Showcase time 

The Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase launches on Frday.

DOIN' IT ALL: Jodan Atwater opens up the Musicians Showcase.
  • DOIN' IT ALL: Jodan Atwater opens up the Musicians Showcase.

I wasn't around for the beginning of the Musicians Showcase a decade ago, but I've got to think that the decision to call it the “Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase” as opposed to something like the “Arkansas Times Battle of the Bands,” spoke to a desire to host a contest that showed off local talent in all its diversity, local acts the community didn't know about, but should.

Our line-up last year fit that criteria, I think, but if people didn't know a lot of the participants, it was because they weren't following local music at all. This year, I believe our talent pool is just as rich (or richer), but it's filled with a lot of bands even the most ardent follower of local music might not have seen. So make plans to come out; there's bound to be plenty of surprises.

Here's the lowdown: Over the next five weeks — one Friday, three Thursdays and another Friday — 20 semi-finalists (four each week), selected from scores of entrants from across the state, compete at Sticky Fingerz to advance to the final round, to be held Friday, March 6, at Revolution.

Each week the four permanent judges below and one guest judge will grade the semi-finalists on song quality, originality and, to a lesser extent, musicianship and showmanship. Make sure you read Rock Candy online for results.

The first night kicks off at 9 p.m. Friday with …

Frown Pow'r. Mostly from Arkadelphia, but based now in Little Rock, the young foursome specializes in a raucous blend of backwoods folk and garage noise. All the musicians, who in addition to typical drums and guitars also play banjo, electric mandolin and Theremin, count “stomping” as one of their duties. Look for the group's debut full-length, tentatively titled “Ricky Record 1,” in the near future on Thick Syrup Records.

Velvet Kente. One of the ever-shifting performance names for local composer joshua. (he keeps his last name for himself in music), who after creating a local buzz in '06 and '07, dropped off the local scene last year. He wasn't in hibernation. He gigged in places like Kansas City, Memphis and Nashville and lent an infectious Afrobeat track to “Project Runway's” Korto Momolu for Bryant Park. He'll be backed on Friday by a full band, including Afrodesia's Tim Anthony.

Magic Hassle. During down time, American Princes David Slade and Matt Quin started piddling with this side project almost a year ago, but only in the last couple of months, with the addition of Ryan “Straw” Britton on bass and Eric Morris on guitar, has the band really become a band. They've got a three-song tour EP, which they'll probably sell you, and they hope to put something else out, maybe a split EP, in the not too distant future. File under smart, punchy indie rock.

Jordan Atwater. Still perhaps known more for her music video work (Epiphany, Elise Davis, Rockst*r), the local multi-talent launched her solo musical career — and her album, “Emotional Intelligence” —  early last year with an elaborate song-and-dance-and-video-and-full-band blowout at Windsong. She'll likely offer a condensed version, which still runs the gamut from rock to R&B, on Friday.



Feb. 5: Whale Fire, Nik and Sam, Gina Gee, Loch Ness Monster.

Feb. 12: Four on the Floor, Style Guide (formerly Bad Balance), the See, Sean West.

Feb. 19: Midwest Caravan, Rockst*r, Good Time Ramblers, the Chicklettes.

Feb. 27: The Weisenheimers, Jonathan Wilkins, Riverboat Crime, Apples and Spades.


Jason Weinheimer

Who? Singer/songwriter, producer, jingle writer.

Claim to fame. Exploiting the dot.com boom, co-writing and producing everything Boondogs, composing that “Keep Arkansas Beautiful,” song.


Nicole Boddington

Who? Local music critic.

Claim to fame. Contributing to Localist, Oxford American, American Songwriter.

Little known fact. A Britney Spears look-alike contest in high school won her an autographed photo and front row seats at Alltel.



Who? Last year's winner.

Claim to fame. Surely he's Little Rock's finest rapper. If you doubt it, check out “Pressure, Part Two” on his latest album, “Mirrors of Time.” It's his 31st.

Up next. International fame.


Jason Tedford

Who? Producer/musician.

Claim to fame. Playing bass in Ashtray Babyhead, producing most everyone in town in his Wolfman Studios.

Up next. Producing the next big local album.


Joey Lucas guest judge

Who? Record store owner.

Claim to fame. The newly opened Circa '76 record store at 1910 W. Third, a spot that aims to be the hub for local music.

Up next. Expanding his fledgling store.





Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

Most Shared

  • Sarah Huckabee Sanders to be deputy White House press secretary

    Donald Trump announced additional White House staff today, notably including Sarah Huckabee Sanders, deputy assistant to the president and principal deputy press secretary.
  • Legislation filed for $10 million school voucher program

    The legislation to vastly expand transfer of state tax dollars to private schools came before the school choice day event I mentioned earlier.
  • Watch the trailer for 'Shelter,' the Renaud Bros. new doc on homeless kids in New Orleans

    Check out the trailer for "Shelter," the Renaud Bros. new feature-length documentary about homeless teens navigating life on the streets of New Orleans with the help of Covenant House, the longstanding French Quarter shelter for homeless kids.
  • Trumpeting

    When President-elect Trump announced he would, in a few days, force Congress to enact comprehensive health insurance for everyone, poor or rich, that would provide better and cheaper care than they've ever gotten, you had to wonder whether this guy is a miracle worker or a fool.
  • Putin and Trump

    Here's a thought exercise: What do you suppose would happen if Russian strongman Vladimir Putin decided to clarify remarks he reportedly made about Donald Trump during the election campaign?

Latest in A&E Feature

Visit Arkansas

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

Jack Pearadin and Doug Nelsen found a 1.73-carat diamond after nearly a year of searching the park's field.

Event Calendar

« »


1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31  

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation