Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Live Music: Whiskey Diablo, Junior Astronomers, Crystal Bright, Donna The Buffalo

Great live music to check out this week

Posted by Sam Spence on Wed, Mar 20, 2013 at 4:00 AM

INDIE ROCK | Junior Astronomers
Tues. March 26
8 p.m.
Tin Roof

Even though Charlotte indie rockers Junior Astronomers have been together since 2007, cranking out two EPs in the years since, they have yet to put out their first full-length album. “It just wasn’t the right time to release music,” frontman Terrence Richard says. “We were still growing as a band and understanding what we wanted out of our next project. We also just got caught in everything else it was to be a band besides writing music, like perfecting our live show and partying.” On I Just Want to Make a Statement, their last EP, the band opts for a one part garage rock, one part early-2000s post-punk sound, and it’s all anchored by Richard’s fervent howl. Needless to say, we’re pretty stoked to hear the new disc. For the LP, the Junior Astronomers set out to write a straight-forward, frill-free collection. “A lot of the record to me is about an awakening,” Richard explains. “You get so comfortable at times it takes something serious like sitting in a studio for three weeks to come to your senses and start thinking more about what’s going on with your life besides what you’re doing that night.” Although no release date has been set for the album, Richard says it’ll be out soon. —Susan Cohen TUESDAY

JAM ROOTS | Donna The Buffalo
Fri. March 22
9 p.m.
Pour House

A jam roots fixture for 25 years, Donna the Buffalo is one of the style’s greatest exemplars. While the Ithaca, N.Y., Americana quintet was initially inspired by Appalachian string music, they’ve since incorporated folk, pop, soul, zydeco, and psychedelic rock. Meanwhile, Jeb Puryear’s reedy tenor and Tara Nevins’ husky comely croon complement each other with their earthy charm, yet as songwriters they each possess their own distinct character. The band’s long-running support of the roots scene goes back as far as New York’s Finger Lakes Grassroots Festival, which they launched in ’91. Over the last decade, Puryear, Nevins, and the gang have added festivals in Shakori Hills, N.C., and Virginia Key, Fla. And while they’ve released eight studio albums over their quarter century together, they’ve only put out two new LPs in the last 12 years. That said, their last album, 2008’s Silverlined, is one of their finest. In fact, it’s a particularly rocking and catchy release that at times evokes the late, great Levon Helm. Last year, Donna the Buffalo recorded songs for their ninth studio release, but there’s still no definitive word on when a new disc might come down the pike. —Chris Parker FRIDAY

ROWDY ROOTS | Whiskey Diablo
w/ Shrimp City Slim, Shelly Waters, and Jefferson Coker Band
Tues. March 26
7 p.m.
Royal American

The guys in Whiskey Diablo — Brian Widlowski (drums), Jonathan Gray (bass/vocals), and Patrick Blake (vocals/guitar/kazoo) — recently released a brand new disc entitled Wail and Serenade, and it’s a roots-rocking footstomper that’ll get you smokin’, drinkin’, and dancin’ right off the bat, thanks in part to the appropriately titled lead-off track, “Smokin’, Drinkin’, and Dancin’.” As for a life of drinkin’ and dancin’, Blake wouldn’t have it any other way. “I never get enough dancing,” he says. “I get my fill of drinking on occasion.” Although his feet and liver are up for the challenge, Blake’s voice tends to take a beating. “By Sunday I’ve generally had enough singing, as five or six shows a week starts to take its toll,” the lead Diablo says. “My chorus teacher in high school warned me I wouldn’t be able to sing anymore by the time I was 30 if I kept using my voice the way I do. I’m 34 now.” Blake says that these days he tries to take better care of his voice and “use the raspy, gruff growl a bit more sparingly.” Here’s hoping he’s drinking plenty of tea and lemon juice to keep his pipes in tip-top shape. —Chris Haire TUESDAY

BROADWAY GYPSY FOLK | Crystal Bright and the Silver Hands
w/ Jordan Igoe
Fri. March 22
8 p.m.
Tin Roof

For Crystal Bright, the Great Recession was a blessing in disguise. “I lost my job at Greensboro Montessori School teaching multicultural music and dance when the huge economic crash happened in 2009 and was left with a lot of free time. So, I decided to finally make a go at doing what I always wanted to do, fully write and perform my own music,” she says. And we’re glad she did. The latest release from North Carolina-based Crystal Bright and the Silver Hands, Muses and Bones, is a real treat. It’s like Enya woke up in a vaudevillian nightmare wonderland. “I don’t really have a particular sound I’m trying to accomplish. I just write what comes out and what I like in the moment,” Bright says. “So, since I play the saw and accordion, it just ended up being an eerie, circusy sound sometimes.” Bright can apparently play a pretty mean washing machine as well, and, yes, we said “washing machine.” “Unfortunately, I can’t play it live yet. I need a bigger budget for that,” Bright says. —Chris Haire FRIDAY

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