced two albums), the vanguard jazz pianist Vince Guaraldi and rock stalwarts The Doors have all figured highly in Winston’s playing. He addressed the music of the last two directly on several tribute recordings — 1996’s “Linus and Lucy: The Music of Vince Guaraldi,” 2002’s “Night Divides the Day: The Music of The Doors” and 2010’s “Love Will Come: Vince Guaraldi, Volume 2.”
For many fans, though, the seasonal inspirations behind his early Windham Hill albums — 1980’s “Autumn,” 1982’s “Winter into Spring” and especially the stark 1982 holiday set “December” — defined the immensely impressionistic tone of Winston’s piano approach.
Perhaps less familiar have been the benefit recordings that have peppered Winston’s catalog through the years — specifically, the 9/11-inspired “Remembrance” and the two-volume “Gulf Coast Blues and Impressions” (the first dedicated to Hurricane Katrina relief, the second a fundraiser for the Louisiana Wetlands).
Winston’s next benefit project, though, is far more personally grounded. Due out March 31, “Spring Carousel” is comprised of 15 solo piano pieces that Winston composed while recovering from a bone marrow transplant for Myelodysplastic Syndrome.
The pianist was hospitalized after a September 2012 concert in Idaho and underwent his transplant two months later.
The specific beneficiary of “Spring Carousel” will be City of Hope, the Southern California cancer treatment center where Winston received his transplant and spent much of his recovery time. Winston regularly played the hospital auditorium’s piano at night during his convalescence. He wrote nearly 60 songs during that period.
The pianist will showcase his new music with a return performance for the “WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour” at the Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center on Monday (he last was a guest of the program in 2010). Also on the bill will be the cross-continental Celtic ensemble The Outside Track.
Altering the stylistic landscape altogether will be a free Berea College concert on Thursday by Carlos Nuñez.
A native of the Celtic region of Spain known as Galicia, Nuñez’s primary instrument of choice is a native bagpipe variant called the gaita, although his recordings are frequently colored by whistle, flute, bombard and more. He has recorded extensively on his own, but his primary exposure in this country has come through extensive work with Irish music mainstay The Chieftains. He has toured extensively with the band and was generously featured in its Grammy-winning 1996 album, “Santiago,” a record devoted exclusively to Galicia-inspired music.
Nuñez’s performance is part of the Berea College’s Stephenson Memorial Concert series.
The good news? Alt-pop priestess Neko Case is performing in the area this weekend, although a road trip to Headliners Music Hall, 1386 Lexington Road in Louisville, will be required to take in the show. The down side? The Saturday concert is sold out. For the fortunate ones with tickets, showtime is 8 p.m., with an opening set by Sean Rowe. Call 502-584-8088 or go to Headlinerslouisville.com.