LIVE MENU: May 20-26

By Matt Wickstrom

Cory Branan

LEXINGTON, Ky. — The return of Katie Toupin, a special show from Texas songwriter Cory Branan and backing band The Low Standards and a visit from Old Salt Union top this week’s live music menu. View all of my top show picks for May 20-26 below and the entire menu here.

Don’t forget to start your week off with me on Wick’s Picks on Lexington Community Radio on May 20 from 9-11 a.m. for music and conversation with Saraya Brewer of The Moonshiner’s Ball and Joslyn Hampton and Marty Charters of Joslyn & The Sweet Compression. Listen in on the dial at 93.9 FM or stream online at

Katie Toupin

Katie Toupin brings her soul-soaked rock to The Burl on May 20. The show marks her second since breaking off from Albany, Indiana based group Houndmouth, who quite frankly aren’t the same without her. The vocalist stirs up a soulful blend of easygoing rock and pop with her radiant vocals transporting listeners into a dreamy, 70’s era dreamscape. The show comes ahead of Toupin’s solo debut Spellbinding on June 14 via Symphonic Distribution.

Cory Branan & The Low Standards, NP Presley & The Ghost of Jesse Garon

Genre-bending songsmith Cory Branan returns to The Burl on May 22 for a special show featuring backing band The Low Standards. Branan is a well-versed songwriter having released six albums since 2002, none more impressive (in this critic’s opinion) than his 2017 effort Adios, in which the artist tackles topics such as police brutality from the perspective of a racist cop (“Another Nightmare in America”) to his father’s fight with cancer (“The Vow”). Polarizing and bold stories such as these, told through Branan’s poetic weaving of words, are what makes him as cutting edge of a songwriter as they come, and a reason why Wednesday’s show is not one to miss. Locals NP Presley & The Ghost of Jesse Garon open the show.

Chris Robinson Brotherhood, The Texas Gentlemen

Southern rock and jam veterans Chris Robinson Brotherhood return to Manchester Music Hall on May 23 with support from honky tonky studio stalwarts The Texas Gentlemen. The visit comes nearly two years after the CRB’s first trip to town, with frontman Chris Robinson having returned since in March 2018 during a tour with As the Crow Flies, a reincarnation of The Black Crowes featuring Marcus King and others. The band will feature a shake in its lineup for it’s Thursday evening show, having recently announced that co-founding member Adam MacDougall would be leaving the band, which would go on hiatus following its current run of shows. With MacDougall out of the picture, Pete Sears (Jefferson Starship) will take over on keys during the band’s remaining May tour dates, including for the stop at MMH.

Old Salt Union, Mama Said String Band

Kick off your Memorial Day weekend early with a Thursday night, foot-stomping bash at The Burl featuring high-energy, string-busting bluegrass outfit Old Salt Union coupled with rising Louisville quintet Mama Said String Band and their exquisite, layers harmonies. Old Salt Union is no stranger to Lexington, having played in the past at Willie’s Locally Known and Cosmic Charlie’s. However, Thursday’s show will be the debut at The Burl for the group fronted by the charismatic Jesse Farrar, son of Jay Farrar (Son Volt, Uncle Tupelo).

Johnny Conqueroo, Champs of the Sun, The Minks

Local rock ‘n roll takes over The Burl on May 25 when Johnny Conqueroo, Champs of the Sun and The Minks invade the Distillery District music club. The high-energy affair will combine the youthful, sweaty garage rock sound waves of Johnny Conqueroo with the Mark Bell-fronted roots rock outfit Champs of the Sun and Nashville-based psych-rockers The Minks.


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