Music News & Reviews

Walter Tunis: Literally, the show is Exile in the mountain

We knew them when: Exile members from left: Steve Goetzman, Les Taylor, Sonny LeMaire, Marlon Hargis and J.P. Pennington.
We knew them when: Exile members from left: Steve Goetzman, Les Taylor, Sonny LeMaire, Marlon Hargis and J.P. Pennington.

Exile in the Mountain

5 p.m. Sept. 27 at Highbridge Cave, 3830 High Bridge Rd. in Wilmore. $25. (859) 280-2218.

In seems more than apt that the latest performance event to feature one of Central Kentucky's most longstanding pop and country ensembles would bear the title Exile in the Mountain. After all, with a career spanning more than half a century, Exile is pretty much the Mount Rushmore of Bluegrass area bands.

The literal translation of the event refers to the fact that the band's Sunday show for the Troubadour Concert Series won't be taking place in its usual performance home of the Lyric Theatre (although the venue will still be handling ticket sales). Instead, it will be staged inside the office-headquarters of Highbridge Spring Water (the series' principal sponsor), which is located in a Wilmore cave.

Keep a few things in mind if you take in this unique presentation. First, all tickets are general admission. Also, as the Highbridge Cave is not, by design, a traditional concert venue, you will need to bring your own seat. Lawn chairs are recommended. Finally, note the 5 p.m. curtain time, which differs from most concert kickoffs.

Exile has existed in many configurations since it formed in the Richmond area in 1963. The current roster features the same lineup — group founder J. P. Pennington, Les Taylor, Sonny LeMaire, Marlon Hargis and Steve Goetzman — that transformed the band into a powerful contemporary country music force during the 1980s with an extended string of hits that included Give Me One More Chance, She's a Miracle and Woke Up in Love.

Though this Exile incarnation started to splinter at the end of the '80s, its reunion began in 2008. The band has been touring regularly ever since.

Wax Fang, Lee Baines III & The Glory Fires and PUJOL

10 p.m. Sept, 25 at Cosmic Charlie's, 388 Woodland Ave. $10. (859) 309-9499.

During the golden age of The Dame, especially at its initial West Main location that is now part of the CentrePointe site, Wax Fang became one of the more popular — and regularly booked — attractions from neighboring Louisville.

A favorite and frequent touring partner of fellow Derby City celeb act My Morning Jacket, Wax Fang mixed prog-ish themes with a dash of psychedelia, scorched pop and power trio drive.

The band was a Dame regular right up to the time the original venue was closed and demolished in August 2008. While there have been visits to other locales since then, Wax Fang has been on a live performance hiatus for some time.

The remaining members — Scott Carney (the band began in 2005 as a solo project for the producer, multi-instrumentalist and composer) and bassist Jacob Heustis — bring Wax Fang back to Lexington with help from Corey McAfee (a collaborator on the band's 2014 self-described "space rock opera" The Astronaut) for a performance Friday night at Cosmic Charlie's.

Shemekia Copeland

7:30 p.m. Sept. 29 at the Grand Theatre, 308 St. Clair in Frankfort. $20-$35. (502) 352-7469.

Shemekia Copeland was still a teenager when her debut album Turn the Heat Up! introduced her gale force singing to the blues world in 1998. Now, at age 36, the Harlem-born vocalist and officially recognized Queen of the Blues (a title inherited from one of her foremost mentors, the late Koko Taylor) has released a wonderfully expansive new recording called Outskirts of Love.

The album, which returns her to Chicago's esteemed Alligator Records for the first time in nearly a decade, has the singer honoring the music and inspirations of her legendary father Johnny Copeland (with a cover of Devil's Hand), early ZZ Top (a gritty and highly appropriate take on Jesus Just Left Chicago complete with Billy F. Gibbons guesting on guitar), John Fogerty (a faithful rendition of the glowing Creedence Clearwater Revival gospel-blues reflection Long As I Can See the Light) and Albert King (a lean, rockish take on Wrapped Up In Love Again).

Outskirts of Love marks the third consecutive recording to sport Oliver Wood (of The Wood Brothers) as producer. It also comes to us a mere nine months following Copeland's last Lexington appearance, a Christmastime show at Natasha's Bistro. Adding to the fun that night was a groove-centric cover of Lucinda Williams' Can't Let Go and the riotous Big Brand New Religion, a sort of Pentecostal Beatles rave-up.

The Queen is back in our region next week with a Tuesday performance at the Grand Theatre in Frankfort.