The new-look Hi-Tone CAFE boasts a couple of compelling roots-music shows this week. Austin bluesman W.C. Clark will lay down some soul and blues at the club on Friday, April 19th. Clark's recent album, From Austin with Soul, lives up to its title, mixing modern blues with old-school soul in a manner that might remind some blues dabblers of Robert Cray. Clark opens the record with a rousing version of the Clarence Carter rump-shaker "Snatching It Back" and duets with Austin compatriot Marcia Ball on the Oliver Sain-penned "Don't Mess Up a Good Thing." On originals like "Let it Rain" and "I'm Gonna Disappear," Clark clings closer to the blues, showcasing some sharp, Cray-like (though Clark predates his younger colleague) guitar leads.
Then, on Saturday, April 20th, the Hi-Tone will welcome accomplished Iowa singer-songwriter David Zollo, whose new album, The Big Night, presents a bluesy, boozy, roots-rock style that evokes the Stones, the Band, and Lynyrd Skynyrd, with his leeringly slurred vocals battling for space with raunchy guitar riffs and -- despite his geographic roots -- some decidedly south-of-the-Mason-Dixon piano. As classic-rock roots moves go (generally a dubious proposition), this sure beats the Black Crowes in my book. Zollo has served as a session player and sideman for a host of like-minded and similarly marginal performers, including Bo Ramsey, Greg Brown, and the Memphis-connected Todd Snider, but The Big Night is a tastier musical treat than anything I've heard from those guys, so it's nice to see him on his own.
And on Monday, April 22nd, at Precious Cargo downtown, hip-hop fans looking for local signs of life outside of the Three 6 Mafia style might want to check out a big show that will include Arizona-based group Drunken Immortals with three local acts, DJ CMORE, MC Fathom 9 (formerly of the Genesis Experiment), and rap crew M.O.S. --Chris Herrington
Are you one of those Tom Waits fans who has given up hope that you'll ever get to see the elusive, gravel-voiced troubadour live? Are you a closet fan of the equally elusive Waits cohort Chuck E. Weiss? Do you love Jesus? If you have answered yes to any or all of these questions, you won't want to miss the right Reverend Vince Anderson when he plays the P&H Café on Saturday, April 20th. Anderson, a raspy-throated seminary dropout, sings what he calls "the dirty gospel." This is not to say that Anderson's spiritual songsmithing is perverse, à la country satirist/sex kitten Tammy Faye Starlight. Quite the contrary. There is a true reverence that pervades Anderson's music as he sings about a working man's messiah, a drinking man's messiah, and a godhead that even the most dissolute sinner might actually be able to hang out with, know, understand, and even love. Still, it's not the sort of thing Adrian Rodgers would approve of. The last time Anderson played the P&H, he turned in a glory hallelujah of a set that had fans rolling in Pentecostal ecstasy on the floor and singing their ears out. This is a "don't miss" show, and I hope for your sake, and your soul's, that you don't. -- Chris Davis