Like the girl in his ode to a short-lived summer love, country music’s reigning Entertainer of the Year had a crowd of 13,312 Friday evening at Verizon Arena twisting all night long like that old beach “Roller Coaster": Twisting and swaying and dancing and singing along. /more/
An email from the folks at Wakarusa, the annual music festival at Mulberry Mountain, claims they'll be taking 2016 off due to financial problems. The letter makes reference to pending legal actions against "partners" who "lied" to festival management. So far, they're calling it a "hiatus" rather than a complete shut-down, so there's some good news. /more/
Searcy native Bonnie Montgomery has been nominated for Outlaw Female in the 2016 Ameripolitan Awards, an Austin, Texas-based award show that honors musicians whose work doesn’t match with today’s notions of country music. The awards ceremony will be held in Austin on Feb. 16, 2016. /more/
North Little Rock native and free jazz legend Pharoah Sanders has been named as one of the recipients of a 2016 Jazz Masters Award from the National Endowment for the Arts, along with vibraphonist Gary Burton, saxophonist Archie Shepp and Wendy Oxenhorn, director of the Jazz Foundation of America. Sanders, who turned 75 last week, will receive "a $25,000 cash award and perform a free concert at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on April 4 that will be streamed live on arts.gov." /more/
This fall The Polyphonic Spree is celebrating the 15th anniversary of their debut, "The Beginning Stages of ...", with a tour of Europe and North America. The Dallas, Texas band formed in July 2000, born from the sparkling mind of lead vocalist Tim DeLaughter. Tim and his band — a group of about 20 musicians — are currently on tour and performing their entire debut along with other originals and a few surprises. Returning from their stint in Europe, they came through Little Rock with a blazing performance at Stickyz Tuesday night., /more/
Here's Little Rock's Amasa Hines playing at the Chicago-based concert series Audiotree Live, one of the best recordings yet of the band's always-gripping live show. You can also purchase a four-song EP of the session. Watch it for the new songs, and for the shout outs to locals Big Piph, Osyrus Bolly and Bonnie Montgomery. /more/
Darnelle Barnes, a Little Rock native well known as a member of the local rap group DMP, died earlier this morning in a car accident near his home, friends say. DMP's Khaliq Slater said that Barnes lived in the Emerald Mountain neighborhood with his mother, and was driving up a hill around the corner from his house when the accident occurred. He was 18 years old. /more/
Actress Geena Davis announced today that she's launching a new film festival to be held in Bentonville (and called the Bentonville Film Festival) and sponsored by her own organization, the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, as well as corporate partners Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola, AMC Theaters and ARC Entertainment. The festival, set to be held May 5-9, will begin accepting submissions on Jan. 15 and will focus on films highlighting women and minorities in cast and crew.
Wynton Marsalis visited Pine Bluff yesterday to pay a visit to the 93-year-old jazz legend Clark Terry, currently in the hospital (and accepting donations for his medical care). Terry, born in St. Louis and mentored by Louis Armstrong, played in bands with icons like Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus and Quincy Jones, and was a stated influence on trumpeters like Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie (who considered Terry the greatest jazz trumpeter in the world).
Recently, a trove of band business cards from the golden era of Arkansas garage bands was discovered and put on eBay. I was able to purchase some of them, including one by a little known 1960s garage band from Little Rock named The Mercenaries. Their record, on the cult favorite MY records label based in Little Rock, was released in early 1967. Their songs, including the atmospheric and heavy “Things Found Here” along with the psychedelic tinged “Take It All” are obscure even by garage rock standards. They were not featured on the 1999 Butler Center MY records compilation and their story has not been told before