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WEDNESDAY 3.13
Martin Stephenson / David Childers -- Brit Stephenson is a big fan of North Carolina musicians and has spent a lot of time in NC recently, soaking up the heritage of Doc Watson and Charlie Poole and the like, not to mention the David Childers of the world. Stephenson, who has toured with all sorts of strange characters including Roy Buchanan, Prefab Sprout and Del Amitri, is a bit like an Anglo Childers with a little more punk rock blood -- a nice mix of folk, country, gospel and rockabilly. With the aforementioned Childers, who will play songs off his upcoming new CD, Blessed In an Unusual Way, as well as Lou Ford's Alan Edwards, and moodsters nonpareil The Interstellars. The Evening Muse (Davis)

Nelly Furtado -- Pretty big coup for Tremont: Furtado's on the cover of this month's Spin magazine with Jay "Hova" Z. If there's a polar opposite to the Christina Aguileras of the world, it's Miss Nelly, whose songs, while simple enough ("I'm like a bird/I'll only fly away"), manage to have a certain flighty, early-20something resonance to them. Unlike Aguilera, she sounds like she'd sing these songs with not a soul in sight, instead of carpet-bombing the public with maximum R&B for maximum profits. Plus, dig her tasty rap with Missy Elliott on "Get Ur Freak On," which was 100 times better than that "Lady Marmalade" fiasco. Tremont Music Hall (Davis)

FRIDAY 3.15
Army of Ponch / My So-Called Band -- Florida's Army of Ponch play punk rock with hints of emo covered by screaming riffs showing off their rock & roll upbringing. They're in town pushing the self-titled new record (released on No Idea Records) and will showcase their wares for the local pogoers. Charlotte's My So-Called Band compiled and released the nice compilation of NC and SC bands, Bomb Threat, late last year and help keep the torch burning for all the wide-eyed youngsters. Other like-minded bands, Amish Jihad, Uzi Ari and Channel 43, are also on the bill for this gathering of punk rockers. The Boiling Point (Shukla)

The Avett Brothers -- The Avett Bros., Scott and Seth Avett, have a great new CD out, Country Was, a harmony-filled, whiskey-on-the-rocks kind of album that's not so much concerned with the dichotomy between Saturday night and Sunday morning as it is between those days where everything changes suddenly -- like a breakup or meeting someone who sweeps you off your feet -- and the rest of your life. True, stripped-down country with a Piedmont blues twist. Mojo Restaurant & Spirits (Davis)

Jason & the Scorchers -- Jason Ringenberg wrote a great lyric a while back on his solo record bemoaning a country singer's dilemma: "One foot in the honky tonk and the other is in the grave." Jason and the Scorchers have weathered all possible band dilemmas you can come up with and have arrived at the juncture of their 20th year. They were Americana long before the term was coined and blitzed up country, punk and rock long before such a combo had been thought up. A new disc compiling outtakes and rarities, Wildfires and Misfires, has just been released. All said and done, thank goodness they've still got one foot in the honky tonk and the other foot tearin' it up, and not in a grave. With Jem Crossland and the Hypertonics. Double Door Inn (Shukla)

Lucy Kaplansky -- Perhaps best known as a psychologist, or for her part in the group Cry Cry Cry with Dar Williams and Richard Shindell, it's way past time that Kaplansky be known just for being one of the best singers in contemporary music. Her cool, clear-as-a-mountain-stream voice replaces the original electricity of old standards, breathes life into cover tunes, and impresses with its versatility on original work, all of which is evidenced on her latest album, Every Single Day. It's the work of a mature artist firmly planted in tradition, anchored not out of mimicry but out of respect. Neighborhood Theatre (Davis)

Ultrasound -- Here's an Athens, GA, jazz ensemble mixing up many elements of that wide open genre with funky, smooth and surprisingly sultry instrumentals. There are Latin touches in their electric jazz and, although a fusion peg may be stretching it, some nice "lights down low" vibes to go with the progressive interludes. Their chosen moniker is fitting as it adds up to an all around evening of contemporary, instrumental jazz. Cino Grille (Shukla)

SATURDAY 3.16<
Cast Iron Filter / Smokin Grass -- Bluegrass grown with our own warm Carolina sunshine are what Cast Iron Filter play. Their first record hinted at the possibilities and the recent sophomore release shows off the maturing and original bluegrass songs chiseled out by this Davidson-based band. Sure, there are a ton of newgrass bands clogging up the highway, but CIF and Smokin Grass, another jam-grass band smoothing the sound with bits of blues/jazz, should make for a tasty evening of American music. Visulite Theatre (Shukla)

System Conflict / Clout / Oblivion A.D. -- A hard knockin' show featuring System Conflict's CD release. System Conflict is a new band that plays a bit of rap-metal, some straight on metal and plenty of growly hard rock. They've got their heart in the right place but still need to solidify their young sound. Clout has been smackin' heads with their heavy metal riffage for a few years now and continues the quest. Oblivion A.D are a Christian metal band from NC getting a bit of a rep for their Ozzy and Metallica stylings wrapped around spiritual lyrics. The Five L's and maybe another band or two will also play. The Money, Rock Hill (Shukla)

SUNDAY 3.17
311 -- I really wanted to like these guys when they came out, but then they put Shaq in one of their videos and proceeded to make the same album five times and now I could really care less. And these guys rap about "comin' original"? With Hoobastank (are all the good names really taken? And you thought 311 was bad. (Davis)

Now, Tim, I will agree that 311 haven't been able to outdo their first couple of albums but I will, however, give them the benefit of this show, being in the type of setting that suits them best -- small, sweaty and a bit, umm, rustic. Despite a few disappointing records, this should still make for a decent live show. (Lynn Farris). Grady Cole Center *

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