Music News & Reviews

Take a look: Lexington’s music scene is about to get crazy busy

Southern Culture on the Skids -- drummer Dave Hartman, bassist/vocalist Mary Huff and guitarist/vocalist Rick Miller, -- will be at Cosmic Charlie’s.
Southern Culture on the Skids -- drummer Dave Hartman, bassist/vocalist Mary Huff and guitarist/vocalist Rick Miller, -- will be at Cosmic Charlie’s.

Is the busiest concert weekend (and week ahead) of the autumn at hand? Very likely. A full fall harvest of shows is at our doorstep. From jazz to bluegrass to rock ‘n’ roll, here’s the rundown.

Southern Culture on the Skids

8 p.m. Oct. 18 at Cosmic Charlie’s, 105 W. Loudon Ave. $17. 859-475-6096.,

Amazingly, Southern Culture on the Skids has been serving up hefty helpings of swampy and purposely lowbrow roots-rock for over 35 years, much of it with the same line-up (guitarist/vocalist Rick Miller, bassist/vocalist Mary Huff and drummer Dave Hartman.) The North Carolina trio returns to town this weekend with an album to showcase called “Bootleggers Choice,” a project that compiles new recordings of the band’s out-of-print tunes. But for those already in a Halloween mood, check out 1998’s “Zombiefied,” a disc full of horror-themed fun.

Chris Knight

8 p.m. Oct. 19 at Manchester Music Hall, 899 Manchester St.. $25, $30. 859-537-7321.,

One of Kentucky’s own is back on home state turf this weekend. Heartland rocker Chris Knight, who grew up in the Western Kentucky town of Slaughters, performs at Manchester Music Hall to promote his first album of new songs in seven years.

Knight has long possessed a sound that approximates the rurally themed songwriting and scratchy Americana singing of John Mellencamp. The new “Almost Daylight” album won’t dispel those comparisons in songs like the world-weary “Send It On Down” and a cover of John Prine’s “Mexican Home” that features help from the song’s celebrated composer.

UK Jazz 30/50 Celebration

7:30 p.m. Oct. 18 at the Singletary Center for the Arts Concert Hall, 405 Rose St. $5, $12. 859-257-4929.

Amanda Gardier

7 and 9:15 p.m. Oct. 18 at Tee Dee’s Bluegrass Progressive Club, 266 East Second. $15, $25.,

Pascal Niggenkemper

7 p.m. Oct. 19 at The Cats Den at the Gatton Student Center, 160 Avenue of Champions on the University of Kentucky Campus. Free.

Feel like a jazz show? How about three of them?

At the Singletary Center, the University of Kentucky Jazz Ensemble celebrates two major milestones – the 30-year anniversary of current director Miles Osland and the 50-year mark of the ensemble itself.

To celebrate, the current ensemble lineup, along with a group of alumni members, will perform under the direction of Osland and his two esteemed predecessors – Vince DiMartino and Harry Clarke.

The same night (Friday), the Origins Jazz Series offers the second performance of its third season with an outing featuring Indianapolis saxophonist Amanda Gardier at Tee Dee’s Bluegrass Progressive Club. Gardier’s newest album, “Empathy,” possesses a lyrical and efficiently rhythmic sound (check out “Fjord” as an example) built around Gardier’s alto sax leads.

The Outside the Spotlight Series get in on the fun on Saturday with a free solo performance by Franco-German bassist Pascal Niggenkemper at the University of Kentucky’s Gatton Student Center (specifically, the Cat’s Den). A sometimes collaborator with such frequent OTS performers as Dave Rempis and Joe McPhee, Niggenkemper’s solo performance explore areas of free improvisation with a variety of bowed and percussive techniques.

Charlie Hunter and Lucy Woodward/Gina Chavez

6:45 p.m. Oct. 21 at the Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center, 300 East Third for the WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour. $10. 859-280-2218.

Speaking of jazz, Monday brings the first Lexington appearance by Charlie Hunter in over decade. Known for stylistic adventures on six, seven and even eight string guitars that include bass capabilities, Hunter is now co-leading a project with vocalist Lucy Woodward (who has collaborated with, among others, Rod Stewart and Pink Martini).

The two, who usually perform in a trio with drummer Keita Ogawa, have released an album titled “Music! Music! Music!” that reimagines songs penned and/or popularized by such disparate artists as Nina Simone, Lucinda Williams, Blind Willie Johnson and Terence Trent D’Arby.

Tim O’Brien with Jan Fabricius

7:30 p.m. Oct. 24 at the Kentucky Castle, 230 Pisgah Pike in Versailles. $35, $ 95. 859-256-0322.,

Back in March, bluegrass/Americana journeyman Tim O’Brien was in Lexington showcasing the songs and musicianship of his newly formed Tim O’Brien Band. For the singer and multi-instrumentalist, the ensemble marked the latest chapter in a four decade career that has taken him from the famed Colorado bluegrass troupe Hot Rize to more folk-inspired duo settings with Darrell Scott and Bryan Sutton to a role in the formation of the all-star bluegrass tribute troupe The Earls of Leicester.

On Oct. 24, O’Brien will be back for another round, only this time his lone accomplice will be Tim O’Brien Band vocalist/mandolinist Jan Fabricus. The duo show will close the current Concerts at the Castle season at the Kentucky Castle.