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Brace for roughneck rockabilly at White Water Tavern 

COWPUNKERS: Hotrod Hillbillies.
  • COWPUNKERS: Hotrod Hillbillies.

They’re hell on well-oiled 18 wheels, and for fans of bands such as Rev. Horton Heat or Devil Doll, Austin, Texas-based roughneck rockabilly trio Hotrod Hillbillies will be at the White Water Tavern on Saturday July 3.

These headliners sneer with a country drawl, they drink with abandon and they cover the Misfits. Rocking around the clock can take on a whole new meaning when the driving force is cowpunk and greasy retro-rockabilly with professionally precise strumming, thumping and kicking no matter how much PBR they might drink during the night. We’ve been a witness: Ask for “Chickens and Pigs,” from their new album “Under the Texas Sky”

Local trio Josh the Devil and the Sinners will open around 10 p.m. They are gore-punkabilly with a screw-you attitude, featuring such songs as “Stab You in the Face.” The last time we caught JDS, the band did a cover of Kenny Roger’s “The Gambler,” an homage to Rogers, we’re sure.

Admission Saturday is $5.



If you caught the Triple-S Alarm Stage at Riverfest in late May with the Neville Brothers and Ivan Neville on the Saturday lineup, you also may have heard an extraordinary guitar player and ex-resident of New Orleans named Ted Ludwig, whose impressive show preceded Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk.

Ludwig returns to a couple of stages in Central Arkansas next week. On Monday, July 3, he’ll headline a Monday Jazz Project show at the Afterthought, beginning at 7 p.m. Admission is $5. On Thursday, July 7, he’ll give a free show with his trio at the outside plaza of the William Laman Library, 2801 Orange St. in North Little Rock. Besides the free admission, the library will also have free refreshments for the 7 p.m. show.

There is no rock is Ludwig’s game. He’s a student of the lauded New Orleans instructor Hank Mackie, and also received the very first ASCAP/Louis Armstrong Foundation scholarship. Joe Vick and Dave Rogers, regulars in the local jazz circuit will provide support for Ludwig at the Afterthought show.



Memphis heavy-groove rock band Yamagata returns to regular Little Rock haunting ground Midtown Billiards late Friday, June 30, starting at 1 a.m. (actually Saturday morning).

Yamagata means “shape of a mountain” in Japanese. Yes, they are jammy in the style of New Orleans’ Galactic, with trippy, rocked out and improvisational music. They’ve worked with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Col. Bruce Hampton and the Codetalkers. Admission is $3 for members to get in, with memberships available at the door.

Also, check your vitals, as Organ Thief will be at Midtown on Saturday, July 1 (or specifically after midnight on Sunday, June 2). The funky indie rock band , also from Memphis, has a cheekily named album, “Orphan Teeth,” with a George Clinton meets Talking Heads sound. Good late-night stuff, we think.



We suggest music lovers venture to West Little Rock and see Chris Henry, the great local guitarist who wowed us at the Musicians Showcase earlier this year and who will be at Grumpy’s on Friday, June 30. There is no cover charge, and he starts around 9 p.m.

You can check out an mp3 (along with those other local artists) of Henry’s single “Greater Good” on the new Arkansas Musician’s Showcase jukebox on the Little Rocking blog at www.arktimes.com.



Second Place Cafe for its annual family Fourth of July party will have good-time bluegrass from the Acousticatz. Admission is $6 per family member (with a $24 max for families) and the music starts at 6 p.m. Admission includes refreshments and a shuttle to the Peabody for the fireworks display over the Arkansas River later that evening.

Second Place is held at the Second Baptist Church, at 8th and Cumberland streets, and is smoke- and alcohol-free.



Also on July 4, Nasty Abbott plans a big show at the White Water. The band has been working on some new material, some of which is posted on its web site, www.myspace.com/nastyabbott. “No Show Friday,” an honest, wistful and muddy rock song, remains our favorite.

Nasty Abbott will appear along with Piglet and I Need Sleep at 10 p.m.. Admission is $5.



Shaggy-haired alt-rock group the Loft challenges the idea that Nashville is all about country. It’s more sweaty Red Hot Chili Peppers or Black Crows-type rock with a bluesy Southern rock feel, and you can see the Loft at Sticky Fingerz on Friday, June 30 (9:30 p.m. $5).



Dreamy LA rock-band The Slow Signal Fade is described in the band’s press material as “ ’90s Shoegazers sound meets ’60s psychedelic rock,” with a vocalist (Marguerite Olivelle) who will remind you of those smart rock chicks such as Grace Slick and Siouxsie Sue. TSSF will appear at Sticky Fingerz on Wednesday, July 5. Admission is $5; the show starts at 9:30 p.m.



It’s hard to write about local outfit Ho-Hum without mentioning independent gubernatorial candidate and band co-founder Rod Bryan. According to his web site, Bryan has gathered 11,800 signatures, which if certified will put him in the running in the November general election (one of those signatures is reportedly that of Gov. Mike Huckabee himself).

Politics aside (if that’s possible in this case), the band is considered locally as political AND pop heroes, and Ho-Hum after 20 years continues to possess the drive to create some of the area’s best hook-laden and personally expressed, experimental folk pop. The CD “Losty” was self-released on Playadel label last year.

Ho-Hum plays at Juanita’s on Saturday, July 1. The New Idealist opens at 9:30 p.m. Admission is $5 for all ages.

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