published Friday, October 7th, 2011

Phillips: Jayhawks, John Prine tribute and other 'J' news

This week, for no particular reason (let's just say in honor of "Muppets: The Green Album"), these local music news updates are brought to you by the letter "J."

* First up: The Jayhawks. A few weeks ago, I mentioned that this Minneapolis-based alternate country artist would perform a free concert Saturday as part of the RiverRocks festival.

While it's exciting to get to see such an influential band for free, there's a slew of great artists set to perform ahead of their 8 p.m. show, including dulcimer guru Dan Landrum, The New Binkley Brothers and The New Empires. A full schedule is online at

Personally, however, I'm most excited to hear Angel Snow -- formerly of Chickamauga, Ga., now of Nashville -- who will take the stage at 6:15 p.m.

Snow has had a big, big year, starting with landing a trio of songwriting credits on Alison Krauss' well-received April 12 album, "Paper Airplane." She also toured and has been recording with Krauss' brother, bassist Viktor Krauss,

American Songwriter's Evan Schlansky mentioned Snow in a review of Krauss' Aug. 27 show at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium. Schlansky wrote: "Watching Snow on this night, on the famed Ryman stage, it felt like a star was born." Those who have heard Snow's smoldering alto and poignant songs know that's not empty flattery.

Saturday offers an excellent chance to hear gorgeous vocals and show some support for a hometown girl who made good long before anyone knew the name Lauren Alaina. Take advantage now because, at this rate, it probably won't be free next time.

* Next, there's a John Prine tribute at Charles & Myrtle's Coffeehouse next Friday, Oct. 14. This event celebrating the music of the native Chicago singer/songwriter and Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee is the second tribute hosted by local singer/songwriter Martha Ann Brooks. Her first, a celebration of Townes Van Zandt in March, was well received, so she immediately started looking into doing another. Andrew Kelsay, who books the Saturday (and occasional Friday) acts at Charles & Myrtle's, said John Prine seemed like a safe bet.

The show will feature performances of songs like "Spanish Pipe Dream" and "The Other Side of Town" by about a dozen local artists, including Kelsay. Downbeat is at 8 p.m. As always, the show is a pass-the-basket donation event, but the cookies are free.

* Finally, JJ's Bohemia is hosting a birthday bash for co-owners John Shoemaker and Jenny Brown on Sunday. As an added dose of "J" goodness, the show will be headlined by another Scenic City expat, J. Roddy Walston, who will perform with his band The Business after Gringo Star opens at 10 p.m.

I have never seen Walston play (he left for Baltimore before I moved here), but the mix of his energetic blues-rock rasp with big drums and unadorned jangly guitar made "Don't Break the Needle" one of my favorite albums last year. Since leaving, the band has opened for The Drive-By Truckers, The Hold Steady, Weezer and others. That pedigree speaks for itself.

about Casey Phillips...

Casey Phillips has worked as a features reporter in the Life department since May 2007. He writes about entertainment, consumer technology, animals and news of the weird. Casey hails from Knoxville and earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts in German from Middle Tennessee State University, where he worked as the features editor for the student newspaper, Sidelines. Casey's writing has earned numerous accolades, including first and second place ...

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