Jon Rauhouse is one of the Valley's wonders, a local pedal steel player who spends much of his time recording and touring with some of the best-known cutting-edge country talent in America -- artists like Neko Case, Kelly Hogan, Sally Timms, Jon Langford, and the Grievous Angels. If you like smart country and haven't looked into those acts, you're missing out. Rauhouse also releases his own material with his guitar partner Tommy Connell, and has two discs out on Bloodshot. It's some of the finest driving music you're likely to find this side of Speedy West and Jimmy Bryant, who wrote the book on this kind of material back in the '50s. Now's the time to see Jon and Tommy live, first at a 30-plus-minute free show in the courtyard at Stinkweeds record store, 12 West Camelback Road, at 7 p.m. Thursday, February 24, and again the next night at the Sail Inn in Tempe with a larger ensemble featuring Kelly Hogan, John and Joey from Calexico, and members of the Nick Luca Trio. All hyperbole aside, this will be a blast.
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