The words the music press (me, regretfully, included) uses to describe nontradtitional country music get silly pretty quickly. Alt-country, Americana, no depression, y'allternative. But when you're talking about singer/songwriter Robbie Fulks, one of those usually meaningless synonyms sounds about right: insurgent country. Born in Raleigh, N.C., and raised there and in Virginia and Pennsylvania, Fulks launched his musical career in Chicago in the mid-'90s on Bloodshot Records with a cheeky ode to his birthplace, “Cigarette State,” and a tribute to a silver-screen flameout, “She Took a Lot of Pills (And Died).” The humor and irreverence in those songs predicted the rich career that's followed. Fulks has always been at odds with contemporary country music — sometimes reaching back to the countrypolitan days of the likes of Bill Anderson, sometimes mixing the genre with a hearty dose of R&B or pop and sometimes going at Nashville head-on, like with his famously acerbic “Fuck This Town.” Fulks comes to Sticky Fingerz solo, armed with a guitar and six albums worth of material. Anything could hap-pen. LM.
9 p.m., White Water Tavern. $5.
Spritely folk singer Samantha Crain just released (re-released, really) her five-song debut EP on Ramseur Records, the North Carolina label that's the home, notably, of the Avett Brothers. Except the album isn't an EP; it's a “musical novella.” Crain, a 21-year-old Oklahoma native, casually drops references to Keats and his Negative Capability theory in interviews. She talks about “grotesque realism” in Southern gothic literature, how it's “so-real-it's-unreal.” It's fair to say that she has some literary aspirations. But before you dismiss all the high-mindedness, take a listen to Crain's voice, which is tremulous, bright and whimsical — affecting enough to imagine a time when Crain will outgrow ven-ues like White Water. This is a show worth catching. LM.
‘THE COREY AND JAY SHOW' 10 YEAR BASH
4 p.m., Riverfest Amphitheatre. $30.
A 10-year anniversary in radio time isn't insignificant, and Corey and Jay, the morning jocks on 100.3 “The Edge,” known for segments like the “Head Up Your Ass Headlines,” aren't taking it lightly. To help them celebrate, they've assembled a line-up of some of the heaviest names in hard rock for a one-day concert. Straight outta Memphis, Egypt Central kicks the day off with a brand of alt-metal that was good enough for the soundtrack to Stone Cold Steve Austin's “The Condemned.” At 5 p.m., Mississippi's Saving Abel peppers their alt-rock with a hearty supply of Southern flavor. WWE fans know Rev. Theory; their song “Light It Up” was used as the theme for WrestleMania this year. Ozzfest vets Drowning Pool follow at 7:10 p.m. with alt-metal. Hot on the heels of the release of their new album, “The Sound of Madness,” Shinedown brings a fist-pumping brand of sing-a-long hard rock at 8:30 p.m. Closing out the night with an hour-and-a-half set, Puddle of Mud makes up for one of the worst band names in the history of band names with a string of catchy post-grunge that's made it perhaps the most popular modern rock band in the country. LM.
7:30 p.m., Weekend Theater. $14-$18.
The Weekend Theater bills “Godspell,” the musical that first hit off-Broadway in 1971, as an agape — a love-feast — dedicated to light and joy and love. Love-feast? There will, at least, be singing, probably joyful. Drawing its name from an archaic pronunciation of “gospel,” “Godspell” explores the teachings of Jesus from the book of Matthew, parables like the Good Samaritan, Lazarus and the prodigal son. Expect humor, irreverence and singing. The musical numbers combine the lyrics of traditional hymns with more modern music — rock, folk, country and pop. You might remember the exuberant “Day by Day.” It made it to No. 13 on the Billboard charts in 1972.
When James Lipton asked Sean Penn about his movies' entertainment value on “Inside the Actor's Studio,” Penn replied, “If it's enter-tainment you're looking for, grab a couple of hookers and an eight-ball.” Longtime Guns N' Roses keyboardist Dizzy Reed apparently shares this philosophy, along with practically every Headbanger's Ball veteran who survived the debauchery inherent to 1980s hair bands — women at every corner and enough cocaine to alter the outcome of six Super Bowls. Perhaps Reed's current touring ensemble, Hookers N' Blow, represents an homage to surviving such reckless abandon. One of only two remaining G N' R members from the “Use Your Illusion” days who still hold a place on its unsteady roster, Reed, flanked by Hookers N' Blow, makes his way into Sticky Fingerz to administer a loading dose of G N' R tunes, as well as originals and a handful of well-known covers. Expect Reed to handle vocals and keys as well as guitars. Who would expect that Reed is additionally a fan of Christian music pioneer Larry Norman, that he recently scored music for “The Still Life” as well as “Celebrity Art Show,” or that he's tried his hand at acting, appearing as Mumbles in the 2005 film “Charlie's Death Wish”? To his credit, Reed was named Outstanding Keyboardist of the Year at the 2007 Rock City Awards (“Rockies”), and Hookers N' Blow was also named Best Cover Band. May be interesting to see why. PP.
2ND FRIDAY ART NIGHT
5-8 p.m., downtown art galleries.
In the midst of all that River Market district music comes the monthly after-hours art event at galleries on and off President Clinton Avenue. July's gallery-goers will see sculpture by Ed Dwight, known for his public art projects as well as bronzes of jazz musicians, African life and Western imagery, at Hearne Fine Art Gallery; paintings and pastels by Little Rock artist Arlette Miller and an exhibit of work by K-12 students from across Arkansas at the Cox Creative Center; new pottery, basketry and paintings at River Market Art-Space, the “Mid-Southern Watercolorists Exhibition” and paintings by Sulac at Historic Arkansas Museum and fair trade gifts at Ten Thousand Villages. Rubber-wheeled trolleys will offer transportation. LNP.
10 p.m., White Water Tavern. $5.
Since 2001, Runaway Planet has been the standard bearer for bluegrass in Little Rock. A four-piece string band that features stand-up bass, mandolin, guitar and banjo, the Planet storms into White Water on Friday to celebrate the release of its sophomore album, “Tarnation.” Like the group's debut, their latest follows well-trodden territory, mixing standards and originals that deal in old-timey tropes we can all appreciate — wayfaring strangers, floods, women with the devil in them. Everyone in the band — that'd be Greg Alexander, Steve Brauer, Ben Ellis and Michael Proveaux — enjoys songwriting credit and all save Ellis contribute to impressive three-part harmonies. Depending on your energy, expect a night of toe-tapping, two-stepping or foot-stomping. LM.
THE JULY CHILL
8 p.m., Cornerstone Pub. $10.
The best monthly local hip-hop event returns to the theme-night well for its latest edition: “The Dime featuring Spades and Dominoes Tournament.” Aside from squeezing nine acts into four hours, the night's big attraction will be a spades and dominoes tournament. There'll be 10 tables, but only one winning team, who'll receive unnamed prizes. Also, the audience will have a chance to vote for the “coldest” member of the opposite sex in attendance. The winners will be crowned king and queen (like prom!) at the end of the night. The headliners include full-time hustler, part-time rapper Epiphany, throwback MC Rockst*r, R&B up-and-comer Dave Harmony and the al-ways impressive female MC Shea Marie. LM.
THE NELS CLINE SINGERS
8 p.m., Revolution. $10-$12.
A best guess at who, in order of increasing proportion, will show at Tuesday's concert: Fans of harmony singing. What a kidder Nels Cline is, naming his instrumental trio the Nels Cline Singers, disappointing unsuspecting concertgoers the world 'round (it's possible these unwitting concertgoers don't exist). Also, all those people who say that Little Rock never gets experimental music. How 'bout an improvisational trio featuring an avant-guitar legend, contra bass, drums and “live electronics”? And guitar geeks. Your average music fan may not be able to pick Cline out of a line-up, but guitar heads know him. For 30 years he's been a force, collaborating with the likes of Thurston Moore and Mike Watt. Several years back he graced the cover of Guitar Player magazine and last year, Rolling Stone named him one of the top 20 “new guitar gods.” Finally, fans of Wilco, whose numbers seem to swell with every new album. They love Cline for the experimental flourishes he's brought to the band since joining in 2004. But so what if a bunch of folks show up hoping to catch the riff from “Impossible Germany”? They might walk away wrapped up in jazz skronk. LM.
Hog fans just can't quit blaming the refs for the NCAA men's basketball tournament loss to North Carolina. Now the Arkansas Senate has gotten in on the act, with this resolution introduced by Democratic Sen. Keith Ingram and getting bipartisan co-sponsorship from that brutish and short sandlot roundball player, Republican Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson.
IndieWire breaks news long whispered downtown — a more ambitious successor to the Little Rock Film Festival is in the works, with backing from writer/director Jeff Nichols, a Little Rock native. His "Loving" has won wide acclaim recently.
Also, 'Latino Leadership and the Cinco de Mayo in the American West,' Pallbearer, 'Bach in the Castle of Heaven,' Weedeater, 'My Scientology Movie,' Argenta Artwalk, 'Bunny Lake Is Missing,' The Dead Deads, 'Sing Out for the Buffalo'
by Stephanie Smittle, Omaya Jones and Leslie Newell Peacock