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Wanda Jackson, the Queen of Rockabilly, visit Revolution 

WEDNESDAY 5/25

'ALWAYS ... PATSY CLINE'

6 p.m., Murry's Dinner Playhouse. $31.

Its flood damage repaired, Murry's is back, running and opening its newest production, "Always ... Patsy Cline." The everlasting bio-musical follows the sudden friendship between the iconic but doomed country music star and Louise Seger, the Houston housewife and fan who became a pen-pal and unexpected confidante to Cline. Local actress Sarah Haman, who was the Patsy Cline understudy for The Rep's celebrated 2009 revival of the play, tackles the titular role yet again for this production. But Candyce Hinkle — most recently seen as landlady Mrs. Floyd in the Coens' reboot of "True Grit" — may be the main attraction, since she's played the role of Louise in productions since the mid-'90s. "Always ... Patsy Cline" runs through June 26, with evening performances every Tuesday through Sunday and matinees on Sunday and Wednesday.

THE VERVE PIPE

10 p.m., Juanita's. $12 adv., $15 d.o.s.

If you're hunting down the formula for radio-friendly, mid-'90s grunge-pop, it's time to revisit The Verve Pipe. The Michigan rockers didn't invent the formula, they didn't hone it and, as far as I can tell, they certainly didn't try to improve on it. But they sure as hell followed it to the millimeter and profited. Soul patches, bleached hair, stark black and white music videos, super-size brooding: all there. (From 2011, things sure seem easier back in that post-"My So-Called Life"/pre-"Dawson's Creek" rock world.) The band worked that angle so skillfully that, well, years later it's a viable option for a Wednesday night. And seeing how modern rock hasn't really progressed much in the last 15 years, I guess you might say that The Verve Pipe still sounds fresh. One thing's for sure, though: "The Freshmen" is still untouchable.

WANDA JACKSON

8 p.m., Revolution. $15 adv., $20 d.o.s.

Rick Rubin earned his applause over the last decade by dusting off and resurrecting Johnny Cash (and, to a lesser extent, Neil Diamond). And lately, Jack White, another sonic eccentric, has tried to recreate a little Rubin-esque magic, finding potential muses in the ladies of his own record collection. In 2004, he created unlikely chemistry with Loretta Lynn on "Vanlear Rose," a modern classic by anyone's estimation. Now he's resuscitated another member of music royalty, the Queen of Rockabilly herself, Wanda Jackson, with her return to national attention in this year's "The Party Ain't Over." The album tries (and — spoiler alert — succeeds in) reframing the taboo-breaking trailblazer for the 2010s. Fortunately, with Jack White behind the board, 2011 sounds a lot like 1959, plus or minus a few welcomed, blaring horn sections from the Mark Ronson playbook. (Speaking of, Wild Wanda sounds outstanding on the album's cover of Amy Winehouse's "You Know That I'm No Good.") Amazingly, Jackson still sounds better than a dance-hall full of her imitators; those hiccup-style vocals are needed now more than ever and her signature purr/growl can still make a young man slobber. Regardless, here's your chance to see a literal living legend (and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer) back at the top of her game. Also, it's probably the only time this year you'll see youngster knuckleheads and the blue hair brigade shimmy together. Holly Golightly & the Brokeoffs, the British garage rockers and Rockabilly disciples, open the night with their first Little Rock show in a year.

FRIDAY 5/27

CORY BRANAN

10 p.m., White Water Tavern.

Along with Jon Snodgrass, Austin Lucas, our boy Ben Nichols and countless other loosely-affiliated White Water Tavern regulars, Cory Branan and that whole alt-country happening has spent years molding a New Americana sound. A lot of people, in Little Rock especially, love it. It makes some people irate. But after you sift out all of the opinions and attitudes toward the genre, you've gotta admit that Cory Branan can flesh out one hell of a song. The animated Memphian takes cues from John Prine's quick wit and punk/metal at large's fiery guitar-picking. He nipped at widespread success years ago, even appearing on Letterman with his signature song, "Miss Ferguson," and, recently, his "Tall Green Grass" has found its way into set-lists from (no laughing) Dashboard Confessional. But here, he's just a dude at the bar with a penchant for getting drunk enough to climb up on that very bar for his encore.

CEDELL DAVIS

8 p.m., Maxine's – Hot Springs. $5 adv., $7 d.o.s.

Here's a promise: If CeDell Davis is playing here, we're going to write about it. Here's the man in a nutshell: Born in Helena, polio bombed his right hand when he was just a kid; he worked around it by learning to play left-handed slide with a butter knife, which sounded incredible and muddy. Davis spent his 20s playing Delta juke-joints with fellow Helena bluesman Robert Nighthawk. During one of those shows, the boys in blue busted the party, causing a stampede of people to run over Davis and break his legs at the age of 30, leaving him in a wheelchair since. Another Arkansan, Robert Palmer, the Hemingway of music criticism, reinvigorated interest in the bluesman in the early '80s with his essential book "Deep Blues" and, in 1993, produced Davis' heralded return to the album shelves with "Feel Like Doin' Something Wrong." Admittedly, Mr. CeDell has had a rough 83 years. No one's going to confuse him for a spring chicken, but his devil-may-care blues groan can still wow any listener with an appreciation for the surviving sonic relic.

SATURDAY 5/28

EASTON CORBIN

8 p.m., Timberwood Amphitheater, Magic Springs. $5-$10.

All right, it's time to put it out there: Easton Corbin is one of the few good guys making country radio better. Like Brad Paisley and George Strait before him, the native Floridian isn't mired in trying to recreate the traditional country of decades past and, even though his eponymous debut is catchy and pop-radio ready, all sounds indicate that he's not interested in aiming for bubblegum country superstardom. Last year saw Corbin explode, slowly. Billboard named him the Top New Country Artist of the year while his debut single, "A Little More Country Than That," was building steady momentum, eventually reaching the top spot of the country charts a year after its premiere. Country music fans already know the name. Folks who steer clear of the sound: You're missing out.

ARKANSAS DELTA FAMILY GOSPEL FEST

11 a.m., Cherry Street Pavilion, Helena-West Helena. Free.

While Riverfest is bustling away, Helena-West Helena is inviting people to its historic downtown for the 11th annual Arkansas Delta Family Gospel Fest. The free festival, courtesy of the Delta Cultural Center, is an all-day affair with a long line-up of choirs and gospel soul shouters, including Memphis' Rev. John Wilkins, the acoustic bluesman with a pedigree (his father, Robert Wilkins, recorded the original "Prodigal Son," later recorded by the Rolling Stones for "Beggars Banquet"); The Lee Boys, a funky "sacred steel" (think Robert Randolph) gospel group; and The Holmes Brothers, the near-legendary blues/R&B outfit. The day closes out with headliner Mavis Staples, the iconic R&B singer, Staple Sister, and just about the best song re-interpreter living. Last year saw her finally win a Grammy for – whodathunkit – Best Americana Album with her Jeff Tweedy collaboration, "You Are Not Alone."

KEVIN GORDON

9:30 p.m., White Water Tavern. $6.

While so many new alt-country upstarts have been busy mining genre cliches and dredging up the same old tired twangst, Kevin Gordon has been busy trying to perfect a craft. The Nashville singer/songwriter and graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop inspires a certain awe from sharp-eared purists and musical heavies, to boot. His songs have been recorded by Keith Richards ("Deuce and a Quarter"), Levon Helm and Irma Thomas; his track "Watching the Sun Go Down" was featured prominently on "True Blood," and the 2005 album it was plucked from, the bleak, bracing "o Come Look at the Burning," is as masterfully crafted a piece of 21st century Americana as you'll find. This show marks a rare full band show for Gordon, who brings along a gang of Arkies for the ride, including Joe McMaham, a Dove-winning guitarist from Hot Springs, and bassist Ron Eoff, Fayettevillian and long-time member of The Cate Brothers.'LET'S HAVE A PARTY': Wanda Jackson, the Queen of Rockabilly and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, comes to Revolution this Wednesday night to support her Jack White-produced comeback album, "The Party Ain't Over."

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