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Jimbo Mathus at White Water Tavern 

THURSDAY 2/14

WINSTON FAMILY ORCHESTRA

10 p.m. White Water Tavern. $5.

Ah, Valentine's Day. It's rolled around again, that innocuous-seeming engine of capitalism that helps insure healthy returns for Hallmark and florists and fancy restaurants and Victoria's Secret and who knows what all other components of the economy. Of course, you don't have to go along with all that, whether you have a sweetheart or you're on your own. You could go to a dive-y bar and drink cheap beer and listen to rock bands. And hey, if you're not at the Times Showcase (see page 22), you could come check out Winston Family Orchestra and Color Club. Guitarist Jordan Trotter, from Grand Serenade, has joined WFO. If you missed Color Club's record release show from a few weeks back, here's your chance to see them. RB

FRIDAY 2/15

JIMBO MATHUS & THE TRI-STATE COALITION

10 p.m. White Water Tavern. $10.

We mentioned this a while back in a feature about him, but Jimbo Mathus and his band The Tri-State Coalition have a fantastic new album out on Fat Possum. It's called "White Buffalo," and Times contributor Joe Meazle, who wrote the feature, had high praise for it. "Found within the album's 10 tracks are blistering Southern rock riffs, heartfelt reflective ballads, back-road pop tunes and eerie midnight highway dirges," he wrote. "The record really seems to show off Mathus' songwriting and the Tri-State Coalition's versatility, while Eric 'Roscoe' Ambel's production keeps them reined in just enough. Ambel's relationship with Mathus is a new one and I hope it continues." Well, I just got word that Ambel, who lives in New York (and has performed alongside heavies like Steve Earle) will be flying in to play with the band at this album release show. Also, it should be noted that Ambel was one of the owners of The Lakeside Lounge, an East Village joint that was probably the best bar in the city and certainly had the best jukebox. Sadly, Lakeside closed last year on account of the vicissitudes of capitalism — a.k.a., the rent is too damn high. Mathus went up there to play for the bar's last hurrah, so Ambel is returning the favor and it's happening at White Water. Seriously, that place was a great bar, and it (along with Rosemary's Greenpoint Tavern) was where I spent an unhealthy amount of time during my brief tenure in the big city. Mathus shows are always a good time, but this here is not one to miss. RB

SATURDAY 2/16- SUNDAY 2/17

18TH ANNUAL ARKANSAS CUSTOM KNIFE SHOW

10 a.m. Robinson Center Exhibition Hall. $10.

Arkansas has long been to big ol' knives what Kentucky is to bourbon, with the state's historical influence in the field going back to the most famous big ol' knife of all: the Bowie Knife, first made by blacksmith James Black at the request of Jim Bowie around 1830 at what is now Old Washington. Heck, Rambo's big ol' knives were even made here by the late, great Russellville knifesmith Jimmy Lile, and you don't get much more badass than that. Arkansas has many fine craftsmen carrying on the tradition. You can see the best of their work — and the work of bladesmiths from 28 other states and Taiwan — at this year's Arkansas Custom Knife Show, presented by the Arkansas Knifemakers Association. Now in its 18th year, the show will feature 152 tables and some of the best blades seen anywhere. Craftsmen will be on hand to discuss their calling and sell their creations, as well as leather crafters, sellers of knife-making supplies and more. The show will feature hourly door prizes, and awards will be given in a variety of categories. Ten bucks gets you in both days. DK

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