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Johnny Cash Music Festival returns to ASU 

THURSDAY 8/15-SATURDAY 8/17

EUREKA SPRINGS BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL

Various times and venues.

The music festivals up in the Little Switzerland of the Ozarks continue with the annual Eureka Springs Bluegrass Festival, which kicks off at 7 p.m. Thursday at Basin Spring Park with The Water Melon Social, which features free water and watermelon. There'll be an open jam as well, so bring your banjo or your fiddle or your dobro or your acoustic guitar or your mandolin or your harmonica or your standup bass and go ahead and join in. Starting at noon on Friday and Saturday, there will be free music at the park. Friday's lineup includes the Eureka Springs Bluegrass Band, Gary Allbritton & Friends, The Dragon Masters, Mountain View Friends and The Clark Family Trio with Bill Nesbitt. Saturday's free offerings include The Buffalo City Ramblers, The Dragon Masters, Buddy Griffin & Friends, The Clark Family, Pam Setser and Mountain View Friends, The Gravel Yard Bluegrass Band and Ozark Alliance. Saturday night at The Auditorium boasts a huge lineup of players, including Tim Crouch, Arkansas Red, Ron Landers, Donny Catron, Retro & Smiling, Spoon Man and headliners Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press (filling in for Jesse McReynolds, who is unable to perform because of health issues). That show starts at 7 p.m. and tickets are $18-$28. Call 479-253-7333 for more information.

FRIDAY 8/16

FOUL PLAY CABARET, THE FRONTIER CIRCUS

9 p.m. Maxine's. $10 adv., $12 day of.

Could there be a more appealing combination of entertainers for the discerning gadabout than country musicians and burlesque performers? I think not. The burlesque troupe in this case would be the lovely, the beautiful and talented, the coolly unflappable ladies of the Foul Play Cabaret, est. 2011, Hot Springs, Ark. According to the group's online bio, Foul Play Cabaret "has been capturing the hearts of many with their diverse and sultry shows, proving that the only thing hotter than the water in Hot Springs, Arkansas is the women." Zing! If you require evidence of this claim, check 'em out on the ole YouTube, they've got some, uh, teasers posted on there. Yowza! As far as the music portion of the evening is concerned, that will be handled by The Frontier Circus, a rambunctious bunch of rabble-rousers who mangle your favorite country and garage-psych classics in a delightfully feedback-enveloped manner.

FRIDAY 8/16

JIMBO MATHUS AND THE TRI-STATE COALITION

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

We've written quite a bit about Mississippi's Jimbo Mathus here at the Times and that's because, well, No. 1 we're just big fans of his music. His great recent "White Buffalo" album is still getting spins around these parts (Man, that opener, "In the Garden," is a classic). But also, he comes up with nuggets like the following, which was his answer to a question in a recent interview with the Austin Chronicle's Derek Van Wagner. The fellow asked him: What makes good American music? Mathus said: "What a hard question that is. I'd say get some bark on you, do your homework and just love music and be passionate about the roots of your indigenous music and play and have fun with it. And that makes you a great American and a great patriot. I like music that creates a positive influence in the world. Positive change — that's what I'm trying to be." It was a hard question, but that sure sounds like the correct answer. Also on this bill: blues singer/songwriter Davis Coen, a South Carolina native based out of Memphis. He performed at our Heritage Hog Roast back in May. Check out his tune "Change in the Weather," it's a good'n.

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