Autumn temps are perfect for outdoor activities
THE MUSIC FACTORY PRESENTS: TRES DIVAS
8 p.m. The Joint. $10.
Here's a sure bet for fans of female vocalists. As you might have surmised from the title, Tres Divas features three vocalists — Heather Smith, Stephanie Smittle and Charlotte Taylor — performing with The Music Factory, a crack backing band with Ray Wittenberg on drums and vocals, Bill McCumber on bass and Wythe Walker handling lead guitar, vocals and keyboard. Those players are also members of The Smittle Band, with Smittle, who's just back from Arezzo in northern Italy where she took part in the Oberlin in Italy summer music program. Also singing with The Music Factory will be jazz stylist and actress Smith and blues virtuoso Taylor, who has performed with Gypsy Rain among others.
NORTH MISSISSIPPI ALLSTARS
8:30 p.m. Revolution. $20.
There is nothing else that can touch the hypnotic, almost otherworldly sound of Mississippi Hill Country blues — pioneered by Mississippi Fred McDowell, R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, Otha Turner and Jessie Mae Hemphill, among others. There are folks carrying on that tradition, notably Cedric Burnside and Lightnin' Malcolm. If you dig that sound, get ready to get excited about the forthcoming album from The North Mississippi Allstars, the long-running project of brothers Luther and Cody Dickinson, who grew up in that area. The record is called "World Boogie is Coming," named after a phrase their legendary dad, the late Jim Dickinson, would use as a sign-off and all-around motto. The Dickinson brothers decided they really needed to get back to the basics. In a trailer for the album, Cody Dickinson says the album was "recorded at our home base, The Barn, Jim Dickinson's Zebra Ranch. We bought new computer gear and a one-inch 8-track tape machine. Instead of locking the doors and getting into a personal secretive creative trip of new songs and experimental directions, we invited everyone from home and did what we do best — turned it up to 10 and threw down some nasty Mississippi rock 'n' roll." Sounds awesome. Opening up the show with some grimy Memphis blues is the Patrick Dodd Trio.
KEVIN GORDON, ISAAC ALEXANDER
9:30 p.m. White Water Tavern.
White Water Tavern's been on a tear the last many many months with heavy-hitter singer/songwriters. They've had Mary Gauthier, David Olney (who'll return next week), Malcolm Holcombe and probably a bunch more I can't remember. This week sees a return from Louisiana native Kevin Gordon. Critics like to toss around words like "literary" and "bleak" and "Southern gothic" when describing Gordon's music, and I suppose that's fine as all those terms probably apply. But there are rays of sunshine peeking through his stories of the rough times of boozy deadbeats. Check out the triumphant sounding "24 Diamonds" from his 2005 album "O Come Look at the Burning." Dude ain't exactly hyperprolific, as the follow-up to that album was last year's "Gloryland," but hell, you'll need a minute or several to unpack his songs, especially the thrilling, sprawling 10-minute-plus story/song "Colfax." Very good stuff, but also check out the live version on Gordon's ReverbNation page — it's just relentless. Also on this bill: One of Arkansas's finest, Isaac Alexander.
THURSDAY 8/1- SATURDAY 8/3
A WORK OF ART
Various times, venues and cover prices.
Earlier this week, the third annual A Work of Art celebration kicked off. The weeklong event honors the lives and musical contributions of Little Rock natives and jazz musicians and educators Art Porter Sr. and Art Porter Jr., while also helping to raise money for the scholarship program awarded annually by the nonprofit Art Porter Music Education. This year's scholar is clarinetist Jordan Ladyman of Searcy. Performing Thursday at Sway will be Dallas singer Martha Burks (7:30 p.m., $25-$40). The Porter Players play a free concert Friday at The Afterthought (8 p.m.). Saturday is the APME scholarship program at Clear Channel Metroplex. The evening will include a performances from Porter heir Lexington Porter, Teen Jeopardy champ Leonard Cooper, emcees Pamela Smith and former Miss Arkansas Alyse Eady, and a headlining performance from longtime Philly R&B and jazz ensemble Pieces of a Dream (8 p.m., $35-$50).