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No cheatin’ here 

Alcorn plays Hank Williams with respect.

click to enlarge ALL HANK: Joey Allcorn.
  • ALL HANK: Joey Allcorn.

Amid the Christmas lights and mass consumer spending, let’s take a moment to appreciate the “roots” of things in the local clubs this week. For example, traditions that convinced a 25-year-old from Columbus, Ga., to sing like and stylistically imitate country singers of the 1940s and ’50s.

Joey Allcorn, who is playing the White Water Tavern on Dec. 14. says, “It’s punk to be country now.” Though he wears a large white hat, wide lapel jacket and looks like a brawnier version of Hank Williams (a comparison he knows well and uses to his advantage), Allcorn during his adolescence was inspired by the emerging punk/grunge bands of the ’90s (e.g. Nirvana, Alice in Chains).

At age 15, though, he was introduced to the Hank Williams Sr. sound and since then has been obsessed with the man and his message. Allcorn has taken that message, which he thinks is akin to punk in its portrayal of raw human emotions — sorrow, heartbreak, desperation — on the road, and it’s likely that before Allcorn plays a Faron Young, Lefty Frizzell, Johnny Cash or Hank Williams song that he will educate the audience about the origins of the piece. He believes the works of these singers illicit a timeless response, as opposed to modern Nashville-produced country, which is targeted to a specific group and very rarely breaks the implied rules of mass popularity.

In songs like “Your Cheatin’ Heart” he finds the lyrics applicable to men and women experienced enough to know the pain of a love gone sour, and despite the fact that he admits the original version tops any revival, he still sings with intent and pure respect. As Allcorn says in “This Ain’t Montgomery”: “This ain’t Montgomery and I ain’t Hank Williams no how.”

What he is, though, is a solid musician (who we hear possesses a fine yodel) and a love for the roots of one genre that we’re lucky — thanks to Allcorn — have not been forgotten.

Two tightly packed hip-hop shows are set for the next few days, at Vino’s Brewpub on Saturday and Sticky Fingerz on Wednesday. Vino’s will have the Under the Ground Holiday Hip-Hop Extravaganza, featuring a $100 MC Battle and performances by 607 (a former Traumah Team member who appeals to fans beyond the hip-hop circuit by sampling artists like Liz Phair and the Beatles and mixing his message with guitar riffs or solo piano along with the solid underlying hip-hop beat) and Los Hip-Hop Guys from Dallas, with “mixes that even your mom would like” (if your mom likes Gwen Stefani and Outkast). Also playing Saturday’s Extravaganza are Rockstar, 9th Scientist, Clint G, EOS and more.

Sticky Fingerz’s show next week is headlined by the Conduit Family, with Bo and Goines taking you to Suga City, Pine Buff artist Epiphany trying to keep it more real than “real,” plus DK and Soulja T.

Other shows to catch: the Munks with Nasty Abbott will play the White Water on Saturday … On Friday at Downtown Music, check out American Plague, Southern punk from Tennessee with the blessing of Rob Zombie. They’re signed with Dr. Cyclops and Long Live Crime Records and have shared the stage with the Cramps and Scott H. Biram. Playing with them will be Vasto and Appetite for Orange … Downtown’s Saturday lineup includes Rigby Fawkes, Telomere Repair, Fire to Reason and Smitten … Appetite for Orange stays in town to play at White Water on Tuesday along with Houston’s 1977 … At Vino’s on Wednesday, Dec. 20, enjoy metal with Nights Like These, As Blood Runs Black, Light This City and With Faith or Flames … Emo rock and hardcore are on the bill for Deconstructing Alexia, Corsets Are Cages and Strike the Choir at Vino’s on Friday, Dec. 15 … At Juanita’s on Saturday, it’s the cheapest show in town ($1) with Bombay Black, Screaming Santas and Sharp Dunaway and the Blue Meanies. Juanita’s has a Sunday show Dec. 17 with HM Concerts and another round of The Battle For Myspace, and on Monday it’s T Tunes with the Under the Ground Hip-Hop Show. On Tuesday, Dec. 19, it’s acoustic guitar and song with Adrianne Allyn, Knox Hamilton and the Rock Roots All Stars … This week at the Afterthought, Ted Ludwig is in his usual Thursday spot, and there’s more jazz with the Monday Jazz Project Jam Session, sponsored by the Arkansas Jazz Heritage Society. On Tuesday, the Afterthought offers another chance to catch the Munks at a Christmas Party, and on Wednesday it’s Rodney Block.

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