Playbill

Sunday, May 23, 419 Gentry, Spring, 281-528-8129.The Legendary Shack*Shakers

Feelin' that the right Reverend Horton has lost his heat? That Southern Culture really is on the skids? Lookin' for something new to grease your wheels? Then maybe it's time to introduce yourself to the Legendary Shack*Shakers. Hailing far from Music Row, this Nashville-based band bump-and-grinds out some delightfully twisted roots music. From their jokey affectations (like wink-wink use of "Legendary" in their band name), you might fear that these guys are dishing out some joke-a-billy hokum. But don't be fooled. The Shack*Shakers deliver roof-rattling rock and roll that's part rowdy juke-joint blues and part hopped-up rockabilly -- "jook-a-billy," to borrow a term from one of their own tunes.

The Shakers are fronted by "Colonel" J.D. Wilkes, a wild-eyed redhead known for his howling-at-the-moon vocals, his gritty blues harp blowing and his possessed stage performances. When he sings that "the devil's got me near insane," you really believe him. The devil, in fact, makes his presence felt throughout their 2003 disc, the wonderfully titled Cockadoodledon't. He's lurking in the shadows on the murder-soaked "Blood on the Bluegrass," and he's taking souls on "Devils Night Auction."

Assisting Wilkes in his fiendish plot to create a diabolical brand of Southern Gothic Americana are bassist Mark "the Duke" Robertson and drummer Paul Simmonz, who team up for a menacing rhythm section, as well as a recent convert, guitarist David Lee. The Shakers have garnered praise from such roots-rock royalty as Jason Ringenberg and Hank III, while the Nashville Scene crowned Wilkes the best front man in Music City. They recently have been cooped up making a new record, so the boys are itching to unleash some new gonzo tunes along with LSS standards such as "Help Me from My Brain" and "Hoptown Jailbreak." You have been warned. -- Michael Berick

Thursday, May 20, at Rudyard's, 2010 Waugh Drive, 713-521-0521.David Allan Coe

David Allan Coe, unlike some of his peers, didn't have to manufacture outlaw cred to qualify for the outlaw-country movement of the 1970s. Coe essentially grew up incarcerated, first tangling with the system at age nine and then spending the next 20 years, more or less, behind bars. When he emerged, he had taught himself how to play music, developed a haunting lyrical gift and cultivated a strong desire to see his name in lights.

Despite his obvious talents, Coe and country radio never understood each other. His wild stage shows scared conservative Nashville -- for a while he appeared as the Mysterious Rhinestone Cowboy, donning a bejeweled suit, a big black hat and a Zorro mask, wielding a bottle of Jack and swearing at the audience. His warts-and-all songs and his "If that ain't country, I'll kiss your ass" attitude -- that's a real lyric from a song of the same name -- didn't help him commercially, either. His decision to release several racially and sexually rank, X-rated underground albums put yet another black feather in his cap.

Despite these self-inflicted wounds, Coe did find success as a songwriter, virtually launching the career of Tanya Tucker in 1973 when the 13-year-old covered his "Would You Lay with Me" and took it to the top spot on the country charts. A laundry list of top country musicians covered his work, and he wrote such classics as "Please Come to Boston," "Longhaired Redneck" and "Take This Job and Shove It" (popularized by Johnny Paycheck).

In some ways, Coe's style of boasting presaged the megalomania of gangsta rap. Not surprising, then, that Kid Rock, a white-boy rapper known for considerable braggadocio, gave the fading rebel props in the song "American Badass" and later had Coe open for him on tour.

The longhaired redneck has released several new albums over the past year: Tennessee Waltz, a live compilation, and a two-CD audio book of his life titled Whoopsy Daisy. He also has taken on another live persona, often wearing long beads in his wildly colored beard and blond dreadlocks, and looking less like a cowboy and more like something out of Mad Max. Who better to perform at Biker Night at Sam Houston Race Park? -- Jonathan Bond

Saturday, May 22, 7575 North Sam Houston Parkway West, 281-807-RACE.

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