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late night with chris stapleton

chris stapleton performing at forecastle in july. herald-leader staff photo by rich copley.

chris stapleton performing at forecastle in july. herald-leader staff photo by rich Copley.

It’s been a busy summer for Chris Stapleton.

The Kentucky country traditionalist, whose debut recording Traveller has been chosen by National Public Radio as one of NPR Music’s 25 Favorite Albums of the Year So Far, has shared concert dates in recent months with Lynyrd Skynyrd, Hank Williams Jr., Alan Jackson, Warren Haynes and Jason Isbell as well has played sold out shows of his own in New York, Nashville, St. Louis and several other cities. He also served up a killer set at Forecastle in Louisville and took part in an all-star salute to Waylon Jennings for Austin City Limits Live during July.

On Tuesday – well, technically, Wednesday – Stapleton heads straight to your living room. He will perform Might As Well Get Stoned on NBC-TV’s Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:35 am Aug. 19 (after The Tonight Show on Tuesday, so no one gets confused).

For more info, go to nbc.com/late-night-with-seth-meyers.

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 ticketmaster.com.

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 ctkoktoberfest.com/entertainment.

meghan trainor cancels state fair concert

meghan trainor.

meghan trainor.

Looks like the upcoming Kentucky State Fair will have to do without a stop by the M Train.

Pop singer Meghan Trainor has cancelled her Aug. 20 performance at Freedom Hall, the opening night concert for the fair, along with all remaining dates on the current North American leg of her M Train Tour. The reason is a vocal cord hemorrhage that will require surgery.

The singer, known for the mega hit All About That Bass, announced the cancellation earlier today through social media.

“I am devastated, scared and so sorry,” she posted on her website. “I love touring and seeing your beautiful faces every night. I am determined to do what it takes to get better and come back around stronger than ever.”

Trainor also thanked the two acts who shared her summer concert bill on Facebook.

“I’m sorry to my amazing openers that we had to cut it short. Charlie Puth and Life of Dillon, you guys put on great shows every night with big smiles and I will be forever grateful that you were a part of this experience, even though it was cut too soon. Thank you and your teams for everything.

While the cancellation leaves Freedom Hall without an opening night concert, the State Fair’s Turf Concert Series of free shows will begin on Aug. 20 with the pop metal bands Slaughter and Great White.

For more State Fair info, go to www.kystatefair.org.

 

robert earl keen reschedules lyric concert

robert earl keen.

robert earl keen.

Looks like you better put those muddy boots back on the porch. There will be no Texas troubadouring with Robert Earl Keen on Wednesday.

The popular Lone Star songsmith has postponed his July 22 concert at the Lyric Theatre. In an email notification sent out earlier tonight, the reason given was “last minute changes to Robert Earl Keen’s tour.”

The rescheduled date is Nov. 19 with a 7:30 start time. All tickets for this week’s originally scheduled show will be honored when Keen performs the bluegrass-inspired tunes from his new Happy Prisoner album this fall.

For more information, call (859) 280-2218.

staying out late with nikki lane

the green lantern has just booked country renegade nikki lane for a tuesday performance.

the green lantern has just booked country renegade nikki lane for a tuesday performance.

Start looking for a babysitter. The Green Lantern, 497 W. Third, has an 11th hour booking to boast of that will make (or, at least, should make) you want to stay out late on Tuesday night.

The club has landed a performance by country renegade Nikki Lane whose Dan Auerbach-produced recording All of Nothin’ was one of last year’s strongest albums.

From my June 2014 review of All of Nothin’: The first thing that grabs you is the singing – the product of a slight, imperfect, boozy voice that never oversells its sense of authority or defiance. On Good Man, it appears with a withdrawn drawl, a la Lucinda Williams. Then you take note of the accompanying music, a big beat girl group charge reminiscent of The Ronettes but spiked with ominous guitar twang and tremolo. Finally, the lyrics kick in – namely, a weary domestic reflection that hits the bullseye of a dovetailing, disrespectful romance (“The simplest thing that would make my heart ring… well, you don’t even think to do it”).

Cover charge for Tuesday’s 9 p.m. show is $10.

calling his own tune

chris stapleton.

chris stapleton.

Lexington native and country music revivalist Chris Stapleton will celebrate the release of his debut solo album Traveller with a free in-store acoustic performance at CD Central, 377 S. Limestone at 1 p.m. May 10. For more information, call (859) 233-3472 or go to cdcentralmusic.com.

Standing on the stage of the Ed Sullivan Theatre two weeks ago, Chris Stapleton couldn’t have looked less like a country music star.

His face buried beneath a healthy crop of hat, hair and beard, the Lexington born, Paintsville/Staffordsville reared songwriter resembled less the Nashville of today and more the Central Texas of 40 years ago. That pretty much held true for the music, too, as Stapleton and an unfussy combo that included his wife as a singing partner casually sailed through the weary but worldly title tune to his debut album Traveller.

The setting was telling, as well. Despite a songwriting career that has spun No. 1 country hits for Luke Bryan (the recent Academy of Country Music Song of the Year nominee Drink a Beer), Kenny Chesney (Never Wanted Nothing More) and George Strait (Love’s Gonna Make It Alright), Stapleton wasn’t making his network television out of Nashville. He was instead in a cherished New York theatre as a music guest during the final weeks of The Late Show with David Letterman.

“It was a surreal thing,” Stapleton said. “It’s one thing to get to stand there in the Ed Sullivan Theatre and be on that show, but to be in the last home stretch of what has become a real iconic thing – man, that was really a wonderful honor.”

New York and Nashville were obviously removed from Stapleton’s Eastern Kentucky roots. While his mother and coal mining father could “hold a tune,” they were especially encouraging as active listeners of the country artists that emerged from the region around them.

“It’s just part of the fabric of being from Kentucky,” Stapleton said. “Ricky Skaggs and Keith Whitley, Dwight Yoakam and Patty Loveless, the list goes on and on. Those names are just part of life in Kentucky. You can’t help but be aware of them and be influenced by them. It’s almost genetic in the sense that you don’t have an existence that doesn’t involve their music.”

A recommendation by Jesse Wells from the Kentucky Center for Traditional Music at Morehead State University introduced Stapleton to songsmith Steve Leslie. The latter, in turn, helped connect Stapleton with the Nashville songwriting community.

“There was nothing frightening about it at all,” Stapleton said of his move to Nashville. “I tried college and that didn’t take. I tried various other jobs that didn’t really take just because of the disinterest in all things but music.

“Boy, as soon as I found out someone would pay you to write songs and play, I said, ‘That’s the job for me. I’ve got to figure out how to do that.’ So I was lucky enough to meet some of the right people fairly early in town. I had a publishing deal about four days after moving to Nashville.”

Four days? In one the most competitive music markets anywhere, Stapleton’s songwriting career was up and running in four days?

“That’s not most people’s story,” Stapleton said with a laugh. “But that’s mine.”

Two very different performance projects soon surfaced to plant the possibility of an eventual solo career. The first was a stint as vocalist and co-guitarist with the Steeldrivers, a progressive bluegrass troupe made up of Nashville A-list players.

“The Steeldrivers certainly challenged me as a player because I never saw myself as a bluegrass flatpicking guitar player. Neither did bluegrass flatpicking guitar players, but I still got to test myself. I got better as a musician because all the other members of the band were hot shot players that were very well respected.”

The second was a cranky, highly electric rock ‘n’ roll outfit called the Jompson Brothers that returned Stapleton to Lexington for several performances at Cosmic Charlie’s.

“We went out with the songs, played some rock ‘n’ roll shows and did it all for the love of it, really. The Steeldrivers were the same way. I try to operate from that place at all times. I don’t like that opportunist kind of musical mentality. But it was a wonderful thing. We were loud and playing rock ‘n’ roll. We learned the hard way there wasn’t much rock radio left, but we sure had a lot of fun. It was just a lot of self-indulgent guitar madness. But there’s nothing wrong with that. Nothing wrong with that at all.”

With this week’s release of Traveller (produced by Dave Cobb, who has overseen the recent solo records of another newly celebrated Kentucky country stylist, Sturgill Simpson), Stapleton has emerged as an artist finally singing his own songs under his own name.

“Regardless of commercial reception or whatever, I just can’t imagine being any prouder of this record. I hope people give it a listen – as in a hard listen. I hope they listen to it actively, engage in the music and not treat it as some kind of background noise. That’s my hope, anyway.”

black keys, avett brothers to headline bunbury

the black keys, dan auebach and patrick carney, will headline this summer's bunbury music festival in cincinnati.

the black keys, dan auerbach and patrick carney, will headline this summer’s bunbury music festival in cincinnati.

Another sign of summertime revealed itself yesterday. Specifically, the initial performance lineup of the Bunbury Music Festival was announced along with concert dates for the event that are a month earlier than in recent years.

Confirmed Bunbury acts in 2015 include The Black Keys, The Avett Brothers, Snoop Dogg, The Decemberists, Old Crow Medicine Show, Father John Misty, Walk the Moon, Manchester Orchestra, Kacey Musgraves, The Devil Makes Three, Reverend Horton Heat, Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band and many others. Performance times are to be announced.

As in its three previous years, Bunbury will be presented on multiple stages throughout Sawyer Point and Yeatman’s Cove along the Ohio River in downtown Cincinnati. But for 2015, the festival has been moved from mid July to June 5, 6 and 7. That distances it further from the competing Forecastle in Louisville, which has already announced a lineup that includes Sam Smith, Modest Mouse, Widespread Panic and the city’s own My Morning Jacket and Houndmouth on July 17, 18 and 19.

The Buckle-Up Festival, Bunbury’s country/Americana sister event, won’t be back this year. According to its website, the event will return in 2016. Both festivals were acquired by PromoWest Productions last fall.

Tickets for Bunbury and Forecastle are on sale through ticketmaster.com. For additional info on each event, along with full lists of confirmed acts, go to bunburyfestival.com or forecastlefestcom.

stevie wonder to bring ‘keys of life’ to louisville.

stevie wonder.

stevie wonder.

One of the most celebrated pop-soul sounds of any generation is heading to Kentucky. On March 27, Stevie Wonder will play the KFC Yum! Center for a very rare Bluegrass area concert appearance.

The show is one of 11 spring dates that extends Wonder’s 2014 Songs in the Key of Life Performance Tour. As the title suggests, the tour is built around a full concert performance of the singer’s multi-Grammy-winning 1976 album Songs in the Key of Life. But reviews of last year’s shows reveal the setlist also includes other celebrated Wonder classics, including Superstition, Living for the City and Higher Ground.

Tickets for the Louisville show go on sale at 10 a.m. Jan. 24 through www.livenation.com, www.ticketmaster.com, the KFC Yum! Center box office, all Ticketmaster outlets and phone at (800) 745-3000. Tickets will cost $36.50-$144.50.

Released in the fall of 1976, Songs in the Key of Life is widely considered the critical and commercial zenith of Wonder’s career, having been the last of four albums (1972’s Talking Book, 1973’s Inner Visions and 1974’s Fulfillingness’ First Finale were the others) that modernized his popular Motown pop sound of the ‘60s to include a more urban-embracing urgency for the ‘70s. Still, it produced several huge pop hits, including Isn’t She Lovely, I Wish and As. The album also won four Grammys in 1977, including Album of the Year (where it beat out Peter Frampton’s Frampton Comes Alive, Boz Scaggs’ Silk Degrees, George Benson’s Breezin’ and Chicago’s Chicago X).

Wonder has infrequently played Louisville over the decades. He performed in Lexington at Rupp Arena only once, in September 1986.

Miranda Lambert returning to Rupp

miranda lambert

Miranda Lambert

Fresh off victories earlier this week at the County Music Association Awards, Miranda Lambert has confirmed a return concert date at Rupp Arena for Jan. 16 with Justin Moore, RaeLynn and Jukebox Mafia opening.

Tickets, at $29.75 and $54.75 each (excluding fees), go on sale at 10 a.m. Nov. 14 through www.ticketmaster.com and www.livenation.com or by calling 1-800-745-3000.

Lambert took top honors on Wednesday for album of the year (for Platinum) and female vocalist of the year at the CMA Awards. She also served up the ceremony’s coolest non-country moment, a bull’s-eye duet of All About That Bass with Meghan Trainor.

The Texas-born singer is no stranger to Lexington. She began performing here as an unknown as part of the annual Red, White & Boom festival shortly after her debut album, Kerosene, was released in 2005. Her most recent Rupp outing, which included an unannounced mini set by her part-time trio Pistol Annies, was in February 2012. Lambert and Moore also played on a Rupp bill with Brad Paisley in 2010.

 

zach brock concert moved to DAC

Just a quick update for anyone planning on taking in tonight’s performance by New York-by-way-of Lexington jazz violinist Zach Brock. The concert is still on but the location has changed.

The thunderstorms and heavy rains that hit Lexington just after 6 p.m. made the show a no-go at its original outdoor location of Moondance Amphitheatre. The concert has now been moved indoors to the Downtown Arts Center, 141 E. Main. Showtime is tentatively slated between 9 and 9:30 or when the sound equipment originally set up at Moondance can be transported downtown. (The original start time at Moondance was 7 p.m.)

The performance is still free, too.

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