First up: Scott H. Biram, who plays Wednesday, April 20, at the Tractor, and Saturday, April 23, at the Sunset. Don't even think about using the "c" word to describe this grizzled gut-picker--his bluesy new album, The Dirty Old One Man Band, shares more in common with the Black Keys than Clint Black. Biram boasts a guttural growl that makes Tom Waits seem as smooth as Mel Tormé by comparison, and plays his down-and-dirty originals on what sounds like a cigar-box banjo amplified through a mountain of electrified Brillo pads. (Yes, that's a compliment.)
Up next: Kansas quartet Split Lip Rayfield, the only bluegrass band that could hold its own at Ozzfest. These guys hit the Tractor Friday and Saturday, April 22 and 23. Do I need to remind you that they also have the best merch in the world? Carpenter pencils, pot holders, cross-stitch kits… even shop rags. (Or, as my people call them, hankies. How hot is that? Be the first queer on your block to be flagging Split Lip Rayfield at the Eagle or the Cuff!) If you've already memorized every note of their 2004 gem, Should Have Seen It Coming, you can pick up their new live CD, recorded New Year's Eve 2004 at the Bottleneck in Lawrence, KS.
If you caught any of the media hoopla surrounding Tiger Woods' fourth win at the Masters golf tournament Sunday, April 10, you may have heard a Crescent City-style blues-funk ditty romping along in the background during TV and radio recaps. That tune, "Swing, Tiger, Swing," comes off I'm from Phunkville, the forthcoming CD by New Orleans blues guitarist Mem Shannon. Shannon touches down in Seattle this week, too, playing Friday and Saturday evening at Highway 99 Blues Club (1414 Alaskan Way). It's enough to make one brave Pioneer Square on an amateur night.
Did you plan to catch local classic-country stylist Korby Lenker at one of his Marysville or Bainbridge Island gigs this weekend? Well, sorry, you're SOL; they're cancelled. But not without just cause. Lenker is touring the British Isles for the next three weeks, in support of his recent release Bellingham. Upon his return, he heads straight for Merlefest in North Carolina, where he's a finalist in the songwriting competition. We'll catch up with Lenker and find out how his adventures turned out before his next hometown show, May 12 at the Tractor.
"Good music is alive forever," according to Seattle jazz legend Overton Berry… and here's more proof. Wheedle's Groove: Seattle's Finest in Funk & Soul 1965-1975 (Light in the Attic Records), one of the rare groove hits of last year, is headed for the big screen. The crew at local production company Evil Bunny Films are working on a feature-length documentary about the compilation of this historic record, and the subsequent reunion shows and recordings it sparked. View the trailer at www.evilbunnyfilms.com/current.php.