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TV-3's NewShow is overhauled, and local music gets the boot

Drinkin' Time: Local blues king Big Pete Pearson is set to celebrate the release of his latest CD, One More Drink, with a pair of weekend concerts.

The 10-song Drink, produced and mixed by noted Valley knob turner Clarke Rigsby, features seven Big Pete originals plus a trio of covers, including B.B. King's "You Know I Love You" and a bluesed-up reading of "Like a Rooster on a Hen" -- a George Bernard Shaw/John Mills Ward show tune which guitarist Little Milton has also recorded.

Supporting Big Pete on the disc are longtime collaborators -- guitarist Tom Grills, bassist Jack Tutt and drummer Alvieo Robinson -- plus local luminaries like Hammond B-3 ace Dr. Fish, harpman Bob Corritore and saxophonist Jerry Donato.

Tucson's Fourkiller Flats hit Tempe this weekend.
Hector Acuña
Tucson's Fourkiller Flats hit Tempe this weekend.

Big Pete Pearson is scheduled to perform this Friday, April 13, and Saturday, April 14, at the Rhythm Room. Shows begin at 9 p.m.

Warlock 'n' Roll: This week the Blue Ox hosts a retro-rock invasion as Bomp!/Alive recording artists the Warlocks and Nikki Sudden come to town on Wednesday, April 18. The Warlocks -- who released their self-titled debut in February -- create a psychedelic sound that immediately calls to mind fellow tripped-out and turned-on explorers like Spacemen 3, Jesus and Mary Chain and Brian Jonestown Massacre (not coincidentally, Warlock guitarist Bobby Hecksher is a former BJM member).

Meanwhile, Sudden, former leader of British post-punk legends the Swell Maps, works a less lysergic and more Stones-inspired noise. Sudden's latest effort, titled The Last Bandit, is a double-disc anthology compiling his solo sides from the past 20 years, plus a previously unreleased acoustic album.

The Warlocks/Sudden bill also marks the official return of the Valley's own Beat Angels. The group -- which has essentially been in mothballs since a car accident sidelined bassist Scott Moore last fall -- is returning to active duty with original rhythm man Kevin Pate and noted local sessionist (and mysteriously monikered) drummer A.D. filling the seat held by Jeff Bourne since 1998. Showtime is 9 p.m.

Flatlanders: Tucson's Fourkiller Flats -- singer/songwriter Jim Cox, multi-instrumentalist Jim Peekin, bassist James Stanley, lead guitarist Neal Bonser and drummer Bill Green -- have quickly generated a buzz as one of the finest roots/alt-country combos to come out of the Old Pueblo in a decade or more. High praise indeed, considering Tucson's storied legacy in that respect.

Admittedly, the band's muse is more inspired by No Depression beacons like Uncle Tupelo and Alejandro Escovedo than iconic desert dwellers like the Sand Rubies or Naked Prey. Still, on the Flats' self-titled five-song debut (a CD-R with professional packaging), the band slots firmly into said legacy.

Commencing with the wonderfully melodic mandolin workout "So Far," FkF then proceeds to essay straight-up, twangin' country-folk (the Burrito Brothers-esque, one-beer-too-many "Cat Song"); gentle autumnal balladry with a bluegrass undercurrent, courtesy of some bottleneck guitar ("Tip Me Over"); and even low-key, subtly anthemic garage rock ("Way I Went From You," which, with its bristling lead guitar, recalls Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers).

Throughout, the group's keen attention to dynamics and arrangements reveals the presence of seasoned pros in the lineup. Additionally, in Cox, a gruff-throated but tuneful and emotive lead vocalist, the Flats have the requisite front-person charisma that helps elevate any group's chances in today's confusingly crowded marketplace. The group, which first joined up in the fall of '99 after Peekin and Cox (a former member of Tucson stalwarts 35 Summers) began playing acoustic gigs, is currently working with producer Craig Schumacher (Calexico, Richard Buckner) on a full-length follow-up to the EP.

The band will open for Truckers on Speed this Saturday, April 14, at Long Wongís in Tempe. Showtime is 9 p.m.

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