Winter is the perfect time to explore the natural stone shelters where native Arkansans once lived
A ROWDY FAITH
7:30 p.m. The Joint. $10.
Cate Davison and Alisyn Reid aren't sisters, but you'd never know it by the easy way their voices slide together through parallel harmonies. Reid's bright, bold voice has the clarity of Emmylou Harris or Alison Krauss, to which Davison adds a warm, rich alto. After spending some post-college years pursuing acting careers, the pair reunited back home in Arkansas to sing together for a friend's wedding, started rehearsing together, and eventually decided to make it official. One can't help but think of groups like The Watson Twins or Indigo Girls when hearing the duo (often mistaken for a Christian group because of their name), but their vocal chemistry rests atop a different accompaniment; Davison's father, Steve, plays the banjo and drums, lending a sort of "hot jazz" feel to the tunes, Alisyn Reid's mother, Ty, holds down a steady bass line, and her father, Gene, answers Alisyn's acoustic guitar with subdued, moody electric guitar for effect. The two-family ensemble is recording this summer at Blue Chair Studio, an effort that undoubtedly will distill what's already a distinctive sound.
THURSDAY 6/30-MONDAY 7/4
HIGHBERRY MUSIC FESTIVAL
Various times. Mulberry Mountain. $55-$155.
Wakarusa phamily, rest easy. Deadhead Productions, the organization behind the Highberry Music Festival that's taken place at Byrd's Adventure Center near Ozark for six years, is moving up the mountain, and all signs point to a rich musical lineup for the extended Fourth of July weekend: Keller Williams, Yonder Mountain String Band, Buckethead, Dopapod, Tauk, Wookiefoot, The 1 Oz. Jig, The Creek Rocks, Opal Agafia and the Sweet Nothings and Kaminanda, to name a few. Within hours of Pipeline Productions' announcement in December 2015 that Wakarusa 2016 would be canceled, Highberry swooped in to assume the summit. Deadhead spokesperson Jon Walker told the Fayetteville Flyer that his group "wanted to keep the magic of Mulberry Mountain," and to harness some of the energy that Wakarusa brought to Arkansas. He does, however, plan to cap the attendance at 4,000 (in contrast to Wakarusa's typical 20,000), so if vibing out to Papadosia and Dirtfoot after a belly dance class and a round of disc golf sounds like a dreamy way for you to spend the holiday weekend, you'll want to make haste on securing those tickets. Camping is included with admission, as are the daily shuttles to the Mulberry River for swimming. You can tote in your own beer (no glass, please). Reserved RV passes are sold out, but primitive bus/RV passes (no water or electricity) are available for $50. See highberryfestival.com for the full schedule, tickets and details.
CURTIS SULLIVAN AND KYUNG-YEUN NA
7:30 p.m. Wildwood Park for the Arts. $15.
Every summer, Wildwood Park for the Arts opens its 105 acres and 625-seat theater to a throng of children and teens ages 6-18 in fervent hopes they'll leave more musically literate than when they came. The Wildwood Academy of Music and the Arts, as the program is called, is under the direction of Bevan Keating, a Canadian-born vocal specialist who is the energetic force behind the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Community Chorus, the choir at Second Presbyterian Church and co-founder of Praeclara, the church's performing arts organization. Keating brings baritone Curtis Sullivan and pianist Kyung-Eun Na to Wildwood for "Let Beauty Awake," which spans from Rameau to Lerner and Loewe, and features Ralph Vaughan Williams' art song cycle, "The Songs of Travel," in its entirety. Sullivan is known for his operatic interpretations of Count Almaviva and Sarastro, and of Giorgio Bachetti in Sondheim's "Passion." (You'll also find him featured on the celebrated beefcake opera blog "Barihunks," which is exactly what it sounds like.) Na is a collaborative pianist with a dazzling resume (Manhattan School of Music, Juilliard, Oberlin), a firm commitment to performing new music, and — as her students report — an ability to challenge and inspire in her role as UALR's vocal coach. Na tells us the program is of the moment. "I think it is the perfect program for this current time when we are suffering from the conflicts between different political opinions, religious views and ideologies. ... We all want to ultimately live in a beautiful place." For tickets, visit wildwoodpark.org.
AMASA HINES: ARKANSAS TOURISM FILM SHOOT
9:30 p.m. Stickyz Rock 'n' Roll Chicken Shack. Free.
Arkansas is gifted with more natural and cultural abundance than we know what to do with, and our bounty's never more neatly packaged than in commercials promoting Arkansas tourism. Each one is essentially a two-minute, sweeping roundup of lush vistas, happy folks exiting a bathhouse, a pair of fishermen backlit by a sunset in the cypress swamps. It's "Greatest Hits of Arkansas: The Aerial View." In keeping with the formula of showing off Arkansas's finest, Amasa Hines will participate in the filming of the next commercial, offering a free concert for anyone and everyone who doesn't mind their mug being part of the promotional effort. Amasa Hines' songs are rarely bound to a single riff — they drift, open up, make sudden turns. They can slip from a Clash-esque dub groove to an expansive psychedelic sprawl so smoothly that by the end of the song, it seems impossible that the whole thing started with singer-guitarist Joshua Asante's guitar playing one or more chords quietly, as if to himself. Thanks to an intense collective focus, several sets of highly attuned ears and inventive drumming, the band's music breathes, allowing Asante's supple voice to wail, preach and plead.
THE HOLLOW ENDS, BLACK HORSE, DANGEROUS IDIOTS
9 p.m. Vino's. $5.
If you like your pop-punk swift and smart, you'll need to pull up a patch of concrete at Vino's Friday night. Dangerous Idiots, a self-described "gulch rock" trio, takes the stage first, on the verge of releasing its "Marijuana" EP this summer, featuring the single "If You Don't Smoke Pot, I Don't Trust You." Driven by front man Aaron Sarlo's eternally earnest vocals, the band (for this show, Greg Olmstead on drums and Jake Rutherford on bass) has been lauded for philosophically savvy tunes like "He Who Has the Information Is the Leader," but can just as easily rip out a heartbreakingly sweet love song like "Wifi" ("you will never need a home as long as there's the slightest spark in these old bones") or "Sad," a two-minute jewel shrouded in ukulele and resignation ("the only thing we control is how much to care, if at all"). The show also features The Hollow Ends, a creation of St. Louis' Zachary Schwartz, a soon-to-be doctor of political science whose resonant tenor alone could probably land him a career in musical theater if he weren't so inclined toward anthemic rock songs with rollicking electric guitar and kick drum. Schwartz is on tour with violinist Jenn Rudisill, who plays like the Seven Furies, and singer Tawaine Noah, whose renditions of Marvin Gaye tunes have earned him permanent heartthrob status. (For proof, note that Hollow Ends' incentive for a $10 donation includes "get to first base with Tawaine.") They're joined by Black Horse, a Little Rock trio that mixes Dick Dale-esque surf riffs with manic punk drumbeats. Soak up each of those beats while they last; Black Horse's tracks are sprints, not marathons.
RANDALL SHREVE AND THE DEVILLES
9 p.m. Revolution. $7-$10.
In 2015, Randall Shreve finished "The Devil and The End," the fourth chapter in what he called "The Entertainer Cycle," a series of albums exploring the metamorphosis of a young entertainer named Charlie. Shreve's music bears all the theater and drama of its sonic ancestors: Queen, ELO, and perhaps John Kander's music for the 1975 musical "Chicago." Aesthetically, he comes across as part of a macabre cabaret, an eyeliner-clad, fedora-topped ringmaster leading his band — for some time 'The Sideshow" and now "The Devilles" — in brassy grooves that allow his voice to slide effortlessly into its lovely falsetto mode, often over Vaudevillian piano riffs. For someone who was a drummer on over 50 recordings before he ever stepped out front, he sure seems at ease up there. If you missed the band's set at Riverfest, here's a second chance to bear witness.
Building a lead so rapidly and holding it in games, even professional football, is difficult…