Music News & Reviews

He's got The writerly stuff

Chris Knight

8 p.m. March 14 at The Dame, 367 East Main. $15. (859) 231-7263.

The pride of the Western Kentucky coal town Slaughters has always been a big hit here. In fact, most any time Chris Knight sets up a tune with vocals that sound like those of John Mellencamp's evil twin and lyrics that seem as if they were pulled from the deepest, darkest drug days of Steve Earle, fans will follow.

So it stands to reason that when Knight returns to The Dame on Saturday, enthusiasts of his literate but often harrowing rural rock 'n' roll will turn out. Bank on it.

What has been especially cool is the accolades that Knight has been picking up outside the Bluegrass of late. Texas, especially, has become a fertile fan base for the singer.

Austin-based writer Rob Patterson, in a review reprinted on Knight's Web site, has offered this appraisal of Knight and his recent album, Heart of Stone:

"Chris Knight is the best damn songwriter in country music, and I'll stand on Steve Earle's coffee table in my punk-rock creepers and say that."

Tyrannosaurus Dex

Roughly two decades ago, back in the dinosaur days of indie rock, Dex Romweber roamed the earth as half of a ferocious rock-and-roots guitar/drum twosome called Flat Duo Jets. This weekend, a newer, more learned duo featuring the North Carolina rocker, the Dex Romweber Duo, hits our area. Romweber discusses his newer music in Sunday's Arts and Life section before taking the stage at The Dame that night (8 p.m. $8. (859) 231-7263.

For those who can't wait, though, the Romweber Duo will perform Saturday at The Southgate House, 23 East Third Street in Covington (9 p.m. $8. (859) 431-2201.

Shout and Samuel

From the land of Lansing, Mich., comes Shout Sister Shout, an ensemble that spins a retro jazz sound devoted to the swing and blues of early Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald, with prairie accents of pedal steel guitar. In other words, the swing of this troupe heads in all directions. Singer Rachael Davis needs no navigational finder, though. Her singing style is light, focused and soulful but never imitative in ways that zap the credibility of so many retro-inclined vocalists. Davis and the rest of the Sister Shout-ers will be featured at Monday's taping of WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour at The Kentucky Theatre, 214 East Main Street.

Also on the program will be Samuel James, a Maine multi-instrumentalist (finger-style guitar seems to be his specialty, though). His preference of pre-war blues inspirations brings to mind another James, the famed Delta bluesman Skip James. The two aren't related except by their music (7 p.m. $10. (859) 252-8888.

Paddy funk

Should jigs, leprechauns and green beer prove not to be your speed this St. Patrick's Day, let us recommend this road trip alternative. The Southgate House in Newport will host a Tuesday concert featuring earthy New Orleans groove music from the next generation of the Neville family. In the spotlight will be keyboardist Ivan Neville, son of vocal great Aaron Neville. The band will be Dumpstafunk, a quintet that boasts cousin Ian Neville, son of Art Neville, along with players who have clocked time with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Harry Connick Jr. The band has released only a 2007 indie EP disc titled Listen Hear, but its sweaty funk more than recalls papa Art's great rhythm troupe The Meters (9 p.m. $12 in advance, $15 day of show. (859) 431-2201.

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