By Matt Wickstrom
LEXINGTON, Ky. — A two-night stand from Arkansas psych-rockers Vintage Pistol, the return of the Rumpke Mountain Boys and two album releases from local artists highlight a stacked live menu for Nov. 25 to Dec. 1. View all of my top picks below and the entire menu here.
Tune in live to Wick’s Picks on Lexington Community Radio every Monday from 9-11 a.m. on the dial at 93.9 FM and online at lexingtoncommunityradio.org. Next week, Nov. 26, I’ll be joined by Indiana-based Americana artist Nick Dittmeier and Kentucky old-time duo The Local Honeys.
Arkansas’ Vintage Pistol returns to Lexington for a rare mid-week two-night stand at The Burl on Nov. 28 and 29. For night one the jam band from the deep south will be joined by Lexington’s psychedelic funk rock soundscapes of Driftwood Gypsy and the improvisational New Orleans infused jazz of The Baja Yetis.
Night two of Vintage Pistol’s stay features two bands the group became acquainted with at Kickin’ it on the Creek — Columbus, Ohio’s Angela Perley & The Howlin’ Moons and Huntington, West Virginia’s Of the Dell. Vintage Pistol is on the cusp of releasing new album Trial and Error, due out March 1, 2019. The band recently teased the project, releasing the single “Play It Like They Used To.”
Lexington-based roots and soul outfit Champs of the Sun help start the weekend off with a throwdown at The Green Lantern to celebrate the release of their debut EP. The group has enlisted the talents of Huntington, WV’s William Matheny and Cincinnati’s Sylmar for the performance at the edgy Jefferson Street bar.
Much like Champs of the Sun, Matheny recently celebrated dropping new music. Moon Over Kenova, out in September, is a mix of studio and various live recordings of Matheny and his band The Strange Constellations, illustrating the artist’s blend of southern roots rock and authentic Appalachian songwriting. Joining Champs and Matheny are Cincinnati rockers Sylmar, who make their return to Lexington following opening for All Them Witches on July 21 during The Burl’s two year anniversary weekend.
The weekend kicks off with a Friday night barn-burner at The Burl from Cincinnati’s Rumpke Mountain Boys, who return to the Distillery District venue after making their debut there in January. The trashgrass quartet will have the night to themselves, performing four sets of their psychedelic, genre-bending string music.
Rumpke Mountain Boys have long considered Central Kentucky their home away from home, having performed in Lexington, primarily at Cosmic Charlie’s, along with at festivals at nearby Terrapin Hill Farm, for years. On Nov. 23 the band celebrated the release of In Good Company, a double live album recorded at the Beachland Ballroom in Cleveland, illustrating the band’s energetic and meandering live sound and a small taste of what will be offered up at The Burl come Friday evening.
Western Kentucky-based singer-songwriter Dan Conn celebrates the release of new album Shine On with a hootenanny at Country Boy Brewing’s Georgetown Taproom. Like with many recent artists emerging from the commonwealth, Conn’s music are ripe with authenticity, full of stories of sorrow, vulnerability and triumph that strike a chord with listeners.
Joining Conn for the celebration is Central Kentucky singer-songwriter Jason Sinkhorn, who much like Conn released new music earlier this year — the acoustic Junction City, Kentucky, his debut album.
Honky-tonk converges on the Green Lantern on Saturday night when Joe’s Truck Stop, a side project of Joe Macheret of Cincinnati’s The Tillers, joins forces with songbird Abby Hamilton and songsmith Geno Seale. Joe’s Truck Stop features a distinctive honky-tonk and western vibe to it compared to Macheret’s other main project, The Tillers, which is more rooted in old-time and bluegrass. However, Joe’s Truck Stop’s acclaim is just as strong, having shared the stage with Wayne Hancock, The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band and Foghorn String Band, among others.
Bringing strong honky-tonk soundscapes along with Macheret and company will be Abby Hamilton. The young 20-something released her debut EP Broke Girl in 2017, a six-song compilation showcasing Hamilton’s elegant voice, with changes of tempo and a heavy use of pedal steel. Rounding out the show is Geno Seale — not only one of the areas biggest local music advocates but also one of the best word-spinners around. Seale has a way of telling stories through music that few others possess, weaving tales together with ease to paint vivid, relatable stories in the listener’s mind.