Jeff Austin Band
Jeff Austin isn’t one to let the bluegrass grow under his feet. The Yonder Mountain String Band alum made his solo debut in Lexington as recently as November. On Friday night, he is back to cement his own string sound — one rooted in bluegrass instrumentation but stylistically all over the map — at Cosmic Charlie’s.
“The main difference between what I’m doing now and what I did before is we really dig deeply into the lows and the highs,” Austin said before the November performance (also at Cosmic Charlies). “What I mean by that is I’ve learned as I’ve grown up and moved on that you don’t have to be blasting at full throttle all the time. You can play with tempos and grooves and volume — dynamics, really — of everything rhythmic and sonic.”
Progressive jam turns, brassy undercurrents and even country accents made The Simple Truth feel like an emancipation for the string band-savvy Austin. But his current band — banjoist Ryan Cavanaugh (who replaced the vanguard instrumentalist Danny Barnes last summer), guitarist Ross Martin and bassist Eric Thorin — have built extensively on the repertoire while streamlining the scope of Austin’s post-Yonder music. Recording sessions for new material were slated for this past winter, with a possibility of hearing a new recording as soon as summertime.
The venerable bluegrass troupe Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver was all set to head to Lexington on Feb. 15 when Mother Nature intervened. The sour Valentines Day weather here was far worse in Appomattox, Va., where the band performed a Sunday afternoon show. Travel plans were scrapped, causing a last-minute postponement of the WoodSongs appearance that Lawson and company were to make with the all-female Eastern Kentucky troupe Coaltown Dixie (purveyors of what it terms “high-heeled bluegrass”).
Speaking of postponements, last week’s WoodSongs outing with Los Lonely Boys also had to be rescheduled (the announcement was made the evening before the March 14 taping) because guitarist/vocalist Henry Garza was ill. A makeup date is planned but hasn’t been announced.
Counting Crow shows
What’s better than one night out with Old Crow Medicine Show? You guessed it: a second. The renegade string band returns to Lexington after an extended absence with a two-night engagement at the Singletary Center for the Arts, 405 Rose Street, on Wednesday and Thursday. The Thursday performance has been sold out for months, but tickets remain for the Wednesday outing (8 p.m.; $39.50 in advance, $42 day of show). Parker Millsap will open both shows.
Old Crow co-founder and multi-instrumentalist Critter Fuqua will discuss the current doings of the Crow crew in Saturday’s Living section of the Herald-Leader. For tickets, call 859-257-4929 or go to Singletarycenter.com.
‘World Boogie’ men
Amazingly, 2016 is the 20th anniversary of the North Mississippi All-Stars, whose self-proclaimed “world boogie” sound, a variation of swampy hill country blues music, has long been the musical calling card of brothers Luther and Cody Dickinson. The band used to be a regular in Lexington clubs but has absent in recent years. A late-week road trip Thursday to the ultra-intimate Bomhard Theatre of the Kentucky Center for the Arts, 501 West Main Street in Louisville, will satisfy all of your world boogie cravings (8 p.m., $27.50). Danielle Nicole will open with a solo set and then play bass with the Dickinsons. Call 1-800-775-7777 or go to Kentuckycenter.org.
Read Walter Tunis’ blog, The Musical Box, at LexGo.com