By Matt Wickstrom
LEXINGTON, Ky. — An intimate evening with Jason Isbell, the latest installment in the Origins Jazz Series and the Bottle Rocket’s outlaw country flare highlight an action-packed live menu for Dec. 9-15. 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, Dec. 10, I’ll be joined by singer-songwriters Geno Seale and Rhyan Sinclair.
The Origins Jazz Series reconvenes on Sunday, Dec. 9 at the Lexington Children’s Theatre to welcome The Bad Plus, a highly improvisational Avante-garde jazz piano trio regarded as one of the most highly-regarded bands in jazz today. The group recently underwent a facelift, with founding members Reid Anderson (bass) and Dave King (drums) welcoming new member Orrin Evans (piano). However, the group shows no signs of slowing down, with the change acting merely as a catalyst for evolving their improvisation to yet another realm. Sunday’s show begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25. All ages.
The Burl presents a new kind of premiere on Monday, Dec. 10 with Chico: A Documentary Short Film featuring Laid Back Country Picker, also scheduled to give a special acoustic performance at the event. The film is sure to include much of Laid Back’s signature antics and tom-foolery, all of which can be enjoyed while sipping on a special brew from Country Boy dubbed “Laid Back Lager” — a Mexican lager with a touch of coffee. After all, Laid Back knows two things — good country music and treating everybody right! The show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $5. All ages.
It might be a bad time to be an outlaw, but there’s never been a better time to catch The Bottle Rockets than at their Wednesday, Dec. 12 stop at The Burl. The band birthed over a quarter century ago returns to Lexington with new album Bit Logic in tow. The album is arguably the band’s most polished to date, featuring a distinctly honky-tonk aesthetic, leaning a bit away from some of the band’s punk roots, albeit while keeping their matter-of-fact songwriting intact. Hugh Masterson will open the show, which is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12 to $15. Ages 18+ admitted.
Whitney Acke and Ray Adams — known better as Acke-Adams — celebrate the release of their debut duo album Tried & Crucified at The Twisted Cork on Friday, Dec. 14. The album — which you can learn more about here — was recorded with Duane Lundy at the renowned Shangri-la Productions in Lexington. Friday’s show begins at 8 p.m. Admission is free. Ages 21+.
Arguably rock ‘n roll’s hottest act — Jason Isbell — returns to Central Kentucky on Saturday, Dec. 15 for a special solo performance without the 400 Unit at the EKU Center for the Arts in Richmond. The 2018 Grammy winner for Best Americana Album (The Nashville Sound) and Best American Roots Song (“If We Were Vampires”) has taken the music world by storm, winning four Grammys in total and selling out Nashville’s prestigious Ryman Auditorium over a dozen consecutive times from 2014-2017, recently releasing a Live from the Ryman album featuring some of the best moments from a six-night run at the venue in 2017. Saturday’s show begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are sold out.