Gary P. Nunn Firehouse Saloon, January 2
Best known as the voice behind "London Homesick Blues" ("I wanna go home with the Armadillo..."), the tune heard for years and years at the opening of every Austin City Limits episode, Gary P. Nunn is the perfect performer to get your honky-tonkin' 2015 off on the right foot. The the 69-year-old singer is a walking encyclopedia of Austin's progressive-country sound of the '70s, and a top-shelf Texas travel guide to boot. The only thing that beats the eagle-eyed imagery of "Terlingua Sky," "My Kind of Day on Padre" and "Guadalupe Days," to name but a few, is being there yourself.
Too Short, Bun B Arena Theatre, January 3
The first great rap show of the new year didn't take long to arrive. The perfect pairing of ultra-frosty West Coast steez with wood-grained Gulf Coast trill, these two playas hail from from the school they tore down to build the old school. Between the two of them, Short Dog and Professor Bun have a combined 50-plus years in the rap game, and at least a couple dozen albums that deliver one freaky tale after another from the Bay Area and Southeast Texas, respectively, the highs and lows of street life recounted in minute detail by two elders whose wisdom comes complete with some seriously funky beats.
Marcia Ball Dosey Doe, January 3
If you didn't know Marcia Ball was from this part of the world, look no further than the title of her newest album, Tattooed Lady and the Alligator Man -- her lucky 13th on Alligator Records in all -- to figure it out. After a stint in Freda and the Firedogs, her country-ish band that had an early and lasting impact on Austin's '70s music scene, she turned back to her Louisiana roots when starting her solo career on 1983's Soulful Dress and hasn't slowed down a bit. When Ball sits down behind her piano and starts wagging one of those long legs of hers, rest assured the good times are about to roll.
TWO MORE SHOWS YOU SHOULD CONSIDER
Strangelove, the Smites, Boys Don't Cry: Tributes to three of the top '80s alternative bands...can you guess which three? (House of Blues, January 2)
Omotai, Co-Pilot, Sleep Envy: Trippy space-rock and gnarly earth-metal from two Houston stalwarts, plus the debut of the similarly sludgy Sleep Envy, something new from Omotai's Sam Waters. (Fitzgerald's, January 3)
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