Music News & Reviews

Fully healed, Chris Stapleton resumes Road Show tour at Riverbend

Chris Stapleton is scheduled for a sold-out concert Friday at Riverbend Music Center in Cincinnati.
Chris Stapleton is scheduled for a sold-out concert Friday at Riverbend Music Center in Cincinnati.

Chris Stapleton / Anderson East / Lucie Silvas

7 p.m. Sept. 8 at Riverbend Music Center, 6295 Kellogg Ave. in Cincinnati. Sold Out.,

The road show has resumed. After a broken bone and a detached tendon in his right index finger derailed his summer-long tour dubbed the All American Road Show, Kentucky’s own Chris Stapleton is back on the road and back in our area this weekend.

There is a downside to this, though. His concert Friday night at Riverbend is sold out. But if you’re holding tickets for the Road Show’s original June 16 date, you’re good. They will be honored Friday night.

The Lexington-born, Paintsville area-raised Stapleton remains one of the true curiosities of contemporary country music, largely because his traditionalist roots seem to run contrary to songs he penned that were cut by the likes of Luke Bryan, Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley and that popular songstress who lives just outside of Nashville, Adele.

The music on his 2015 Grammy-winning debut album, “Traveller,” and this year’s follow-up, “From a Room, Volume 1,” travels a decidedly old-school country path, from the hit cover of the David Allan Coe/George Jones single “Tennessee Whiskey” (from “Traveller”) to the dark, blues-ravaged soul of “I Was Wrong” (off “From a Room, Volume 1”).

It’s a mix that country fans of today, even those enamored with pop-directed sounds have taken to in truckloads. More than 2½ years after its release, “Traveller” sits at No. 2 on Billboard’s Hot Country Albums chart this week. “From a Room, Volume 1” checks in at No. 9.

Such lasting popularity of past product suggests that there is no rush for Stapleton to issue “From a Room, Volume 2,” which initially was set to surface this fall. No release date for the album has been announced.

Don’t have a ticket? Well, here’s a modest consolation prize. Stapleton, along with country vet Alan Jackson, has been added to the performance roster for the 11th Annual Academy of Country Music Honors, airing at 9 p.m. Sept. 15 on CBS-TV.

Martina McBride, shown in June 2016 at LakeShake in Chicago, performs Friday at Norton Center for the Arts in Danville. Rob Grabowski Rob Grabowski/Invision/AP

Martina McBride

8 p.m. Sept. 8 at the Norton Center for the Arts at Centre College, 600 West Walnut St. in Danville. $59-$99. 877-448-7469, 859-236-4692.,

Freda Payne

7:30 p.m. Sept. 8 at the Grand Theatre, 308 St. Clair St. in Frankfort. $30-$45. 502-352-7469.,

Nikki Hill

9:30 p.m. Sept. 8 at Willie’s Locally Known, 286 Southland Dr. $10. 859-281-1116.,

This is what you call a ladies’ night: three shows in three cities by celebrity female artists representing three genres (and more) all on the same evening.

Country star Martina McBride leads the charge with a Danville concert at the Norton Center for the Arts. The timing and length of her popularity coincided with that of another leading country lady, Shania Twain, but McBride eschewed the latter’s glammed-out image in favor of a streamlined sound that hit big in Nashville (through singles including “Independence Day,” “Wild Angels” and “A Broken Wing”) and in the pop world (the 1998 collaboration with Jim Brickman, “Valentine”). McBride’s most recent album in 2016’s “Reckless.”

In Frankfort, the Grand Theatre hosts an evening with Freda Payne, a singer whose popularity has stretched through five decades and has run from vintage soul to disco to contemporary works along with stints as a film actress. For many fans, though, Payne’s extensive career comes down to a single song: the 1970 crossover smash “Band of Gold.” The hit was the highlight of her stay at Detroit-based Invictus Records and defined the vocal sound that she would carry into pop, soul, jazz and more in the decades that followed.

The ladies’ night troika is completed by a locally familiar name: Nikki Hill, the North Carolina-based, soul-inspired rock ’n’ roll stylist who is as at home with a juke-joint romp as she is with an AC/DC cover. One of the featured acts at this year’s Well Crafted Festival in Harrodsburg, Hill returns Friday night to Willie’s Locally Known, the venue that established her loyal Lexington audience.

Blind Boys of Alabama

6:45 p.m. Sept. 11 at the Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center, 300 E. Third St. $20. 859-280-2218.,

The McLain Family Band/Country Curren/Parker Hastings

6:15 p.m. Sept. 14 at Phelps-Stokes Auditorium of Berea College, 212 Chestnut St. in Berea. $10. 859-280-2218.,

A busy week awaits the “WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour.” Michael Johnathon’s weekly live music program is about to tape a total of three shows over two nights in two cities.

Monday brings the famed Blind Boys of Alabama back to the Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center for a program promoting the group’s new album, “Almost Home,” a record boasting new works co-written with Randall Bramblett and the North Mississippi All-Stars along with classics by Bob Dylan (“I Shall Be Released”) and Billy Joe Shaver (“Live Forever”).

Then on Thursday, the program moves to the Phelps-Stokes Chapel of Berea College for back-to-back tapings. The first program features the U.S. Navy’s country-bluegrass troupe Country Currant, along with Richmond-based thumb-picking guitar champion Parker Hastings. The second will be devoted to the 50th anniversary of the Knott County-born, traditional music-rooted McLain Family Band. The $10 ticket price covers both shows.

Read Walter Tunis’ blog, The Musical Box, at