Twice monthly, my 30 Days Out column spotlights upcoming music shows and events of note, shining a light into some less well-lit corners, where some fascinating artists schedule performances. I do my best to give ample advance notice so that you can adjust your budget and calendar in a way that lets you get to the show.
Spinning vinyl, top-quality Americana, uptempo jump blues and a tribute to the greatest pop group of all time: those are just some of your local music choices in the coming 30 days. Two of these performances are free, two are inexpensive, and all four are on weekend nights.
Artist: Nora Jane Struthers
Venue: New Belgium Brewing
Date: Friday, Aug. 3, 5:30 p.m.
A critics’ darling — her 2017 album Champion was named one of the year’s best by No Depression, Rolling Stone and NPR — Struthers blends together folk, bluegrass, country and rock influences to create something special and all her own. Not counting 2008’s I Hear the Bluebirds Sing (a duo with her father Alan Struthers), the singer-songwriter-guitarist-bandleader has released four solo albums to date.
Artist: DJ Deacon
Venue: Timo’s House
Date: Saturday, July 28, 7 p.m.
Wilkesboro-based DJ Deacon (Milton Cockerham to his family) has a long and impressive resume. A versatile DJ who does more than just spin turntables, on many occasions he has integrated his skill into instrumental ensemble performances. His library encompasses a wide array of styles, from hip-hop and R&B to EDM, reggae and Top 40. Deacon has been a regular fixture on the dance and party circuit from one end of North Carolina to the other (with occasional forays into Virginia) since 2011.
Artist: The Gin Rickys
Venue: 185 King Street
Date: Saturday, Aug. 11, 8 p.m.
In the years immediately following World War II, many big bands found it financially impractical to tour. So economic realities gave way to smaller bands, groups that hit it harder to make up for having fewer players onstage. That raw jump blues and swing style is often seen as the missing link between big band jazz and rock ‘n’ roll. Sure, that’s an oversimplification, but it gets to the heart of what groups like the Gin Rickys are about. Fronted by the strong and sassy vocals of Ariana Harbin, this Frederick, Md.- based group recently released a live EP, The Town That Swings.
Venue: The Grey Eagle
Date: Saturday, Aug. 18, 7 p.m.
Door: $15 advance / $18 day of show
Unless you’ve been living under a rock — and probably even then — you’ll know much of what you need to know about this quartet simply by reading its name and taking a look at the photo. These Fab Four are homeboys of a sort; hailing from the the rough-and-tumble seaport city of … Raleigh. Together since 2014, the lads pay loving and faithful musical tribute to the act you’ve known (and loved) for all these years. This early evening show will be over in time for a later, separately ticketed event at The Grey Eagle, one that will appeal to a very different audience as well.
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