By Matt Wickstrom
LEXINGTON, Ky. — A pack of musical thoroughbreds that include Town Mountain, Robert Cray, Tee Dee Young and Cordovas come galloping down the stretch to Lexington in this week’s Derby Edition of BBT’s Central Kentucky live menu. View all of my top concert picks for April 29 to May 5 below and the entire menu here.
Tune in on Monday, April 29 from 9-11 a.m. for episode 66 of Wick’s Picks on Lexington Community Radio when I’m joined by Abby Hamilton, who you can catch twice next week, including at The Burl’s On the Rail Roots Festival. In addition to chatting and hearing tunes from Hamilton, we’ll also be previewing and listening to artists highlighted below throughout the show. Tune in on the dial at 93.9 FM-WLXU or online at LexingtonCommunityRadio.org.
Esteemed blues, soul and R&B artist Robert Cray will bring his band and music catalogue spanning four decades, 20 albums and five Grammy Awards to Manchester Music Hall on April 30. Supporting Cray will be Eastern Kentucky blues man Jeremy Short with his project Short & Company, semi-finalists at the 2017 International Blues Challenge. Doors open at 7p.m.
Start your weekend early with a Thursday night show at the Green Lantern featuring Abby Hamilton, scheduled to be a guest on April 29 on Wick’s Picks, Lylak and Spencer Thomas Smith. While Lylak just released their Leave it to Light EP, Hamilton is prepping to release new music in 2019 following her debut Broke Girl in 2017. The project features a heavy dose of pedal steel in its arrangements, tinted with hints of country, pop and soul while possessing a quiet power in her performance that quickly grows to a roar. Thursday’s show begins at 8 p.m.
Back for its second year is the On the Rail Roots Festival at The Burl. Running from May 3-5, the indoor music festival will bring some of the top national, regional and local musical talent to Lexington as much of the world’s spotlight and attention focuses on the Kentucky Derby a short drive away in Louisville. Friday’s schedule includes Whitesburg psych-country group Wayne Graham, dreamy Louisville alt-rockers Bendigo Fletcher, Ohio born songbird Jessica Lea Mayfield and New York folk rockers The Felice Brothers, who release their new album Undress the same day. Music kicks off on Friday at 7 p.m.
Saturday’s action gets started just prior to the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby with a performance from songstress Abby Hamilton at 6 p.m. After a break for the Derby Seattle’s Valley Maker and locals Grayson Jenkins and Senora May will hit the stage prior to Town Mountain coming in to burn it all down. The country/bluegrass group may be from Asheville, but the band has many connections to the commonwealth that make Kentucky, particularly Lexington, a home away from home.
On the Rail continues at 3 p.m. on May 5 with performances from Luna & The Mountain Jets, jam-happy roots rockers Cordovas, Prestonburg’s Nicholas Jamerson, sultry songwriter turned HBO star Lera Lynn, veteran folk troubadour Willie Watson and back porch folk-rockers Jamestown Revival, who much like The Felice Brothers have a new album, San Isabel, set for release on June 14.
Breaking up the action from On the Rail on Saturday will be Pikeville-based singer-songwriter Donnie Bowling, who will be performing across the street from The Burl at Elkhorn Tavern. Bowling has accumulated a wealth of stories through his work as a traveling nurse in addition to navigating his own life story. The resulting compositions feature tales of both happiness and sorrow as told through Bowling’s crisp, lofty harmonies. Bowling will take to the stage at 7 p.m., shortly after the “Run for the Roses” commences.
Robert Cray isn’t the only blues legend playing in town next week. Lexington native Tee Dee Young will bring his energetic and passionate concoction of blues, rock and soul to the Red Mile on May 4 as part of a post-Derby bash. Young is regarded not just locally, but nationally (and in some cases internationally) as one of the premier blues acts around netting multiple Lexington Music Awards along with being named Beale Street’s (Memphis, Tenn.) Blues King and Best Blues Band in Kentucky in 2011. Music begins at 9 p.m.
- REVIEW: Lylak come of age on “Leave it to Light”
- WICK’S PICKS: Ep. 65 (Grayson Jenkins and the Best of 2019… so far)
- WICK’S PICKS: Ep. 63 (Driftwood Gypsy and Lylak)
- From East Kentucky to Eastern Germany? Band’s had quite a musical journey
- WICK’S PICKS: Ep. 59 (w/Lee Owen and Buffalo Wabs & The Price Hill Hustle)
- Not his first rodeo: Sundy Best’s Nicholas Jamerson returns to Bulls, Bands and Barrels
- WICK’S PICKS: Ep. 54 – 2/4/19 (w/ The Native Howl, NP Presley and Nicholas Jamerson)
- LISTEN: Bendigo Fletcher gets an assist from Rayland Baxter on “No Smoke”
- WICK’S PICKS: Ep. 49 – 1/7/19 (w/ Bendigo Fletcher and Wicked Peace)
- Which local bands should you be looking for – and listening to – in 2019?
- WICK’S PICKS: Ep. 48 – 12/17/18 (w/ Rachel Crowe and Senora May)
- From practice venue to concert stage, Tee Dee Young’s club is home to the blues
- Town Mountain’s Kentucky connections run deep on ‘New Freedom Blues’
- Wick’s Picks: Ep. 38 – 10/1/18 (w/ Brett Horton and Donnie Bowling)
- Wick’s Picks: Ep. 13 – 3/28/18 (w/ Jeremy Short)
- Lera Lynn returning to The Burl for more electric words
- Grayson Jenkins quit his day job at UK to pursue music full time