Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans
Love has kept Christine Albert and Chris Gage together for 10 years and five albums. Their yin-and-yang relationship onstage and off is the glue that holds them together, and they’ll be headlining at Acoustic Sounds Cafe on Friday, May 12.
“Cry Love” is the newest addition to a discography that illustrates the common subject matter for Albert and Gage: love, and all the joys, tender moments and pain involved, with Gage on guitar and vocals and Albert supplying everything else (mandolin, dobro, accordion, percussion). This is not the kind of music for the romantically cynical; Gage and Albert play acoustic sets that illustrate a relationship that says love will keep them together.
Equally as compelling, and with an interesting life, is Erik Balkey, a traveling folk musician/house painter with nothing to mark his residency other than a post-office box in Philadelphia. He put together the album “Liberty Tree: Songs From the American Kitchen Table” to benefit the Mission Street Project. It’s full of powerful lyrics about social responsibility — for example, the first track, “Should I Go Wordless,” declares, “Why are we here, please give me a meaning. What is the purpose, reason or rhyme? Is it to fear this truth turned to treason? Should I go wordless if speaking’s a crime?” Also, Balkey has a ballad for the West Memphis Three, a cover of John Fogerty’s “Deja Vu (All Over Again)” and Johnny Cash’s “Man in Black.”
Doors will open at 7 p.m., and Balkey starts at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults and $8 for students and seniors.
Another romantic band, but not in the purist sense of the word: Honky, from Austin, Texas, is a heavy-metal and Southern rock trio drenched in tobacco chew and whiskey (Jim Beam, not Jack Daniel’s, thank you very much) that will appear at Vino’s Brewpub on Monday, May 15. Led by former Butthole Surfer J.D. Pinkus, the group’s platform is basically romanticizing bar-brawling good-time rock, and being completely unapologetic about it. The band is completed by Bobby Ed Langraf and Justin Collins, who some of us know as the former drummer for Go Fast and the nerdy incidental percussionist for Sugar and the Raw (back when it was “in” the Raw). He’s sporting a mini-ZZ Top beard like the other two guys, and banging it out furiously, as we remember, and from the photos we’ve seen he looks happier than Beulah the Cow.
Honky’s last album, “Balls Out Inn,” is a tribute to everything that is important to them: whiskey, wimmen and reefer.
Smoke Up Johnny, which drew a standing-room-only crowd at Pizza D’s last Saturday, and Josh the Devil and the Sinners are the opening acts for the 8 p.m. show. Admission is $7.
Sticky Fingerz will showcase acoustic music from coast to coast Thursday and Friday, starting with an instrumental rock duo El Ten Eleven from Silverlake, Calif. Don’t yawn from the description; it’s the kind of mind-melding kinetic rock where words become useless. Get there at 9:30 p.m. sharp, because you don’t want to missing the opening act, local intelligent pop-rock group Sao Paulo (led by Bryan Frazier). Thursday’s admission is $5.
And, few can believe that the Damnwells (playing Friday, May 12, at Sticky’s) are from Brooklyn, N.Y. Their style is more easy-going and descriptive ballad rock, like Wilco. Friday’s show starts at 9:30 p.m., and admission is $5.
There are a couple of Fayetteville bands worth checking out over the next few days:
Phantazmelodia does an OK Computer show on Wednesday, May 15, at Sticky Fingerz. These were the guys that drove to the Musicians Showcase with three hours notice in March, and made it time, only to return late that evening with university classes or work the next day. Band members are Jovan Arellano (acoustic guitar, vocals, keys), Jeff Dudley (bass guitar, vocals), Sam Dudley (electric guitar), Aaron Shaneyfelt (percussion) and Trevor Bates (keys, guitar, vocals). They start Wednesday at 10 p.m. Admission is $5.
Meanwhile, keyboards — yep keyboards — are what drives Fayetteville electronica-punk group Tel Aviv. The band manages to keep it raw and scratchy and melodic at the same time. We listened to “Color Theory II,” which was a five-or-so-minute instrumental. It would be the perfect backdrop for a reading of Edgar Allen Poe’s poem “The Bells.” We’ve heard that Tel Aviv’s live shows are not to be missed. Two Spines is also on the bill at White Water Tavern on Saturday. The 10 p.m. show costs $5.
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