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Renelvis -- If you've been in Charlotte for a spell, you've probably heard of this cat named Renelvis. Rene Escharcha, aka Renelvis, is a typical nice guy who turns into a Vegas showman when a microphone is handed to him. To peg him just as an Elvis impersonator wouldn't be fair, as Rene can belt out an original as good as any in the business. So while he may not stand as tall as Elvis, the man's got a heart of gold and vocal chords that impersonate the king with a capital K. Do yourself a favor and pop in on an unsung Elvis renovator, and a Charlotte original, for this is his 10th anniversary show! Hibachi Grill (Shukla)

Sylvain Sylvain -- The ex-New York Dolls guitarist is a bit of a musical Zelig. He was once asked to join the Sex Pistols, he's designed clothes (influencing that band's manager/dictator, Malcolm McLaren), and he's had the most say in influencing The Dolls' distinctive androgynous visuals. Musically, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree -- a bit of rave up mixed with Eddie Cochran and doo-wop, all delivered with a saucy sneer. Recommended. Tremont Music Hall (Davis)


The Avett Brothers -- Concord's Scott and Seth Avett have a new CD coming out (reviewed in this issue), and it's a revelation for all those folks who thought the only thing Concord ever produced was Natrone Means and Jimmy Hitchcock. It's called Country Was (so named for the sorry state of that musical genre), and it features eight cuts of down-in-the-holler harmonizing, stately saloon-style piano, and plainspoken (but not plain) lyrics about loves past and present. The brothers Avett will be appearing with The Deep River Band, which features their Pa -- er, Father. Puckett's Farm Equipment (Davis)

Cast Iron Filter -- Davidson's popular rootsy rockers have a new CD out, titled This Ugly Town. 'Tis polished stuff, to be sure, but the playing is more than sound here, without going unnecessarily overboard on the fretboard histrionics. Speaking of sound, the Mark Williams-produced CD sounds almost major-label ready, a heady mix of fiddle and pedal steel and mandolin that would sound just perfect at a boozy backyard BBQ. Pedal steel player Jim Ashton almost makes it worth picking up the disc by his lonesome. I hate the damn phrase, but a band on the rise, and already making inroads on the Blue Dogs/Acoustic Syndicate circuit. Neighborhood Theatre (Davis)

Gigi Dover -- She's no outsider when it comes to country and other forms of classic American music. Gigi's been haunting honky tonks all over the territory with the Rank Outsiders, Bill Noonan and on her own. Whether she's singing a duet, fronting her own song or backing up someone, Gigi delivers the goods. She now hits out with her own snazzy, solo record, Unpicked Flowers, and the moody country-pop wraps easily around her distinct vocals. Expect a who's who of local musicians and honky tonkers, including Bill Noonan and Duane Jarvis, to turn up for this red carpet CD release event. How cool is that? Double Door Inn (Shukla)

Leisure McCorkle -- Charlotte's favorite nappy superstar is back, and for this show, he's bringing his old band with him -- Gary Guthrie on drums, Grainger Gilbert on guitar, and "Big" Mike Mitschele on the bass fiddle. A fixture on the Charlotte scene for many years, McCorkle the man is a showy chap, favoring platform shoes and the odd trench coat on stage to go along with a shaved pate. Musically, he's a bit showy as well, but the end result is pretty damn catchy, to be sure. Which is more than I can say for the platform shoes. Amos' Southend (Davis)

Victor Wooten & Friends -- Fans of Bela Fleck and the Flecktones know Victor Wooten is an amazing bass player, capable of doing unimaginable things on his instrument and playing a wide variety of musical styles. They also know he comes from a musical family, joined in the Flecktones by his brother, Futureman. This band allows Victor to enjoy still more musical styles, and it draws on the talents of two more musical Wootens, brothers Joseph on keyboards and Regi on guitar. The sounds include jazz fusion, R&B, hard rock, even classical, but most of it is slamming funk. As an instrumentalist, Victor's a marvel, combining blinding speed, beautiful melodies, great rhythms and crazy techniques. And it's hard to believe, but Regi might actually be as fast on his guitar. The last show these folks played here was a three-hour funk fest, so expect a good time. Visulite Theatre (Brian Falk)

Weekend Excursion / Dezeray's Hammer -- Weekend Excursion are putting on the finishing touches for a new CD slated to hit the stores in a couple months. The new cuts stay true to their sugar pop sound while their click continues to mature. They're so radio ready that you wanna go to the local "all hits" station, pound 'em on the heads and say, "Hey, here it is." Dezeray's Hammer are a like-minded trio who ply the highways built by Hootie and are a tad on the harder rocking side. It's the perfect non-intrusive rock & roll for a double date, night on the town. Tremont Music Hall (Shukla)


John Mayer -- Hyped by Rolling Stone as one of the next big things for 2002, Mayer now travels from his adopted hometown of Atlanta, GA, where he's developed a sort of Sting/Dave Matthews hybrid of a sound. A talented guitar player, Mayer's toned down the guitar histrionics in favor of a softer, more melodic approach. Figure Angie Aparo with hair and a bit more lyrical grit. Tremont Music Hall (Davis)

Kevn Kinney -- The nasally moan is instantly recognizable, the guitar plucking is simultaneously fierce and subtle, and why he's not a bigger star in his own right is a continuing cruelty of the music business. Kinney still fronts the long-running rockers Drivin' N Cryin' and has put out brilliant solo records of bluesy, country folk along the way. It doesn't get much better than listening to Kevn slam a story on an acoustic guitar while you drown your tear ducts in mugs of suds. With Gibb Droll. Visulite Theatre (Shukla)


Rodney Crowell -- He hasn't been able to imitate, of late, his roll of boot scootin' country hits from the late 80s, but Crowell has continually produced a treasure trove of nice songs over the years. His crooning and playing have been swaying more toward pop lately, but the tales are still told with emotion as the guitars moan and howl along. Rodney's most recent record, The Houston Kid (Sugar Hill Records), is sparse yet brims with loads of sentiment -- and we're all the better for it. Neighborhood Theatre (Shukla) *

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