Heading to Helena? 

Regional blues hopeful have a chance to emerge from Sticky Fingerz.

AT HELENA: Bluesman Gomes.
  • AT HELENA: Bluesman Gomes.

Bluesy rock fans can never go wrong with a couple of guitarists making their way back to Sticky Fingerz in the next few days, plus some Arkansas Blues and Heritage Festival hopefuls who will be showcased next Wednesday.

Toronto’s Anthony Gomes is a hot-shot guitar slinger who is said to be moving up fast on the blues scene. He plays Friday, Sept. 8. Michael Burks, a local guitarist, will be on the stage on Thursday, Sept. 14 ($7).

Wednesday’s round one of the Arkansas Blues and Heritage Festival’s Emerging Artist Competition will feature several bands hoping to land a spot in October’s festival in Helena, the biggest free blues festival in the world (formerly known as the King Biscuit Blues Festival). Little Rock, Boston and St. Louis each will be sending emerging artists.

The Guitar Center is the exclusive registration spot for the artists and bands to sign up to perform live over the next three Wednesdays, with the finals on Thursday, Sept. 28. In fact, the setup is designed similar to the Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase, with showcase partner KKPT-FM, 94.1 The Point, also sponsoring the event.

The winner gets a spot on the Main Stage in Helena the weekend of Oct. 5-7. To enter, bands must play original blues, or gospel and blues influenced music and must agree to such stipulations as allowing their music to be used in a festival CD.

For more information, call the Guitar Center at 225-3700.

The Helena lineup this year includes Kim Wilson and the Fabulous Thunderbirds), Super Chikan, Willie "Big Eyes" Smith and Tab Benoit.

Folks who stay up late (or early) to hit Midtown Billiards and its shows from 1 a.m. to 4 a.m. are definitely looking for fun. Nashville-based pop-rock artist Kristen Cothron may be able to deliver that on Saturday — actually early Sunday morning.

Cothron is on tour in support of her new CD, “Love Letters From A Fool.” Performing Songwriter magazine said of Cothron, “Have you been searching for music’s next bold bad girl? Cothron is the buried treasure you’re seeking!”

Cothron is also scheduled to appear on KATV, Channel 7’s “Good Morning Arkansas” on Monday, Sept. 11, at 9 a.m. and later that day at Hastings Books and Music in Conway for a 7 p.m. in-store performance.

South Eastern Performer Magazine says, “Cothron has a way with words that puts fellow sirens Fiona Apple and Norah Jones to shame ... call up your local radio station, ask them to burn all of their Shakira albums, and get Kristen Cothron in heavy rotation. An artist of her ability deserves as much support as possible.” The Nashville Scene adds, “Cothron uses her jazz-trained alto to bring unusual dynamics to well-written confessional material.”

Saturday will offer a great opportunity to check out The Contingencies and their new CD, their first with Max Recordings. The Contingencies will be joined by indie rock bands Underclaire and The Mermaid Purse at Juanita’s Cantina Ballroom.

The Contingencies released “Viva Ole” last month in a show at the White Water Tavern. The band’s moody rock is enhanced by Don Johnson’s rangy vocals and the group’s clashing guitars.

Admission to the 9 p.m. all-ages show is $6.

Monday is usually a slow night around the rock scene here, but Juanita’s delivers a power-packed Monday show with sponsor help from The Edge 100.3, as the Lostprophets headline an 8 p.m. performance. Kill Hannah, which appeared in Little Rock on a bill with Evanescence at Alltel Arena almost two years ago, will open along with The Rasmus.

Tickets are $13 in advance via www.ticketalternative.com and $15 the day of show at the door. It’s open to all ages.


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