It goes without saying that if a band is going to call itself I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch in the House, the members of said band had better be able to lick any sonofabitch in the house. The good news: These cats deliver on the promise -- coming on like the Rolling Stones on a Southern-rock rampage, with an eye for political hypocrisy, an ear for sonic mayhem, and jagged honky-tonk licks. Frontman Mike Damron is a former boxer for the 101st Airborne Division in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, so it's not a good idea to stand in front of the stage and shout, "Lick this!" But Damron has traded his gloves for a microphone, and today he sings about George W. Bush -- a man who "prays to a God that hates his guts" -- and about a tawdry American nightmare where life is cheap and booze is cheaper. Think of these guys as an agitprop Lucero, and you'll be on the right track. They play the Young Avenue Deli on Wednesday, March 16th, with the Reputation.
Memphis audiences either won't be impressed by Taylor Hollingsworth or they will welcome him like some long-lost sibling come home. If you listen closely to Hollingsworth's lyrics, you'll hear the voice of a folkie trying to emerge above a sprawling ruckus of rock-and-roll: fifth-generation Chuck Berry informed by generations of punk. His eponymous CD calls to mind Stations of the Cross-era Johnny Thunders & the Heartbreakers, with a swampy Southern-rock aftertaste. Fans of local groups like the Tearjerkers and the Preacher's Kids will love him --or they will stare at him with their arms crossed wondering what's the big damn deal. Hollingsworth is at the Young Avenue Deli with Harsh Krieger and 40 Watt Moon on Saturday, March 12th.
Kelly Buchanan brings her hard-driving brand of fem-rock to Murphy's on Thursday, March 10th. The Boston native has a gigantic, versatile voice coming in somewhere between PJ Harvey and Liz Phair, and her introspective-now, in-your-face-later lyrics ride on a wave of folk-rock guitars with a heavy emphasis on the rock. It's adult contemporary for people who don't like adult contemporary.
Fans of bluegrass and mountain gospel won't want to miss Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, who play the Bartlett Performing Arts and Conference Center on Sunday, March 13th. For a quarter-century, this group has blended the rich vocal harmonies of traditional gospel quartets with magnificent bluegrass picking. Lawson's ringing mandolin could easily be named one of the seven wonders of the sonic world, and if their recent CD, You Gotta Dig a Little Deeper, is any indication, he's only getting better and better with age.
It's really a great week for catching local sounds, touring acts, comers, and certifiable legends. Garrison Starr pairs with Melissa Ferrick at the Hi-Tone on Thursday, March 10th. All on Friday, March 11th: the great Paul Westerberg is at the New Daisy (see feature, p. 45); Willie Nelson plays Sam's Town; and garage faves the Dutch Masters and the Preacher's Kids tear it up at the Buccaneer. n -- <