Arkansas’s first environmental education state park interprets the importance of the natural world and our place within it.
REBECCA GAYLE HOWELL
7 p.m. Oxford American Annex. Free.
In between translating the works of the acclaimed Iraqi poet Amal al-Jubouri, earning a Ph.D. from a university in Lubbock, Texas (birthplace of Buddy Holly and Joe Ely), and releasing an already-sold-out, much-adored book of poetry called "Render/An Apocalypse," that led New York's State Poet Marie Howe to claim, "This is the book you want with you in the cellar when the tornado is upstairs taking your house and your farm," Kentucky native and Pushcart Prize winner Rebecca Gaye Howell has been selected as the new poetry editor of the Little Rock-based Oxford American magazine. National Book Award winner Nikky Finney calls Howell's poems "haunting and hungry," and it isn't hard to see what she means. One of her poems, "A Catalogue of What You Don't Have," is a single word: "Enough." Howell will read from her work Thursday night at the Oxford American Annex (next to South on Main), alongside local poets Hope Coulter and Sandy Longhorn. WS
9 p.m. White Water Tavern.
Malcolm Holcombe looks uncannily like Neil Young and sounds, as a writer for No Depression once put it, "like an Appalachian Keith Richards with strep throat." He has one of those stories, too, those career narratives of talent thwarted by commercial reluctance or fourth-quarter record label misgivings: His first album, "A Hundred Lies," ("Knowin' right, still doin' wrong/As a hundred lies unfold"), was recorded in 1996 and shelved for several years, the eventual release prompting Rolling Stone magazine to say Holcombe "sounds like he could have cut these ten songs forty years ago, for Folkways Records, or just yesterday at your kitchen table," which I think is almost entirely complimentary. He worked a stint as a cook at a Nashville bar, untying his apron to take the stage and sing lines like, "There's belonging in just longing for someone." "I didn't think Malcolm would make it out," Justin Townes Earle has said. "I was afraid that he was going to become another one of those famous-after-death songwriters. Malcolm's whole thing was always unpredictable. He'd disappear for a week, then come back and do something insane." But then here he is, several full-fledged and intelligent albums later, a compulsively watchable performer serving Deep South zen koans and harsh, steel string hammer-ons that make him grimace and convulse. You get the feeling that it hurts him more than it hurts us, and it will hurt us a little. WS
KUHS 97.9 FUNDRAISER
8 p.m. Maxine's, Hot Springs. $5.
Low Key Arts, the Hot Springs nonprofit that sponsors Valley of the Vapors and all sorts of other worthwhile cultural events, recently got a license to start a community radio station, KUHS FM, 97.9, and it's aiming to start broadcasting early next year. "Imagine a Hot Springs radio station broadcasting jazz, blues, rock, classical, world beat, hip-hop, punk, metal and news programming," its statement reads. "These are all cultures represented in Hot Springs who may soon have a voice!" The fundraising event at Maxine's (these things cost money) will feature Brother Andy and His Big Damn Mouth, Joe Meazle, All the Way Korean, The Casual Pleasures (a new band featuring members of Ezra Lbs and Groovecluster), Amanda Avery, Chuck Dodson, Paul Sammons and more. There will also be "live art," which sounds intriguing if puzzling, plus a raffle, and food and drink specials. WS
STONE'S THROW BREWING BIRTHDAY BASH
4 p.m. Stone's Throw. $3.
It's hard to believe it's been a year since Stone's Throw Brewing opened its doors — impossible to believe. Where has the time gone? How old does that make us? It's like Yoko Ono once wrote: "Spring passes and one remembers one's innocence/summer passes and one remembers one's exuberance/autumn passes and one remembers one's reverence/winter passes and one remembers one's perseverance./There is a season that never passes, and that is the season of glass." You know? Anyhow, the microbrewery will celebrate its first birthday this weekend with a block party. Thanks, guys! There will be live music and a ton of food trucks (including the Waffle Wagon, Southern Gourmasian, the Pie Hole and my favorite, Luncheria Mexicana Alicia, plus many others). Also, and this should go without saying, Stone's Throw is bringing beer. WS
STEVE MARTIN AND THE STEEP CANYON RANGERS
7:30 p.m. Walmart AMP, Rogers. $69-$89.
There's little ground in show business that Steve Martin has yet to cover. Since he got his start as a comedy writer and stand-up in the '60s, he's appeared on millions of television and movie screens, written plays and New Yorker articles, and hosted the Academy Awards three times.
These days, he plays the banjo. No surprise he's good at that, too. He and the Steep Canyon Rangers, alongside Edie Brickell from the New Bohemians, will team up next Sunday night to furnish what will likely prove a spirited blend of comedy and bluegrass. Last year, the Rangers won the Best Bluegrass Album Grammy for their album, "Nobody Knows You," and were nominated the previous year for "Rare Bird Alert," produced in collaboration with Martin.
But there's another Grammy duo in this trio — Martin and Brickell won the 2014 Grammy for Best American Roots Song for "Love Has Come For You." All told, it should be a worthy spectacle, especially if Martin starts dancing. CG
9 p.m. White Water Tavern. $5.
In the late '80s, Cary Hudson shared a house with the other members of a band called The Hilltops on Van Buren Avenue in Oxford, Miss. According to an article Jamie Quatro wrote about the band for the Oxford American some years ago, Barry Hannah was their next-door neighbor and would sometimes come jam with them. "Some nights he brings his trumpet over and blows along with them," Quatro writes, "doing his best Miles Davis." Sometimes he'd bring Larry Brown over, too, which makes them about the most quintessentially Oxford, Miss., band that ever existed. Later, Cary and his then-wife and bass player, Laurie Stirratt, would form Blue Mountain, a great and important alt-country band from an era of great and important alt-country bands. Now Hudson has gone solo and has made a string of good singer-songwriter records, the newest being "Town and Country." According to his website, he enjoys "riding his bike to the snowcone stand and going for leisurely walks with his dogs." WS