Music News & Reviews

If you forgot that Cincinnati owns bass, Freekbass is coming back to remind you

Freakbass, aka Chris Sherman, plays Cosmic Charlie’s on Jan. 19.
Freakbass, aka Chris Sherman, plays Cosmic Charlie’s on Jan. 19.

Freekbass

Opening: Luthi. 10 p.m. Jan. 19 at Cosmic Charlie’s, 723 National Ave. $10. 859-333-4817. Cosmic-charlies.com, Freekbass.com.

Cincinnati knows a little about bass. The city knows how to pump it up to monstrous levels when it comes to a designing a solid groove. After all, this is the place that gave the world Bootsy Collins.

Cincy also gave the world Chris Sherman, better known as electric bass marauder Freekbass. A formidable torchbearer to funk masters like Collins (who, incidentally, added vocals to the 2011 Freekbass tune “Funkin’ All Nite”), Sherman has been no stranger to Lexington through the years. He even recorded several projects, including his 2015 album, “Cincinnati,” not on home turf, but locally at Duane Lundy’s Shangri-La studio.

Sherman has felt right at home bringing his Freekbass persona to life on local stages, especially the one at Cosmic Charlie’s. He has been a semi-regular there through the years, whether headlining shows or the occasional cameo, including a March 2011 outing with the upstart funk and fusion band The Dead Kenny G’s.

On Friday, Freekbass returns to combat the winter blues at Cosmic Charlie’s. Luthi, a nine-member, self-described “boogie circus” from Nashville, will open.

Larry Cordle

Opening: Eric Bolander, Fate McAffe. 6:30 p.m. Jan. 21 at Willie’s Locally Known, 286 Southland Dr. 859-333-4817. Cosmic-charlies.com, Larrycordle.com.

Lawrence County native Larry Cordle has long been a songwriting staple in Nashville, penning tunes for Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, George Strait, and fellow Kentucky hero Ricky Skaggs via a chart-topping 1983 version of “Highway 40 Blues.”

Cordle also was responsible for one of the most explosive country tunes of recent decades, “Murder on Music Row,” a sobering look at Nashville’s stylistic turn away from its country roots. Cordle’s version was honored as song of the year by the International Bluegrass Music Association in 2000 before two of country’s leading marquee traditionalists, Strait and Jackson, turned it into a Top 40 hit even though their version was never released as a single.

Recent years have been especially tough for Cordle. He revealed in 2016 that he had been diagnosed with leukemia. Despite that, and subsequent chemotherapy treatments, he released a gospel album last year titled “Give Me Jesus.”

Cordle performs a benefit on Sunday at Willie’s Locally Known for the Bishop and Chase Foundation, which promotes economic and community development in under-resourced areas of Lexington.

Admission for Sunday’s concert will be a donation to the Foundation collected at the door.

Margo Price

Opening: Little Bandit. 9 p.m. Jan. 20 at Headliner’s Music Hall, 1386 Lexington Road. Sold Out. 502-584-8088. Headlinerslouisville.com, Margoprice.net.

Louisville has the top road trip concert of the weekend, but if you haven’t already bought tickets, the show will have to go on without you. Saturday’s performance at Headliners Music Hall in Louisville by honky tonk renegade Margo Price is sold out.

The Louisville date is part of Price’s Nowhere Fast Tour, which is promoting her splendid 2017 album, “All American Made.” The record furthers the indie country restlessness that fueled her 2016 debut, “Midwest Farmer’s Daughter.” Both records are swift-paced slices of cross-generational Americana drive with a vocal slant somewhere between Dolly Parton and Maria McKee, and a lyrical slant straight out of the danger zone. A sample verse from “Weakness,” the title tune to a 2017 EP disc reprised on “All American Made,” captures the mood.

“Sometimes I drink Beaujolais, sometimes I drink gin. Sometimes the whiskey does me right, sometimes it does me in.”

Midweek diversions

▪  The initial lineup of last summer’s Moontower Music Festival included the return of JJ Grey and Mofro, the Florida-bred soul and funk troupe that has played Lexington venues since the release of its debut album “Blackwater” more than 15 years ago. Replaced by the Travelin’ McCourys for the final Moontower roster, Grey and company finally make it back to town for a Wednesday show at Manchester Music Hall (7 p.m.; $25, $30). Grey discusses the evolution and the steadfast nature of the Mofro sound on LexGo.com and in Sunday’s Living section. For tickets, go to Manchestermusichall.com.

▪  On Thursday, the vintage pop, soul and swing sounds of Pokey LaFarge are back. The St. Louis song stylist has been a favorite of Lexington and Louisville audiences for years, including a rapturously received performance at the 2016 Forecastle Festival. LaFarge’s Lexington return comes on the heels of 2017’s fine “Manic Revelations,” a vintage revival recording highlighted by the melodic, brass-imbued and hook-savvy sway of “Riots in the Streets” and “Must Be a Reason” that sound as if they were cut on a summer’s evening in 1964. LaFarge performs at Cosmic Charlie’s, 723 National Ave. (8 p.m.; $17, $20) with Divino Nino opening. For tickets, go to Cosmic-charlies.com.

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