Archive for looking for fall

fall concert news

the avett brothers (joe kwon, scott avett, seth avett and bob crawford) will perform at rupp arena with jason isbell on oct. 1.

the avett brothers (joe kwon, scott avett, seth avett and bob crawford) will perform at rupp arena with jason isbell on oct. 1.

This fall concert news just in:

The Avett Brothers will return to Rupp Arena on Oct. 1 with Jason Isbell as show opener. This will mark the popular folk-fortfied jam troupe’s third Rupp outing and their first at the venue since November 2013. While the band has not released a new recording since that performance, it has spent much of the past year working on a follow-up album to the Rick Rubin-produced Magpie and the Dandelion.

Isbell played here earlier this summer as a surprise support guest of wife Amanda Shires for an opening set at a sold out Singletary Center for the Arts date by John Prine. Isbell’s new Something More Than Free album entered the Billboard Top 200 chart last month at No. 5.

Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. performance are $35-$59.50 and go on sale at 10 a.m. Aug. 21 through TicketMaster – (800) 735-3000 and

Also, the headline acts for this year’s Christ the King Oktoberfest have been announced. In keeping with its recent history of booking artists that enjoyed at least part of their commercial heyday during the ‘80s, the event will present The BoDeans (which made their Lexington debut by opening a Rupp Arena date for U2 in 1987) on Sept. 11 and British singer John Waite (best known for the 1984 Top 10 hit Missing You) on Sept. 12.

All CTK Oktoberfest shows are free, although exact performance times won’t be announced until closer to the show dates. For more info, go to

looking for fall: oktoberfest lives!

chris hillman and herb pedersen are among the featured performers at this year’s christ the king oktoberfest.

One of the more remarkable artistic transformations to take place over the past decade has been the leap Christ the King Oktoberfest’s has made from a longstanding community festival to one of Lexington’s foremost free music events. Then, as budgets tightened in the last year or two, the lineups became leaner. But for 2012, Oktoberfest is clearly back in the fast lane.

The lineup on Friday, Sept. 21, pairs one of Lexington’s finest roots music/Americana combos, Coralee and the Townies, with the local return of the Grammy-winning singing cowboy quartet, Riders in the Sky.

Then on Saturday, Sept. 22, a pair of local faves – the Blind Corn Liquor Pickers and the Kentucky Hoss Cats – will preface sets by some giants: a 7:30 pm duo performance by Byrds/Flying Burrito Brothers co-founder (and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer) Chris Hillman and veteran West Coast singer and songsmith Herb Pederson. The evening will be capped by a 9:30 pm show by bluegrass/country/Americana chieftain Jim Lauderdale.

And it’s all free. Well, the brews and the brats won’t be, of course. But you won’t have to drop one dime on the music. The Musical Box will detail Oktoberfest closer to the performance dates. If you’re craving more info on this autumn treat right now, go to

looking for fall 2012, pt. 1

andrew bird.

As we enter the home stretch of a week where temps may well hit the 100 degree mark, The Musical Box would like propose that, no, is not too early to start looking to fall.

Of course, the fact that two fine concert picks have just been confirmed for September and October only add to the anticipation of what is shaping up to be a very cool autumn.

First up is an addition to the Singletary Center for the Arts’ upcoming season, which in itself is news since the schedule was only announced last week. The update: Andrew Bird will perform his first Lexington concert in over eight years at the Singletary on Sept. 29 (7:30 p.m.; $25, $30, $35).

The multi-instrumentalist, composer and songwriter was a club regular at now-defunct venues like The Dame, Lynagh’s Music Club and High on Rose over the past 15 years. Of late however, his multi-stylistic folk and pop tunes – not to mention wonderfully atmospheric albums like the new Break It Yourself – have gained international followings.

Advance tickets are already available for the Bird show and the good Singletary folks are allowing us to share the pre-sales password (SCFA, all upper case) with you. Click here for more info.

jorma kaukonen.

Then we have a real shocker from Natasha’s, 112 Esplanade. The bistro’s website lists an Oct. 7 performance by Jorma Kaukonen, the extraordinary blues and roots music guitarist.

A Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee for his co-founding role in the landmark psychedelic band Jefferson Airplane, Kaukonen still maintains co-piloting duties with fellow Airplane alum Jack Casady in Hot Tuna as well as a healthy solo career. He has played Lexington before, mostly through WoodSongs appearances. But a full up-close Sunday evening with Jorma is a true rarity (8 p.m., $35).

Go to for tickets.

looking to fall: natasha’s

california guitar trio: hideyo moriya, paul richards, bert lams.

california guitar trio: hideyo moriya, paul richards and bert lams.

Next up as we scan local concert halls and venues for great fall music is Natasha’s Bistro at 112 Esplanade. A bit of a Lexington institution, the eatery has made major strides over the past two years in becoming a seriously competitive and recognized performance hub for theatre and music.

This year alone, Natasha’s has played host to James McMurtry, Chuck Prophet, Peter Case, The Hot Club of Cowtown and more in its ultra intimate and listener friendly confines.

Full a full look at its nightly entertainment lineup, visit or call (859) 259-2754. But here are a few highlights heading to Natasha’s in the months ahead.

All are recommended. But the shows marked with *** are considered by The Musical Box to be not-to-miss performances.     

+ Aug. 31: Hoots and Hellmouth – The return of the Philadelphia based band with a knack for acoustic based, front porch inspired jams. Earthy foot stomping melodies enforce the deceptively tight vocal harmonies that fuel the band’s big hearted Americana sound.

+ Sept. 12: Rangda – The finale act of WRFL’s second annual Boomslang festival may be named after a murderous Balinese demon. But for Boomslang purposes, Rangda is an all-star indie psychedelic collective made up of Sir Richard Bishop, Ben Chasny and Chris Corsano.   

+ Sept. 16: California Guitar Trio with Ben Lacy – Finally, a full evening with the ever inventive CGT, a group that performs surf music, Japanese folk tunes, movie themes, prog rock covers and arresting originals solely on three acoustic guitars. Lexington’s own guitar great Ben Lacy will open. ***

+ Sept. 17: Vandaveer – A return outing with former Lexingtonian Mark Charles Heidinger, who rides the waves of folk and acoustic psychedelia as the ever industrious Vandeveer. Influences run from Dylan to (Nick) Drake. But his sound is wholly original.

randall bramblett

randall bramblett

+ Sept. 25: Randall Bramblett – Simply put, one of the greatest but least appreciated Southern songwriters of our generation. Bramblett is a masterful and immensely literate writer as well as a sublime instrumentalist who has recorded and toured with the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Steve Winwood and Chuck Leavell. ***


+ Oct. 1: Phil Lee and Tommy Womack – Wow. Nashville scribe Lee disappears for what seems like decades and now makes his second regional appearance in six weeks. Womack has long been a local favorite with shows alongside (or as part of) Government Cheese, Daddy, Todd Snider and more.

+ Oct. 11: Malcolm Holcombe – Holcombe is a real sleeper act. A versed North Carolina songwriter, his tunes echo plaintive country and folk sentiments. But stylistically, he continually surprises, shuffling between folk, blues, swing styles and much more

mindy smith

mindy smith

+ Nov. 14: Mindy Smith – At long last, we finally have a night with this extraordinary Americana stylist. Initially, her music leaned to country and even Christian inspirations. They still do to a degree. But her fine 2009 album Stupid Love blurs the genres for a sampler of worldly and world weary songs. ***

looking to fall: buster’s

sharon jones and the dap kings.

sharon jones and the dap kings.

We continue our look at the many sounds heading our way this fall by visiting the Distillery District where the spacious Buster’s Billiards and Backroom at 899 Manchester St. will be celebrating its first anniversary next month.

Buster’s will have the distinction of several firsts this fall – specifically, local debut concerts by Sharon Jones, The Hold Steady and Citizen Cope. More shows will be added to the club’s calendar regularly. But here’s the roundup of what will be on tap as the fall sets in.

For more info, go to or call (859) 368-8871.

September 1 – Disco Biscuits – The Philadelphia based jam band specializes in blending modern shades of electronica (trance, ambient and more) with organic indie rock grooves and, in the case of its recent Planet Anthem album, hip hop.

September 4: Chris Knight – The Pride of Slaughters, Kentucky is a consistent local draw with a devout Americana music following and a knack for dark, rural storytelling that puts him in the league of Steve Earle and John Mellencamp.

September 16: Big Head Todd and the Monsters – The veteran Denver rock troupe has shown remarkable staying power ever since its Sister Sweetly album became a staple of rock radio in the early ’90s. The band’s newest monster is the groove savvy Rocksteady.

September 17: Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings – For my money, this should be the hit of the fall. Jones is the new-generation voice of old-school soul with the horn-happy Dap Kings and a killer new album, I Learned the Hard Way, backing up her boasting.

the hold steady

the hold steady

September 29: The Hold Steady – Also out of Brooklyn is another Lexington debut. Hold Steady singer Craig Finn’s character-driven songs helped make Stay Positive a breakthrough album for his band in 2008. The new Heaven is Whenever is more studiously wistful, though.

October 12: Citizen Cope – Hey, is there a trend starting here? Renegade folkster Clarence Greenwood, aka Citizen Cope, hails from Brooklyn, too. Mostly, though, he has been a favorite of Louisville audiences and is just now getting around to playing Lexington.

robert randolph

robert randolph

October 1: Dave Barnes – A modern pop-soul stylist from the South (Nashville by way of South Carolina and Mississippi), Barnes’ popularity runs from indie pop to contemporary Christian circles. The title tune to his What We Want, What We Get album typlifies Barnes’ summery songs.

October 17:  Robert Randolph and the Family Band – Finally, the master of sacred steel music returns to Lexington. Randolph’s spiritual weapon is the pedal steel guitar, which he transforms into an instrument of pure electric jubilation.

looking to fall: the norton center for the arts

There have, admittedly, been few suggestions of autumn in the stifling dog days of mid August. But having spent the last few evenings pouring over schedules of what will easily be the busiest concert autumn in recent memory, it seemed like a good idea to starting previewing and planning for what’s heading our way.

So over these next few weeks, The Musical Box will unwrap a few fall colors by looking briefly at the soon-to-be-colliding concert seasons at our doorstep.

We begin with the goings on this fall at the Norton Center for the Arts’ Newlin Hall at Centre College in Danville. While many other concert seasons this autumn will feature a striking number of Central Kentucky debut performances, the Norton Center is sticking primarily to the familiar with some very prominent returnees.

As always, the Norton Center’s season is rich in classical and dance offerings. We’re sticking to the pop entries here. For a glimpse of the venue’s full season, go to or call (800) 448-7469.

Here, at-a-glance, is what will be cooking in Danville starting in September.

frankie valli

frankie valli

+ Sept. 17: Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons – To some, Valli’s ageless stratospheric singing remains a cornerstone of radio pop from the 60s. But with the ongoing popularity of the Valli neo-biopic stage show Jersey Boys, the singer has become something of a Broadway celebrity, as well.

tony bennett

tony bennett

+ Oct. 4: Tony Bennett – The first of the Norton Center’s returning heroes. Bennett, who turned 84 last week, remains nothing less than a class act – a singer of boundless enthusiasm and beaming attitude. A jazz artist at heart, he is a masterful pop stylist whose singing is only outdistanced by his regal artistic taste.

punch brothers

punch brothers

+ Oct. 7: Punch Brothers – When this expert new generation string quintet played here last year, it commanded an audience that included Mark O’Connor, Scott Terrell and The Decemberists. Now aided by its sly new Antifogmatic album, there is no telling who will show up for the mix of bluegrass, jazz, pop and chamber inspirations.

aretha franklin

aretha franklin

+ Oct. 22: Aretha Franklin – Another major league returnee, Franklin remains soul music’s most enduring diva with a catalogue that includes Think, Respect and Chain of Fools. And, yes, the pairing of Sister Aretha with three hapless college youths in a recent Snickers commercial was comic genius.

al green

al green

+ Oct. 30: Al Green – Sunday morning meets Saturday night as Reverend Al returns to the Norton Center. As recently as last month, Green was in Louisville whipping up a soul revival at Churchill Downs’ HullabaLOU Festival with an R&B recasting of the Bee Gees’ How Can You Mend a Broken Heart that was steamier than the sweltering evening temps.

blue man group

blue man group

+ Nov. 22 and 23: Blue Man Group – New to the Norton Center but with two Rupp Arena shows to its credit, Blue Man Group continues to employ richly percussive beat music and unexpected cover tunes (like the Donna Summer disco hit I Feel Love) to color shows steeped in inventive theatricality and an alien-like sense of wonder.  

All performances will begin at 8 p.m. except for Franklin. Her showtime will be 8:30.

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