9 p.m. Sept. 4 at Buster's Billiards & Backroom. 899 Manchester St. $20. (859) 368-8871. Bustersbb.com.
The fabled home-state success of Chris Knight is common knowledge to his fans, especially the ones who flock to Lexington whenever the Slaughters native plays here.
But as Knight's proudly rural brand of songwriting — a style with marked and favorable comparisons to the music of John Mellencamp and Steve Earle — always seems to be attracting newer and larger audiences, the time seems right for a quick refresher course.
Knight hails from Webster County. A Western Kentucky University grad, he worked for nearly a decade as a mine-reclamation inspector. By the late '90s, while living in a single-wide, un-air-conditioned trailer in Slaughters (a town, according to Knight's bio, with a population of 238), he decided to give up the mines for songwriting. More than 12 years, seven albums and many Lexington shows later, he has become one of the country's foremost Americana songsmiths.
Other artists think highly of him, too. Central Kentucky country duo Montgomery Gentry scored a major hit with Knight's She Couldn't Change Me.
Curiously, Knight's newest album covers some of his earliest music. Trailer II is the second installment of solo acoustic demo recordings Knight cut in 1996 before the release of his debut album. These aren't scrappy field recordings, but rich and complete recitations of tunes including Love and a .45 and Send a Boat that would be fleshed out further on studio albums.
Knight has often played locally in such an unaccompanied setting. That won't be the case, though, when he visits Buster's on Saturday. He will have a full band behind him and an ever-loyal audience cheering him on.
JJ Grey and Mofro
■ 7 p.m. Sept. 3 at CD Central, 377 S. Limestone. Free. (859) 233-3472. CDcentralmusic.com.
■ 8 p.m. Sept. 3 at The Roxy in Bar Lexington, 373 E. Main St. $20, $25. (859) 523-7694.
How does a trip deep into the South sound this holiday weekend? For a destination, let's say the marshlands of Florida, where the music is as thick and humid as the air.
We're talking about two very different outings Friday night with swamp-soul rocker JJ Grey. The first is a solo acoustic set at CD Central. The second is at Bar Lexington, in the former A1A space, for a full evening of electric R&B, funk and Southern groove music, courtesy of Grey and his long-running band, Mofro.
"I like playing both ways," Grey said. "I love playing acoustic, but I also enjoy working with the full band. Both of them share a lot of the same elements, but the dynamics and focus are really different."
Grey is touring to support his new album with Mofro, Georgia Warhorse, a record ripe with vintage soul, earthy funk and deep, sweaty psychedelia. Hearing it all erupt in different settings and on different stages Friday just might prove to be the last great musical treat of the summer.
Corbin, Moore and Boone
It's Daniel Boone Pioneer Festival time again. And in keeping with the event's tradition, a double bill of major league country talent will close out the fun at 5:30 p.m. Sunday at Lykins Park, on U.S. 60 at Mount Sterling Road in Winchester.
This year, that talent should seem familiar, as both headlining artists have played Lexington this year.
Easton Corbin, an obvious disciple of George Strait- inspired traditionalism, was part of downtown's annual Red, White & Boom fest on July 4. Arkansas native Justin Moore, known for the ever-so-poetic hit I Can Kick Your Ass, shared a bill at Rupp Arena in January with Brad Paisley.($7, free for children 8 and younger. 1-800-298-9105.)