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Princes return as kings 

Rockers return home under a new label for ‘Little Spaces.’

PRINCES: Back home in LR.
  • PRINCES: Back home in LR.
American Princes, the down-to-earth independent rockers who we recall fondly from their participation in the Young Voters Project in Little Rock a year ago, return home for the first time since inking a deal a few weeks back with Yep Roc Records out of North Carolina. They’ll be playing Vino’s Brewpub on Friday, Aug. 19. American Princes recorded “Little Spaces” on Burt Taggart’s Max Recordings of Little Rock last year. Now, Yep Roc has remastered it and will re-release the CD nationally on Aug. 23, with new packaging. Collins Kilgore, the band’s lead guitarist, says the group also has completed its next album, tentatively titled “Less and Less,” and is looking at a release date soon. “The re-release is the first step in what I think could be a pretty big future,” Kilgore said. Max Recordings has a staff of two; Yep Roc features a staff of 30 with its own publicity, radio promotion and retail department. The 3-year-old group, originally made up of Little Rock’s John Beachboard and New Yorkers David Slade and Matt Quin, was formed in New York before that trio moved to Little Rock, where Kilgore joined the band. “I had met David, who was friends with John, and stayed at David’s place in New York, which was more like a closet,” Kilgore said. “They played a show at my house in Conway, basically their first show down here. I didn’t catch on at the time that they had their eye on me to join the band, but pretty much after that show, I signed on. I really liked what I heard.” What followed was nights of practicing in a shed in Scott in the middle of winter, Kilgore driving in from Conway. “Everything was running off an extension cord. We couldn’t even use the heaters or it would blow the entire electrical system. We were just drinking cheap beer and making music.” Beachboard has left the band to pursue a cooking career. The group’s new bass player is Luke Hunsicker. “We saw him play with the Evelyns at White Water [Tavern] and knew that he was the one.” The rest of the lineup remains unchanged, with Slade on rhythm guitar and Quin on drums. All members take turns at vocals and songwriting. Next up for the group after this weekend’s show is a six-week tour starting on the West Coast, a new area for the Princes to conquer and where Kilgore says dryly that the “gas prices are the highest.” Eventually the tour will take them back to New York, where they have a spot at the CMJ (College Music Journal) Festival Sept. 24. Amor Es Revenge and Chow Quay are the lead-in acts, starting at 8:30 p.m. Admission is $5. n Meanwhile, don’t feel sorry for Max Recordings’ Burt Taggart. He says he’s glad to see the American Princes on the Yep Roc label, he’s bookin their tour, and he says he has other things up his sleeve as well. He told us in an e-mail: “Just this week [we] started work on what will be the 14th release for the label. It’s a solo disc by a friend of mine from LR but now residing in NYC who calls himself Drexel. Not the safest choice I could have made, but I really do enjoy the record and so it’s where I’ve decided to throw my money and energy next. After that will be two releases from Kevin Kerby. First will be a 45 single followed this winter by his first solo CD. Recorded both here in LR and in Texas, this one is great, great stuff.” Max Recordings recently released the Boondogs’ new CD “Fever Dreams.” Describing his music as “sitting on the country side of blue-collar rock,” Wade Bowen says he’s “having fun doing what I’m doing,” and will bring some Texas-style revelry to Sticky Fingerz on Thursday, Aug. 18. The New Braunfels, Texas, product recorded his most recent album, 2003’s “Blue Skies,” in a live setting, and it reaped big awards both from fans and bigwigs in the Austin-area music industry. That success, he said in an interview last week, gave him the time and the connections to perfect his upcoming studio effort, “Lost Hotel,” due out in January. Bowen’s been working and touring hard in the past few years, he said, as a headliner in smaller venues and as opener for various regional artists such as Randy Rogers and Pat Green, both friends of Bowen’s whose careers have grown exponentially within the last couple of years. Bowen said he has noticed his “crowds are getting bigger” during his eight years of playing, and says it inspires him to try to find something fresh and new to deliver to his audiences. His new album will have 14 original songs, including more of his Texas-panhandle, working-man country rock as well as a love song — not for love unrequited, but for his wife, who gave birth to their son a month ago. Admission for Thursday’s 9 p.m. show is $5. Greg Gardner will open the show. Juanita’s is expecting yet another full house when the Fort Smith-based, hard rocking Starkz headlines a show on Saturday, Aug. 20. Butch Stone, the group’s manager, says Starkz has sold 5,000 records from Little Rock to Memphis, and holds the record for the most sold-out shows at Juanita’s — 11, not counting this latest appearance. The show starts at 9:30 p.m. with openers Life Away and 13X. Admission is $8. The group will play Memphis’ New Daisy Theater in Memphis on Friday, Aug. 19. Starkz was also scheduled to appear on the Arkansas Times Entertainment 120 on WAIradio.com streaming broadcast this week. That show will be aired Thursday and Friday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and will be available also on the station’s archive. Blues that incorporates the didgeridoo? Yes, it’s true, and a new one to us, but the ancient aboriginal instrument is used along with some great chromatic harmonica by Australian native Harper, who comes to Cajun’s Wharf on Thursday, Aug. 18. Admission is $5.
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