Music News & Reviews

Bill Bill Morganfield headlines a busy blues lineup this weekend

Big Bill Morganfield gives two Lexington performances this weekend.
Big Bill Morganfield gives two Lexington performances this weekend.

Big Bill Morganfield/G. Busy Blues Revue

8:30 p.m. Dec. 11 at Bar Lexington, 373 E. Main St. $10, $12. (859) 523-7694.

3 p.m. Dec. 12 at Tee Dee's Progressive Club, 266 E. Second St. $10.

Nick Stump Blues All-Stars with the Tempura Horns

9 p.m. Dec. 10 at Natasha's Bistro, 112 Esplanade. $9. (859) 259-2754.

Duke Robillard

7 p.m. Dec. 10 at Jim Porter's, 2345 Lexington Rd., Louisville. $10. (502) 452-9532.

The predominant colors of the season might be red, gold and green, but the hue switches dramatically to blue this weekend. In other words, if you don't have the holiday blues by now, you will, in a most agreeable way, by Monday morning.

First we have a pair of return performances by guitarist Big Bill Morganfield. The son of blues icon Muddy Waters, Morganfield is a primarily self-taught instrumentalist who balanced his formative years as a player by teaching public school English in Atlanta. His father's historic merger of Delta blues and electric Chicago roots music has its place in Morganfield's playing, but so does a far-reaching array of influences — including blues pioneer Robert Johnson and blues-rock guitar chieftain Lonnie Mack.

That takes care of Saturday and Sunday — a rare instance when a touring artist plays two local venues in a single weekend. But the blues party starts Friday.

At Natasha's, one of the region's most familiar blues voices is back with a big, brassy holiday treat. Guitarist Nick Stump, a blues and country blues mainstay of Central Kentucky throughout the '80s and '90s as a principal member of Metropolitan Blues All-Stars, is back with his current band and a pack of Louisville horn men known as the Tempura Horns.

Among the Tempura ranks is saxophonist Mike Murphy, who played Lexington haunts in the early '90s as a member of Another Mule before touring the country in Hank Williams Jr.'s band, and trombonist Donn Adams, who performed in Lexington frequently over the years as an auxiliary member of NRBQ.

Speaking of Louisville, if holiday plans happen to take you to Derby City this weekend, try to take in Friday's performance by guitarist Duke Robillard. A founding member of Roomful of Blues, Robillard favors a mix of roots and swing styles that have made him one of the most sought-after guitar voices in or out of the blues world.

He played Louisville a few years back in the band of Tom Waits and toured through Central Kentucky during the early '90s as a member of the Fabulous Thunderbirds. He even lived in Louisville during the mid-'90s.

The rest of Robillard's dossier is ridiculously rich. It includes session work for Bob Dylan's famed Time Out of Mind album, duet recordings with stellar jazz guitarist Herb Ellis, and touring-recording collaborations with fellow blues great John Hammond. But it is the great Robillard guitar tone — a sound versed in rock, jazz, swing and vintage R&B — that will convincingly change the seasonal color to a brilliant blue this weekend.

No Lucy show

The playing field for Saturday night is now a little less crowded. Folk singer Lucy Kaplansky, who was to have performed at Natasha's Bistro, has canceled due to a family emergency. Natasha's Web site said the performance will be rescheduled in the spring.

But a show will go on.

Opening act Rachel Pearl is now officially the Saturday headliner at Natasha's, 112 Esplanade, and her 8 p.m. performance will be free. A Tennessee songstress, Pearl will be showcasing jazz and folk-favored material from her new Keepin' It Old School album. For reservations, call (859) 259-2754.

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