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WEDNESDAY 2.12

Freebo -- Session man and former bass player for Bonnie Raitt, Freebo recently released a whole disc dedicated to man's best friend, the trusty canine companion. Countrified original stories about dogs, including a cover of Neil Young's "Old King," show off Freebo's folk rock style with a little jazz and R&B thrown in for good measure. Freebo avoids a lapse into total sentimentality with a cut titled "My Dog has Fleas," complete with horns and a rousing backup chorus. His music and lyrics are sincere, especially on the debut record from a few years back. Jim Photoglo is also on the bill. The Evening Muse (Shukla)

THURSDAY 2.13

Hooverfest 2003 -- Jamie Hoover is a member of the smashing Spongetones, record producer with a keen ear, and all-around catalyst for the music biz. Here's a small yet fitting tribute of sorts to Hoover by three bands he has worked with: 4th Ward, Crisis and Major Nelson. All three power pop bands have recently released or have upcoming records produced by Hoover. The resurrected Major Nelson, a pumped up 4th Ward and Crisis deserve bigger local support for their solid yet decidedly non-trendy musical styles. Highlights include Jamie providing MC action. Puckett's Farm Equipment (Shukla)

FRIDAY 2.14

11th Annual Johnson Valentine Bash -- An annual event to benefit the Regional AIDS Interfaith Network (R.A.I.N.), The Johnson Valentine Bash this year features (predictably enough) Chris Johnson's band, Hardcore Lounge, as well as Elevator Action, the great glam-friendly new vehicle for former Borghal Rantipole member Eric Gilstrap. Visulite Theatre (Davis)

Gomachi -- Gomachi's a posse of Winston-Salem arts students playing a fusion of funky, jazzy rock. There are psychedelic instrumentals along with poppy gems and a distinct 70s groove layered over swaying jams. Fat City (Shukla)

Slit Your Wrists for Love -- No, not a Morrissey tribute night, but rather a bunch of local musicians getting together here to cover all sorts of love songs, tainted or otherwise. The night is the brainchild of Kate Felder (who will also perform) and features Joey Stephens of Pyramid, Justin Faircloth of the Houston Brothers, Michael Earle, Kingwood Chen, Vance Carlisle and Jennwood Chen. As with the best singer-songwriter shows, each performer will do a handful of songs, then help provide musical backing for the next guy. And, perhaps, a shoulder to cry on. The Evening Muse (Davis)

SATURDAY 2.15

Bessie Mae's Dream -- The Bessies are set to release a new one, Blind Man Sunset, which ought to please Dead fans and others looking for honest, straightforward jamming over reliable -- if rather wistful -- lyricism. In addition, the master of ceremonies for this record release party will be none other than WNCW's Uncle Dave, host of the "Dead Air" program. Visulite Theatre (Davis)

Captain Easy -- South Carolina's Captain Easy have meticulously evolved their sound into a clean and refreshing kick in the head of pre-packaged alterna-rock. They use stylish keyboards with guitar chops that crunch in the right place and harmonies that salute all the proper modes of classic pop. The good news is they put it all together without sounding dated. Mojo Restaurant & Spirits (Shukla)

Chris Rosser -- Is there an instrument he doesn't play? This Asheville-based performer mixes world rhythms with mountain folk music. The record The Holy Fool features Rosser's musings and talents on guitar, sitar, harmonium, electric piano, accordion, percussion and the kitchen sink. OK, just kidding on the last one, but Rosser brings along the moods of the East stacked on top of folk rhythms and ear-opening tales, all presented in an unassuming manner. Sylvia Theater, York (Shukla)

Hayseed Dixie -- If you've never heard Hayseed Dixie before, allow me to explain. They're for all intents and purposes a straight bluegrass band, and a pretty decent one, I reckon. They're also a sort of tribute act: Their last album consisted solely of bluegrass versions of AC/DC songs. Their new album, Kiss My Grass, is, predictably enough, a collection of Kiss covers. Perhaps it has something to do with the rather lacking original source material (minus the stage effects and makeup, etc.), but the effect doesn't quite work as well this time around. That said, like Kiss, they're probably best seen live. Sylvia Theater, York (Davis)

Paul Thorn -- Thorn, from Tupelo, MS, hasn't taken your normal path to roots music acclaim, unless you count once fighting Roberto "Hands of Stone" Duran normal. His newest album, Mission Temple Fireworks Stand, is Thorn at his best. The record was basically recorded live with minimal overdubs, and the resulting sonic swirl Thorn captured suits his gospel-billy sound rather nicely. Neighborhood Theatre (Davis)

Scott Carpenter & The Real McCoys -- This band from Buffalo kicks up a body shakin' vibe, country rock style. Scorchers, Hank III and other bands come to mind when Carpenter and crew plow raw and energetic rock onto the party. They should warm the crowd up nicely, opening for Lou Ford. Double Door Inn (Shukla)

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