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Lost Bayou Ramblers at White Water Tavern 

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FRIDAY 7/6

SANDWICHING IN HISTORY TOUR

Noon. Woodruff House, 1017 E. Eighth St. Free.

William Woodruff is not just the originator of the Arkansas Gazette (whose demise begat this newspaper's weekly format), but also the publisher of the first newspaper west of the Mississippi River. OK, they're one in the same, but still, this guy Woodruff helped tame the wilds of this state when it was still merely a territory. He's also the namesake of Woodruff County — that's how respected the press once was. Woodruff's home on Eighth Street here in the Rock is a pretty awesome structure, though perhaps slightly less so than the man's stature as an Arkansawyer. How amazing is it that this man's house still stands in the city? Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989, this house is in the historic Hangar Hill neighbood — an area, that like Woodruff himself, is ripe for a renewed appreciation. SK

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FRIDAY 7/6

HEATH SANDERS

8 p.m. Kings Live Music, Conway. $10.

Here's a wild one: Southwestern Energy field operator Heath Sanders — a songwriter by night — posted a video of himself singing Chris Stapleton's "Either Way" earlier this year. The internet goes apeshit for it, fellow Arkansas native and nationally syndicated radio host Bobby Bones invites Sanders up to Nashville to perform on "The Bobby Bones Show," Sanders performs in front of a panel of Music City gatekeepers, and decides to put oilfield work on hold for a while to try out this country music thing. Expect to hear the original tune that elicited a "You need to do this for a living" from Sugarland's Kristian Baker — "Bloodline" — and likely a few of the covers that got Sanders his big break. SS

click to enlarge FRESH LIES: Multi-instrumentalist Mobley takes the first episode of a new "song cycle" to Maxine's Friday night, with an opening set from
  • FRESH LIES: Multi-instrumentalist Mobley takes the first episode of a new "song cycle" to Maxine's Friday night, with an opening set from

FRIDAY 7/6

MOBLEY, DAZZ & BRIE

9 p.m. Maxine's, Hot Springs.

Consider Mobley's 2018 release "Fresh Lies, Vol. I" unfinished business. "Themes of nationhood and identity and alienation are ones that I'll need decades to explore personally, let alone artistically," the Austin-based one-man band said on a January blog post accompanying the release. "I'm hardly equipped to make an album-sized statement about them right now. I want a place to work with those ideas, but I also want the freedom to put them down, imperfect and incomplete, to go chase other concepts." That said, Mobley's single "Young Adult Fiction" reads as anything but unpolished. In the song's "Read-Along Video," Mobley strolls into what looks like a set from a 1965 talk show, complete with a potted palm and a wooden stereo cabinet; the only apparent anachronism is the stack of books by Audre Lorde and Dorothy Roberts, and the "[R.I.P. Fred Rogers]" note that appears with the lyrical captions in an interlude between verses. "Young Adult Fiction" is a pop anthem and a single continuous crescendo, its plaintive tone countered by a hefty bass bounce with Mobley's enormous and supple voice at the core. And, on a week in which we're to celebrate the ennobled ideas our forefathers espoused when this whole America project kicked off, I can't think of any better inspiration/required reading for that jubilee than Mobley's recent work, which he describes as "love songs that use romantic interplay as a metaphor to explore my relationship, as a black man especially, with my country." He returns to Maxine's with Little Rock's own "rock and soul" girl gang, Dazz & Brie. SS

click to enlarge LOST BAYOU RAMBLERS: Swampy Acadiana.
  • LOST BAYOU RAMBLERS: Swampy Acadiana.

FRIDAY 7/6

LOST BAYOU RAMBLERS

9:30 p.m. White Water Tavern. $15.

With all due respect to the likes of Antoine's and Cafe du Monde, mainstream Mardi Gras certainly wasn't in the cards for Anthony Bourdain when the TV star went to capture Cajun Louisiana culture for his travel show "Parts Unknown." In a posthumously released episode, Bourdain is dropped into a madhouse scene of flying chickens, rural residents in full costume who have been blitzed on wine for the better part of a week, "the thundering hooves of many horses, the sound of a thousand beer cans popping open. And music. Always music." That music came from the Lost Bayou Ramblers, a 19-year-old outfit that makes it their business to channel and reinvent the deep South Louisiana sound — Cajun French, rowdy accordion, swampy Acadiana. Grammy win notwithstanding, the group had planned to take a hiatus this year, making this White Water Tavern engagement likely to be one of the group's last romps in Central Arkansas for a while, in a perfect setting to recapture some of the magic from Bourdain's/Lost Bayou Ramblers' party that day in Grand Coteau. "The mud that was flying from the boots sloshing on the dance floor, which had turned into swamp from the heavy Mardi Gras rains," the group said on its Facebook page, "can still be found in the cracks of our instruments, and on the speakers of our amps. This is a memory that will last; mud and music, food and friends." Get there. SS

click to enlarge Journey - TRAVIS SHINN
  • Travis Shinn
  • Journey

SATURDAY 7/7

JOURNEY, DEF LEPPARD

7 p.m. Verizon Arena. $50-$180.

Perhaps at one time in America, Journey and Def Leppard fans would not have been able to find common ground. The Lep started out metal-leaning, you see, while Journey trended pop. We'll discuss the folly of such distinctions after enjoying these dual prolific hit machines of the decades of the last century, when stereos and institutions were solid state. Precious few are the souls reading these words whose lives haven't been touched by one of these bands, probably both. In fact, the challenge might be to find someone who hasn't heard a single song by Journey or Def Leppard, no matter how young or old. Both Journey (est. 1973) and Def Leppard (est. 1977) have managed to mine gold through the years — decades, even — and both have had their sounds evolve with the times. See inspiring legends in action and view a future unencumbered by minor genre distinctions that are so Century 20. SK

Marvin Gaye
  • Marvin Gaye

SATURDAY 7/7

'SUMMER SOLSTICE 7: MARVIN EVER AFTER'

9 p.m. South on Main.

Anybody privy to Joshua Asante and The Funkanites' ode to Otis Redding for a Winter Soulstice knows its summer counterpart is a sure bet. And, anybody privy to Marvin Gaye's storied soul catalogue knows that reducing it to a punchline by way of the first four notes of "Let's Get It On" is a crime and a crying shame. Gaye had a ridiculously octave-spanning range that bordered on operatic, and he knew how to use it. Before Pulitzer Prize winner Kendrick Lamar, there was Marvin, with a soul concept album "What's Goin On?" that Motown (and most of the rest of the world) wasn't ready for, with prescient resistance against war and police brutality inspired by the time Marvin's own brother, Frankie, spent in Vietnam. Whether that 1971 track — or other radio staples like "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" and "Sexual Healing" — make the cut for this show, bet that Asante and the Velvet Kente Arkestra (Jamaal Lee, Norman Williamson, Ryan Hitt, Judson Spillyards, Ryan D. Davis, Dazzmin Murray) are fully equipped to bring Gaye's passion and intensity to the forefront of their sound, capped off with DJ sets from Baldego and Asante. SS

click to enlarge COSMIC QUEENS: Denton, Texas, rockers Pearl Earl land at Maxine's on Saturday night.
  • COSMIC QUEENS: Denton, Texas, rockers Pearl Earl land at Maxine's on Saturday night.

SATURDAY 7/7

PEARL EARL

9 p.m. Maxine's, Hot Springs.

The city of Denton, Texas, has acted as a low-key hip northern cousin to Austin for a while now, and it'd be a mistake to assume the scene there is homogenously country. Exhibit A: the kinky, spacey pop riffs of Pearl Earl. They're the B-52s of the DFW metro area, with silver jumpsuits and songs about exorcisms and Ouija board fonts and the post-election Bizarro World we currently occupy, as on "Meet Your Maker": "Why do they keep shooting to kill and rainbow love is seen as mentally ill?/Well I wanna meet your maker/I wanna meet your maker and ask him/How could they even vote for a man who paid a million for his tan?" SS

SUNDAY 7/8

'FIELD NOTES FROM MOTHER EARTH'

7 p.m. 21c Museum Hotel, Bentonville. $5 suggested donation.

Playwright Ashley Edwards is the theater department coordinator at Northwest Arkansas Community College and co-founder/playwright-in-residence of the LatinX Theatre Project, a coalition launched in 2016 to represent the voices of young people in Northwest Arkansas's Latin American and minority communities. ArkansasStaged's reading of "Field Notes from Mother Earth," Edwards' latest and a "work in progress," is a two-woman show. It also unfolds as a sort of meta-anthropological exercise: Not only are the mentor and protegee at the center of the story both cultural anthropologists, but their conversation about the field notes they've collected as part of their work reveals another anthropological phenomenon — the way women all over the world pass ideas and artifacts down to one another across generations. "I've known Ashley as a playwright for over 10 years now," ArkansasStaged Director Jenny Guy said in a press release. "I've always adored the way she writes women, and 'Field Notes' is a perfect example. This play is a beautiful exploration of female friendship, with its ebbs and flows and natural evolution over time." SS

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TUESDAY 7/10

'HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL'

6 p.m. CALS Ron Robinson Theater. $2.

Just forget that whole 1999 mess of a "House on Haunted Hill" remake ever happened. Even Geoffrey Rush couldn't save it with what was essentially a lukewarm portrayal of the same "Casanova Frankenstein" villain he embodied that same year in the unjustly maligned "Mystery Men." Instead, go dig this, William Castle's 1959 "House on Haunted Hill," screened as part of the Central Arkansas Library System's "Terror Tuesday" series. (And kudos to CALS for doing this; roast turkey and dressing is too delicious to be relegated to November and spooky movies on the big screen are too delicious to be trotted out solely on Halloween.) With exterior shots of Frank Lloyd Wright's Ennis House and a quintessentially creepy performance by spookmaster Vincent Price as a weirdo millionaire, the film is thought to have inspired Alfred Hitchcock to create his own low-budget-y horror flick "Psycho" — no doubt because of a stunt Castle pulled in some theaters during the initial release, in which a prop skeleton was wheeled over the crowd at a specific moment in the film via a system of pulleys. (Does the Ron Robinson Theater have ceiling-mounted beams?) SS

click to enlarge JENNY LEWIS: Joined by the Cactus Blossoms.
  • JENNY LEWIS: Joined by the Cactus Blossoms.

WEDNESDAY 7/11

JENNY LEWIS

8:30 p.m. George's Majestic Lounge, Fayetteville. $25-$30.

The fact that Jenny Lewis isn't considered America's sweetheart represents everything that's wrong with this country. Lewis rose up through the ranks of child stardom through the Britney era, but kept it more real musically and otherwise. Lyrically, Lewis focuses often and deftly on the consequences of bad decisions, as well as the freedom to make them. George's hosted a show from the Rilo Kiley frontwoman nearly a decade ago and, like Lewis herself, represents a combination of beauty and unblinking brilliance. We're glad to report these institutions are still here, doing what they need to be doing – supplying their unique comfort to the Arkansas masses. Lewis is joined by The Cactus Blossoms, an Everly Brothers-esque duo with ethereal sibling harmonies. SK

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