Rumpke Mountain Boys, David Gans
8 p.m. Nov. 15 at Willie's Locally Known, 805 N. Broadway. $10. (859) 281-1116. Willieslex.com.
Gram Parsons Hootenanny
8 p.m. Nov. 16 at Willie's Locally Known, $10.
Two nights of typically varied roots-savvy music are on the menu, right alongside the barbecue, this weekend at Willie's Locally Known.
Friday brings a visit from Rumpke Mountain Boys, a band whose name suggests deeply rural origins. Actually, the quartet hails from Cincinnati.
Similarly, many reviews and bios on the Rumpkes, even material on its own website, labels the foursome — mandolinist Ben Gourley, guitarist Adam Copeland, banjoist Jason Wolf and bassist J.D. Westmoreland — as a bluegrass outfit. The instrumentation upholds that tag, but much of the Rumpkes' music has a contemporary feel in mood and groove.
That explains why the band is a veteran of such jam grass summits as the All Good Festival and Harrodsburg's Terrapin Hill Harvest Festival, and why its repertoire boasts groove-laden original works and even a grassy makeover of Pink Floyd's Hey You.
The Rumpkes will be showcasing songs from its 2012 album, Trashgrass, at the show.
Also on the bill will be a name familiar to most any jam band fan, David Gans.
A veteran songsmith now living in Oakland, Calif., Gans is the host of the nationally syndicated radio program The Grateful Dead Hour, which features unreleased archival music from the legendary San Francisco band and newer recordings by all manner of Dead-related projects.
Gans' newest recording, The Ones That Look the Weirdest Taste the Best, steers away from the solo-oriented music of his recent albums to collaborate with new-generation jam band favorite Railroad Earth.
Then Saturday comes a full evening tribute to the music of Gram Parsons, the musical renegade whose work with The Byrds and The Flying Burrito Brothers during the late '60s and early '70s gave a new generational identity to country tradition. It has largely been viewed as a leading inspiration for the alt-country movement of the late '90s and the more mass-marketed Americana music of today.
Parsons' own discography is brief. Before his death in September 1973, he cut one album with The Byrds (the incendiary Sweetheart of the Rodeo), two with the Burritos (The Gilded Palace of Sin and Burrito Deluxe) and two solo records (Grievous Angel and the posthumously released GP, both of which introduced the world to a young musician named Emmylou Harris).
On Saturday, his songs will come to life through performances by such local honky-tonk heroes as The Kentucky Hoss Cats and Coralee. The folks at Willie's also promise that "special guests" will pepper the lineup.
One band man
Scott H. Biram has long been promoted as a dark Americana variation on what in musical vaudeville circles is known as the one-man band. To a degree, that label describes the efficient and sometimes brutal potency of his live shows. But Biram is as much an amalgamation of styles filtered through a single interpretive voice as he is a lone manipulator of instrumental sounds and colors.
Biram's music, particularly the tunes from his 2011 album Bad Ingredients, incorporates elements of country tradition (with themes heartwarming and heartbreaking), punkish immediacy, gospel charged blues — along with some very blue gospel — and even a touch of metal-esque guitar crunch.
Biram will show it all off Sunday at Cosmic Charlie's, 388 Woodland Avenue. ($10 p.m. $10. (859) 309-9499. Cosmic-charlies.com.)
The first major Christmas concert is upon us. Actually, it's a three-show, two-day engagement at the Lexington Opera House by the contemporary instrumentalists of Mannheim Steamroller. The performances come on the heels of tapings last weekend of a Jacksonsville, Fla., concert by the ensemble that will air Dec. 1 on NBC.
Mannheim Steamroller is the brainchild of composer Chip Davis, who still directs and co-produces the ensemble's concert tours. Its roots reach back to a series of New Age albums that began in the mid-'70s under the moniker Fresh Aire. The recordings Davis has released under the Fresh Aire and Mannheim Steamroller names have since sold more than 40 million copies worldwide. (7:30 p.m. Nov. 21, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Nov. 22. $31-$78.50. (859) 233-3535 or Ticketmaster, 1-800-745-3000 or Ticketmaster.com.)