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FRIDAY 1.3
David Childers -- David Childers you probably know of, if you have lived in Charlotte for any period of time and like your songwriting direct, potent, and with a big ol' dose of workingman's sweat (often his own). Not a single verse sounds forced or calculated, much like the guys headlining this show, the Avett Brothers. The two Concord-based brothers play an acoustic amalgam of old-time country and bluegrass, accented by stand-up bass. Those who have seen them know good and well why they don't have a drummer -- he couldn't be heard over the band's own stompin' anyway. Break out the towels. Double Door Inn (Davis)

Four On The Floor -- This rowdy bunch of fellas from just over the state line like their rockabilly a little revved up. They also do a good job of not taking themselves too seriously as the singer likes to run around with props such as a deer head or Johnny Cash mask as he tells Drive By Trucker-type tales (but his aren't nearly as long, and that's a good thing). Makes for a good time and great fit for Derita's little brick honky tonk. Puckett's Farm Equipment (Lynn Farris)

SATURDAY 1.4
Buddy & Julie Miller -- The Millers are as fascinating on stage as off, and that's saying a lot. Guitarist Buddy is probably the premier guitarist in the country today, and wife Julie's soulful emoting will make your heart drop. Together, they perform some of each other's songs, and their harmonies dance like two people in love, each following the other's lead. Which, come to think of it, they are. Buddy's new one Midnight and Lonesome, furthers his standing as one of the finest old-school craftsmen working in songwriting today. Lou Ford opens the show. Neighborhood Theatre (Davis)

Gathering of the Mullets III -- Featuring likeminded pro-mulleteers Ultracyde, Mindspill, Shiver, Djinn, Three Quarters Dead, Sunday Drive, Obey Bizar, Social Outcast and Myndflow (the latest to be inducted into the Mullet Militia). Most of the bands on the bill sort of fit into the Heavy Melody school, though a few -- like local faves Obey Bizar -- place that melody under crushing chord changes and colon-rattling low end. Banding together as the Mullet Militia, they're working on creating their own scene instead of waiting for one to develop. To boot, only a couple of them have hockey hair. Tremont Music Hall (Davis)

Malcolm Holcombe / Kevin Gordon -- Holcombe's one of those songwriters you always get your money's worth with, one way or another. A commanding stage presence, he also has the songs to back it up, and a quick wit to quiet the drunks. He plays a sort of Southern gothic version of the diner blues here, and the result is no less authentic. He was signed to Geffen for awhile, but the suits there thought he was a liability and dropped him. In other news, the 10th-place runner-up on American Idol just got a record deal. (Early Show with Mike Strauss) / A graduate of the University of Iowa (where he studied poetry at the prestigious Iowa Writers' Workshop), Gordon never lost his first love, that of early rock & roll as purveyed by Lewis, Berry, Cochran and Co. I recently had a chance to see him perform in tiny Taylor, MS, and his stripped down band (Kevin, guitar, guy on a snare and cymbal) fit the stripped-down little roadhouse/grocery store to a T, resulting in one of my favorite shows in years. Indeed, Keb' Go' is one of the few songwriters around that understands the maxim that sometimes a writer can say more with what he leaves out than with what he puts in. (Late Show). The Evening Muse (Davis)

WEDNESDAY 1.8
The Lowdown Travelers -- The side project of Lance Wille, perhaps better known in these parts for his work with the band The Unholy Trio (another UT member, Dave Gay, is doing his thing with the band Freakwater), the Lowdown Travelers bring the honk in an unfettered, old-fashioned style that tips its collective hat to the fathers of the style without becoming a nostalgia act. Worth checking out for the alt.inclined. Mojo Restaurant & Spirits (Davis)

Y'allternative Fest -- Big package bill here of some of the younger heavier bands in Charlotte, featuring Fall Too Far, the Amos' favorite Extra Medium, Gruv Union, the polished yowl of Ultracyde, and the more hardcore sound of Sckapegoat, who manage to sound pretty cool despite the sort of NuMetal name. Amos' Southend (Davis)

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