John Egan The Big Easy, February 3
Solo bluesman John Egan sings in a tone that suggests someone is constantly walking over his grave, and his lyrics are loaded with bad mojo like nature gone haywire and apocalyptic visions. All he needs live is his National Resonator, one of those shiny silver guitars that sting and snarl, and has begun mastering the followup to 2012's spare and sinister Phantoms. Last month Egan advanced to the semifinals of the International Blues Challenge's solo competition for the second year in a row, vying with bluesmen and women all over the planet. CHRIS GRAY
Bill Kirchen McGonigel's Mucky Duck, February 4
A virtuoso of the Fender Telecaster, Bill Kirchen is not only a stellar songwriter, player, and performer whose oeuvre extends from Bakerfield truckers' twang to rockabilly, he is widely acknowledge as one of the top practitioners of his craft and has spent part of his career teaching guitar. He was part of Austin's twang supergroup the Twangbangers, formed in 2001 with Redd Voelkaert, Dallas Wayne and Joe Goldmark. Last year Kirchen released the album Seeds and Stems, which prompted Rolling Stone to label him "in these roots-conscious times, very much a pioneer." WILLIAM MICHAEL SMITH
DJ Flash Gordon Parks Alley Kat Lounge, February 5
If you see Flash Gordon Parks around a set of turntables -- which can Wednesday at the Big Top's tiny next-door neighbor, the Alley Kat Lounge -- it's better than even money you're in for a funky good time. Parks pours an encyclopedic knowledge of soul, funk, jazz, hip-hop and more into sets that will make you think as much as they make you sweat. That's no easy feat, but he makes it sound that way. CHRIS GRAY
More shows on the next page.
Mike Stinson Under the Volcano, February 5
A craftsman of a songwriter capable of both great wit and poignancy, Mike Stinson has raised the bar for local troubadors since moving to Houston in 2009. Last year his most recent LP, Hell and Half of Georgia, put a rockin', radio-friendly sheen on some damn fine turns of phrase, and was named among 2013's No. 42 album by former Washington Post critic Geoffrey Himes in Paste magazine. After touring the country the latter half of last year, Stinson has resumed his Wednesday happy-hour gig at the Mucky Duck, but suspends that one this week for his even older Under the Volcano monthly. CHRIS GRAY
Ash Fitzgerald's, February 6
Ash is one of those bands from the classic Britpop era that most Yanks probably assume left us a long time ago, but what a happy surprise it is to hear that they're still around. Playing relentless power-pop cranked to Nirvana-like levels, Tim Wheeler's Northern Irish lads actually date back to the Stone (Roses) age but didn't debut until 1995's Trailer, at a time when both sides of the pond were mad for crazed guitars and candy-coated melodies.
Wheeler's level of Star Wars fandom is so great he titled second album 1977, but Ash may be even better remembered for 2001 masterpiece Free All Angels. Despite no new output since 2007, Wheeler and company came back strong at SXSW last year and do promise something new in 2014. Come back Supergrass, all is forgiven. CHRIS GRAY
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