Shows of the Week: A Young Bluesman With a Rapper's Bite

Shows of the Week: A Young Bluesman With a Rapper's Bite
Photo by Mikel Samel/Courtesy of Alligator Records

JAREKUS SINGLETON
Dosey Doe Music Cafe, Thursday, January 28
If the blues hasn’t completely gone the way of the dodo the way many people once expected, it’s largely because of performers like Jarekus Singleton.
Born into a family of church singers, the 31-year-old Mississippi native worked his way up from the Southern blues-festival circuit to a deal with Alligator Records. In 2014, the stalwart Chicago label released Singleton’s debut Refuse to Lose, a dynamic album that wisely showcases plenty of the guitarist’s fine fretwork but not at the expense of the sturdy songwriting underneath. That allows Singleton to float among a variety of bluesy styles, with a special affinity for the after-hours soul of “Crime Scene” and “Suspicion.” And with lyrical brush-offs like “this ain’t Training Day, and my name ain’t Denzel” or “you proved to be faker than a three-dollar bill,” hip-hop’s loss is definitely blues fans’ gain.

GRACE POTTER
House of Blues, Friday, January 29
The billing may no longer read Grace Potter and the Nocturnals — the singer seems to have “gone solo” with the release of 2015’s Midnight – but Potter remains the top female whiskey-voiced guitar-whanging rock singer from Vermont on the national scene. After 13 years with the Nocturnals, Potter dials it back just half a notch with her solo release, going for something a little more mainstream pop. But that doesn’t mean Potter, who plays all kinds of instruments and has deep musical interests outside pop, isn’t still writing hard-hitting, provocative tunes. And even without the trusty Nocturnals behind her, it’s a good bet she will trot out tunes like “Paris (Ooh La La)” and other fan favorites. (WILLIAM MICHAEL SMITH)

JOHN WESLEY COLEMAN
Satellite Bar, Friday, January 29
Billing himself as Austin’s “trash poet,” John Wesley Coleman is a pleasing musical anomaly. His recent release, the irony-laden Greatest Hits, is an interesting mix of pop, rock and honky-tonk that never lets a listener settle into a comfortable spot — and this is not a bad thing. The brainy DFW native’s material ranges from the kooky “Bong Song” to genuine tearjerkers like “Falling Out of Love.” The man carries a sharp knife and he uses it to perfection on the snarky “Portlandia.” A fresh face on the so-called Texas music scene, Coleman seems to be doing his damnedest to keep Austin weird. With Mikey & the Drags, Adam Bricks and the Bolos. {WILLIAM MICHAEL SMITH)

HOUSTON PRESS ARTOPIA
Winter Street Studios, Saturday, January 30
Each January, the Houston Press does our part to brighten the dreary winter mood around here by throwing an elaborate multimedia bash for the city’s brightest creatives, whether their chosen medium be food, fashion, theater, dance or music. Come enjoy complimentary food and beverages while browsing the works of our nine featured visual artists, including our own music-photographer extraordinaire Marco Torres; witness live theater, dance and the unveiling of the annual Mastermind winners; and dance off those appetizers with the evening’s musical guests. Taking the Artopia stage just so happen to be three of Houston’s hottest acts in 2016: Britpoppy indie-rockers Catch Fever, who made their mark with 2014’s elegant and emotional Shiny Eyes; Say Girl Say, whose captivating blend of folk and world music is truly one of a kind; and Gio Chamba, the one-man party-starter whose latest batch of “electropical” cumbias has just come out on Houston’s Wonky Power Records. General-admission tickets start at $45; VIP packages with all the trimmings go for $75. See houstonpressartopia.com for details.

SHOOTER JENNINGS
Scout Bar, Sunday, January 31; Main Street Crossing, Monday, February 1
Shooter Jennings has gone to great lengths to establish his own identity, but he also hasn't fallen very far from the outlaw tree. It’s hard to see how the Son of Waylon ever could, but Shooter has always been mindful of his legacy, both as a musician and as host of his envelope-pushing Sirius/XM show Electric Rodeo. After styling himself as Nashville’s latest renegade on early efforts like Put the “O” Back In Country and a psychedelic night-tripper on 2006’s Black Ribbons, Jennings has staked a claim at the familiar intersection of gonzo country and badass Southern rock on more recent albums like his latest, 2013’s The Other Life. The tour that brings him through Scout Bar Sunday (note: free show!) and Tomball’s Main Street Crossing next Monday adds another wrinkle to the concept of coming full circle: Jennings will be fronting Waymore’s Outlaws, a band that features several of his dad’s former players including Waylon’s original drummer, Richie Albright.

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OTHER COOL STUFF WORTH CHECKING OUT
The Strokes Open-Mike Night:
Say one thing about the Strokes, a headliner at Governor’s Ball in their hometown of New York City this summer: Their influence far outstrips their output. The indie-rockers’ latest album is still 2013’s Comedown Machine — only their fifth LP since landmark 2001 debut Is This It — but contemporary acts who haven’t been at least a little affected by the Strokes’ pouty cool and watertight songs are few and far between indeed. Besides, their relative scarcity of material might even make picking the right one to play that much easier at Wonky Power’s followup to last month’s successful Radiohead open-mike. (Wonky Power Live, January 26)

Sunny Sweeney & Brennen Leigh: These two Austin country singer-songwriters are longtime friends, but quite a bit different stylistically: Sweeney is a rockin’ neotraditionalist who proudly touts her “Bad Girl Phase” on her latest album, Provoked, while the vintage-leaning Leigh recently released a Lefty Frizzell tribute record. But last year, the two ladies met the approaching election-year insanity head-on with “But You Like Country Music,” the best liberal/conservative square dance since Hayes Carll’s “Another Like You.” After earning them a nice writeup in Rolling Stone, it should make a nice centerpiece for an evening at the Duck. (McGonigel's Mucky Duck, January 28)

Lyric Michelle: This Chicago-born poet and rapper, who debuted as an MC on the 2011 J. Cole remix “Lights Please,” is about to leave some pretty bold fingerprints on Houston with her new album, Miss Direction. Recently heard on OneHunnidt’s Field Sobriety tape, here Lyric turned to producer Chris Rockaway (T.H.E.M., Z-Ro) for a tantalizing LP that “sets out to find the beauty in the chaos,” according to her Soundcloud notes. On hand to help make sense of it all are top H-Town R&B names like Jack Freeman, Lee-Lonn and Kam Franklin, who with many others (Kyle Hubbard, Ashley Toman, Brad Gilmore) joins Lyric Thursday for the Miss Direction release soiree, powered by the turntable talents of Dayta and Fat Tony, Lyric’s partner in rhyme on the new album's “Directions.” (Walters Downtown, January 28)

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Related Locations

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Walters Downtown
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McGonigel's Mucky Duck

2425 Norfolk
Houston, TX 77098

713-528-5999

www.mcgonigels.com

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Wonky Power Live

3534 Navigation Blvd
Houston, TX 77003

832-830-5839

wonkypower.com

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Main Street Crossing
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Scout Bar

18307 Egret Bay
Houston, TX 77058

281-335-0002

www.scoutbar.com

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Winter Street Studios
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Satellite

6922 Harrisburg
Houston, Texas 77011

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House of Blues

1204 Caroline
Houston, TX 77002

888-402-5837

www.houseofblues.com

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Dosey Doe Music Cafe

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