Curious what's going on around town this weekend? Need some suggestions as to how to rock, dance, or krump in the Valley of the Sun? Don't fret: These are our Five Shows to See This Weekend.
Hollywood Alley owner Ross Wincek has been an important figure in the local music scene, having booked a who's who of Valley bands at his venue over the past 25 years, ranging from jangle pop superstars like the Gin Blossoms and The Refreshments to such modern day acts as The Love Me Nots.
After his recent stroke has left the 47-year-old with a mountain of medical bills and other debts, a slew of Valley musicians decided to help the man who's helped them countlessly over the years.
Punker Tom Reardon, who originally booked this Saturday a gig for his current group The Father Figures at Hollywood Alley, has organized an all-day benefit called "Ross Rocks." He's brought together close to 20 groups for the event, including numerous Hollywood Alley regulars (Page the Village Idiot, Via Vengeance), old friends of the bar (Blanche Davidian, Grave Danger) and new favorites (French Girls, Unemployment Party). Reardon will also reunite with the members of his old band Hillbilly Devilspeak for the benefit.
"Ross has taken care of all these bands for longer than I can remember, whether he made sure they got food in their stomachs or got paid a lot better than a lot of people deserved," Reardon says. "So we're just returning the favor." -- By Benjamin Leatherman
What does it take to become a legend? In Ralph Stanley's case, it's being instrumental in the development of the modern bluegrass sound. Stanley, 85, got his first banjo about 70 years ago. Attempting to learn the popular clawhammer style, he instead created his now signature "Stanley Style" instead. With his guitar-playing brother, he formed the Stanley Brothers and the Clinch Mountain Boys, offering a unique -- and soon popular -- alternative to his contemporaries, like Bill Monroe. And though Stanley still plays some of those original numbers, along with tunes from Monroe and Flatt & Scruggs, he's not stuck in the past, but rather a time-traveling troubadour. Stanley was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Honor in 1992, yet it wasn't until 2000 that he was "discovered" outside bluegrass circles, thanks to his work on the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack. His rendering of the haunting Appalachian dirge "O Death" earned him a 2002 Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance. At 85, at the height of his popularity, Stanley, who also regularly performs "Man of Constant Sorrow," shows no signs of updating his sound anytime soon. Give thanks for that. --Glenn BurnSilver
There's a new kind of rapper in town: compulsively stoned, inexhaustibly prolific, perpetually swagged-out. Rather than cloister themselves in VIP booths, they perfect their ground game in smaller clubs. They prefer the Internet to more traditional means of distribution. And unlike the Big Fucking Deals of three years ago (hi, Wale and B.o.B.), they choose to rap their asses off instead of nurturing delusions of wheel-reinventing grandeur.
Curren$y has a somewhat fractious place in the world of hip-hop. He lacks Yelawolf's blue-collar bona fides and he's certainly not eccentric enough to fit in the Odd Future/Lil B axis. While his cross-market appeal is limited by comparison, the MC's ear for music is far better attuned. Curren$y's albums (2010's Pilot Talk is an ideal starting point) are great comfort food, punctuating baggy prose with the molten, smoldering accents of 1970s beach rock. Like indie rock counterparts Real Estate and Ty Segall, his stuff hits hard but goes down easy.
That Curren$y has no discernible ambition other than smoking weed doesn't matter because, simply put, he sounds great. --M.T. Richards
A former Arizonan living in Portland, Joe Baker discovered the music of Lee Hazlewood the way many of us did: via his duets with Nancy Sinatra. But then he dug deeper. "I gradually became more intrigued and began collecting any piece of music I could find that Lee or his associates had anything to do with," Baker writes on his website. "I've been astounded by the quality of songwriting and production that Lee and his cohorts were capable of putting out. While I love it all, I've grown especially fond of his early work in Phoenix, AZ from 1955-1960." With just an acoustic guitar and his voice, Baker will pay tribute to Hazlewood, as well as Phoenix legends like Sanford Clark, Donnie Owens, Loy Clingman, Don Cole, Jimmy Dell, Al Casey, and Duane Eddy. -- Jason P. Woodbury
Katie Herzig is a good example of how the music machine works in these days of crumbling record labels and multi-tentacled forms of media exposure. Like so many before her, the Colorado-born singer-songwriter moved to Nashville, but her success didn't come from Music Row or Opry-aping aesthetics -- she favors pop sheen over country fringe. Herzig's songs have sneaked through in television soundtracks and car commercials, but she's also done enough to wow the establishment, earning a Grammy nomination in 2007. This year's The Waking Sleep proves that she's adept at planting earworms (the bubblegum stomper "Hey Na Na") as well as big-hearted, full-voiced ballads like "Lost and Found." --Christian Schaeffer