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Justincase Does TRL 

Justincase is traveling the nation, and the world for that matter, as they prepare for the release of their self-titled major label debut on Maverick Records on October 1. The band has been jet-setting across the country to do appearances at various radio stations to promote the first single, "Don't Cry For Us," which can be heard locally on KISS 95.1 FM. The three even made a stop at a station in Barcelona, Spain. Last week on MTV's TRL, labelmate Michelle Branch introduced the band to the masses by introducing the premiere of their brand new video. The video was shot with The Maloys, who have worked with such artists as 311 and the Foo Fighters. For more details or for a look at the video, go to www.maverickrecords.com (where at press time they were featured on the main page directly after Alanis Morissette and Branch!) or www.justincasefans.com.

Another local act has just signed with a major label. Unknown Hinson, the self-named "King of Country Western Troubadours," recently landed a deal with Capitol Records. According to unknownhinson.com, we can expect a new release soon.

Bassist Ron Brendle will be performing several local dates with New York pianist Frank Kimbrough this week. Kimbrough, a NC native, has been in NY for about 20 years and was recently featured in an issue of DownBeat Magazine. The two have been longtime collaborators and recorded three CDs under Brendle's leadership, which were released on his own LoNote label based in Charlotte. While in NY, Kimbrough became a founding member of the Jazz Composers Collective, a non-profit organization based in NYC. Since 1992, the Collective has presented over 100 concerts, toured internationally, and produced more than a dozen critically acclaimed recordings of original music by its composers-in-residence. In addition to his recordings with Brendle, Kimbrough has released seven recordings as a leader and three more with the Herbie Nichols Project, a group he began 10 years ago and now co-leads with bassist and JCC founder Ben Allison. He appears on more than 20 other CDs by Allison, Michael Blake, Ron Horton, Ted Nash, Joe Locke, and on two Grammy-nominated recordings with the Maria Schneider Orchestra. Kimbrough and Brendle will be accompanied by locals John Alexander (sax) and Chris Garges (drums) for a show tonight, August 21, at the Meeting House. The two have shows scheduled in Wilmington, Winston-Salem and Chapel Hill through the weekend. For more details, check out www.frankkimbrough.com and www.ronbrendle.com.

Major Nelson is hosting a CD Release Party on Thursday, August 22, at the Double Door Inn. The band recorded a five-song EP titled Twilight Promises with Jamie Hoover. It'll be an early show, beginning at 8pm with special guest The Ravelers. For more info, go to www.majornelsonband.com.

The folks from the Evening Muse are hosting a benefit concert on September 11 for the American Red Cross and the North Charlotte Firefighters. Bands or artists interested in volunteering their time should contact the club via e-mail at themuse@queencitymusic.com.

The newly opened Sylvia Theater in York, SC, is hosting an "Open Talent Call" on Saturday, August 24. The daylong open mic session will run from 12noon-6pm. To get your name added to the list of performers, contact Tom at feneeka@bellsouth.com or call 803-684-5590. For more details on the theater or for directions, check out www.secondwindmusic.com/ST.

The Scott McCloud Group are scheduled to perform at the US Open Tennis Tournament in NYC from August 31 to September 7. For more info, go to www.scottmccloud.net.

We're sad to report that Ellen Gray died earlier this month from complications of breast cancer. Gray played bass with the Charlotte band Bark along with former husband Greg Hawks, and with the Two Dollar Pistols in Chapel Hill. While in Charlotte, she was an active part of the musical community.

Cup a Joe have disbanded after a four-year run. Lead vocalist Joe Estes and lead guitarist John Vargosko have already formed a new band called The Dangerfields. They've recruited Tony Lee, formerly of Treadmill Trackstar, to play drums. The new group is currently working on new original material and have plans to debut this fall. For more info, go to the band's new website at www.thedangerfields.net.

Bassist Eddie Cales has parted ways with Sideways Eight. After auditioning players last month, they've recruited Kenny Heim as Cales' replacement. Fill-in bassist Darrin Watts, however, will continue to play with the band for some upcoming appearances.

Charlotte producer/engineer Mark Williams has completed a new studio album with Carrie Newcomer for Rounder Records that's set for a September 10 release. Gathering of Spirits was recorded in Indiana and mixed in Nashville and at Charlotte's Reflection Studios. Allison Kraus appears on the album and Charlotte's own Jim Brock played drums and percussion. Williams also produced and engineered the new live record, Obsession, by locals Delancey Street Band, which was recorded at the Double Door Inn. Williams, who also specializes in location recording, also got to spend the weekend at the Bonnaroo Music Festival in Tennessee recording at the main stage. He's also recorded live tracks in Charleston, SC, for Jump Little Children recently. Both projects will appear as live DVDs later this year.

The Triangle area has a new outdoor venue: The Amphitheatre at Regency Park is an 8,000 capacity facility located in Cary (which is adjacent to Raleigh). We've already been tipped off by a reliable source that the venue is very nice and quite scenic; however, if you're heading to a show, be sure to take lawn chairs or a blanket because there are no permanent seats. Upcoming shows include the Indigo Girls on August 30 and John Mayer on September 7. Tickets for the events are handled through Ticketmaster. For more info, call the venue at 919-462-2025 or visit www.amphitheatreatregencypark.com.

The Sylvia Theater, York, SCRadokA Return To Its Roots

Charlotte-area songwriter and banker type Paul Finnican came to York, SC, in the summer of 2001, and fell in love -- in this case, with a building. Once a movie theater, the space seemed perfect to Finnican for a music venue, with its natural acoustics, large stage area and rustic feel.The last time the building had been used for entertainment was in 1968. Finding the space to his liking, he and others began redoing the interior, including tearing out some ventilation fans to make a window over the stage where performers can watch from the "green room," painting the interior a warm, wheat-gold color, and recycling some of the building's 100-year-old beams to make the stage floor and bartop. And that's just for the audience. Local musicians can luxuriate in the backstage area, replete with leather couches, a PlayStation 2 console and shower stall.

Finnican, along with general manager Tom Aggeles, sees the primary focus of the facility as a "performance showcase for the regional, local and, when availability and schedules permit, nationally acclaimed artists." Primarily a roots music venue, the theater has already booked a number of blues, jazz, bluegrass, Appalachian and Celtic-flavored acts for the upcoming months, and will host a regular Bluegrass Barnstorm on the second Thursday of the month and a Blues night on the last Thursday of the month. The Sylvia will also host an "Annual Summerfest Open Mic and Jam Session" during York's yearly Summerfest event, set for August 23-24.

Future plans for the theater include showing movies (art films and westerns, likely), live recording capabilities, and more. For more information, log on to www.sylviatheater.com.

timothy.davis@cln.com

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