By Matt Wickstrom
LEXINGTON, Ky. — Rock ‘n roll comes in many flavors on this week’s live menu with shows on tap from Rayland Baxter, Wicked Peace and Andrew Scotchie & The River Rats, among others. Take a peek at all of my top concert picks around Central Kentucky for Jan. 20-26 below and the entire live menu here.
The week ahead also features a double dip of Wick’s Picks on Lexington Community Radio. On Monday, Jan. 21, the program will feature Mark Allen of roots and soul group Champs of the Sun along with a look back at it’s best in-studio performances in 2018 from 9-11 a.m. Then on Thursday, Jan. 24; Asheville, NC, based Andrew Scotchie & The River Rats join the show for a special stripped-down acoustic performance from 3-4 p.m. ahead of their gig later that evening at Best Friend Bar. Tune in on the dial at 93.9 FM-WLXU or at lexingtoncommunityradio.org.
Harkening back to the 70s and 80s when loud, sweaty, no holds barred rock ‘n roll ruled supreme is Mt. Sterling four-piece Bedford Band. Comprised of Tristan Frazier on drums, cajon and vocals; Trevor St. John on guitar and vocals; Samuel May on lead vocals and bass; and Kolby Swiney on guitar, vocals and keyboard; the group pairs their nostalgic rock sound with a frenetic stage presence to match. See them in action on Jan. 20 at the Burl with Richmond, Ky., based Aaron Boyd (and band) and Winchester-based outfit Rifletown beginning at 8 p.m.
Nashville-based singer-songwriter Rayland Baxter returns to The Burl on Jan. 24, bringing with him new music from his 2018 album “Wide Awake,” which he recorded in Franklin, Ky. Baxter’s songs are set in a dream-like soundscape, with the artist’s soulful vocals and British Invasion-esque melodies filling the void. The band will be joined for their performance by Virginia-based brotherly duo Illiterate Light, who kicks the evening off at 8 p.m.
Asheville, North Carolina, psychedelic rock ‘n roll trio Andrew Scotchie & The River Rats kick off their “Winter out West” tour with a Jan. 24 show at Best Friend Bar. Consisting of the eccentric Scotchie on guitar and lead vocals; Keith Harry on bass and backup vocals; and Eliza Hill on drums, the group brings a high energy sound that has netted them the award for #1 Rock ‘N Roll Band in Western North Carolina by Mountain Xpress Magazine readers the last four years running. The River Rats take the stage at 10 p.m.
Lexington-based indie rock ‘n rollers and recent Wick’s Picks guests Wicked Peace return to action on Jan. 25 with Hiking and Indigo Storm at Al’s Bar. The group meshes together multi-layered harmonies with brother and sister Tanner and Amanda Blevins, accompanied by Patrick Brumback’s sizzling guitar and Rob Barnes and Matthew Holleran holding down the low-end rhythm section on bass and drums, respectively. The group is sure to be performing new songs off their recently released “Portland” EP during the show, which begins at 9 p.m.
East Nashville duo Smooth Hound Smith brings their peculiar concoction of American roots music to The Burl on Jan. 26. The duo consists of “one man band” Zack Smith on guitars, vocals, stomp drums and mouth harp; and Caitlin Doyle on vocals and percussion, who foster up an infectious blend of blues, soul and rock ‘n roll. Joining Smooth Hound Smith for the show is Brooklyn-based duo The Brother Brothers, who take the stage at 9 p.m.