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THURSDAY 2.26
Jerry Douglas -- The undisputed king of the contemporary Dobro, Jerry Douglas has as many chops as a Chicago steakhouse. A bluegrass and new-grass legend, Douglas has appeared on close to 1,000 (!) albums in his career, befitting his virtuoso status. However, I prefer him best on his latter-day solo work, which, while lacking the frets-on-fire verve of his early stuff, manages to seem even more impressive via the whole "addition by subtraction" thing. We've all seen people in cheesy blooze bands rip off a blazing run of bottleneck slide. Douglas, like a good author, knows what's left out is just as important. Neighborhood Theatre (Davis)

Jupiter Coyote -- The five-piece Brevard, NC-based band's eighth release, The Hillary Step, is a two-CD set including a new studio album and a concert DVD recorded at The Windjammer in Charleston, SC, last spring. It's not scheduled for official release until March 23, but the band is selling copies at their shows and on their web site now. Together for almost 13 years, JC's sound has been called "mountain rock," with its roots in bluegrass, country and roots rock. Buckhead Saloon (Schacht)

FRIDAY 2.27
Gigi Dover -- Dover continues her personal musical journey, which has included a stint with the Rank Outsiders, a duo setting with Bill Noonan, and of course her solo work. This show is the CD release of her new, self-titled disc that offers a batch of tunes featuring another local music stalwart, Eric Lovell. The multi-instrumentalist helps flesh out the sound with guitars, sitar and more. It's a mesh of country, folk and pop inlaid with Dover's Linda Ronstadt-styled vocals. The album was recorded at Garry Tallent's Moondog Studio in Nashville (Tallent is the bassist for Springsteen's E Street Band), and he lent a hand here on bass. Country traditionalist Jim Lauderdale chimes in with added background vocals. The disc features almost all Dover originals, with the exceptions of an aching version of "Ode to Billy Joe" and a bluesy tune called "Why." Dover is an artist with a dozen-plus years in the region, which continues to benefit from her on-going musical maturity. Maybe now a national spotlight will shine down on her deserving work. Visulite Theatre (Shukla)

Lee Burridge -- Charlotte's a long way from the premiere underground clubs of Hong Kong, full-moon parties in Ko Pha Ngan, and the Tyrant residency in London's posh Fabric, but in the US scheme of things this is a Southeastern showcase gig. He's got a recent release in the new Global Underground series, 24:7, and Burridge's signature mix of house and break beats is the calling card he'll most likely leave listeners with this night. It's his third visit to Charlotte, and the Dorset, UK-born DJ calls the sound system he'll be using -- a custom-made, bone-rattling miracle of bass propulsion -- "the best sounding" he's ever played. Tonic (Schacht)

Lizza Connor/Regan -- Winner of the prestigious '03 Merlefest songwriting competition, Ms. Connor has been drawing the kind of attention that past winners Gillian Welch and Tift Merritt received after winning the coveted title. Her style is less traditional than Welch's and not as country as Merritt's, but her brand new release, Runaway, is a polished debut for the 25-year-old, and includes touches of gospel, Celtic, country and folk./Regan started her musical career at the age of 14, and her singing style has been compared to both Rickie Lee Jones and Cheryl Crow, which, frankly, is a pretty wide range of styles to straddle. Hailing from the fecund Richmond, VA, music scene, she's worked with David Lowery, which must be a city ordinance by now. The Evening Muse (Schacht)

SATURDAY 2.28
Leon Russell -- With a ridiculously prolific career behind him, both as a solo artist and as a sideman with such Rock & Roll Rushmore-types as Jerry Lee Lewis, the Rolling Stones, Phil Spector and Willie Nelson, the 58-year-old can't really be blamed for taking it easy these days and leaving much of the work to his younger band. But that doesn't excuse drek like '02s Moonlight & Love Songs, a schmaltz-fest devoid of the swamp-boogie that once defined the Leon Russell sound. Hopefully live, Russell and the band will delve deeper into his voluminous songbook. Neighborhood Theatre (Schacht)

Lucy Kaplansky -- Singer/songwriters must be able to engage their listeners' emotions -- comfort, strength or sadness, for instance -- through their words, and that's where the good ones stand above the crowd. If the music is average, the words have to lead the way. Although Kaplansky's music isn't weak, overall, it becomes kind of average on occasion in her light folk-rock realm. But you can almost always count on her wordplay, which is usually topped off with heartfelt refrains. Great Aunt Stella Center (Shukla)

THE HUSBIANS -- Comprised of Fred Hutchinson (ex-Pigfucker), Rick Randall (Alternative Champs), Steve Pusser, and new drummer Dave Wainer (Japan Air), the Husbians used to be a pretty big deal in these parts, and for good reason -- their thinking man's hard rock was rather revolutionary in an era when most local bands were content to drag the waters of grunge and chase major label record deals. For those that remember Hutchinson's work in PF, imagine that band on Vicodin. Like Semi-Pro, who is also on this bill, The Husbians always manage to serve the melody first, and their Lord Satan second. Recommended. The Room (Davis)

The Nighthawks -- For 25 years, The Nighthawks have performed...and performed...and performed. The DC-based road warriors usually play close to 300 club dates a year, all chockfull of the rocka-blues-soul-billy concoction which regulars still flock to like a 50-cent draft. Harpist Mark Wenner is still in charge, and while the lineup has changed around a bit (currently a four-piece, I'm told), the sound is as confident, unique and catchy as it's always been. Truth be told, when I think of the Double Door Inn, I think of these guys as something like the touring house band: There's not a whit of pretension, they run their band like a well-oiled machine, and they're guaranteed to put a smile on your face (or some sweat, at bare minimum). Double Door Inn (Davis)

The Von Bondies -- Probably best known in mainstream America for the black eye Jack White gave head Von Bondie Jason Stollsteimer, the Von Bondies ought to be known for their red-blooded take on melodic Motown garage. Pawn Shoppe Heart, the band's major label debut on Reprise/Sire, shouldn't disappoint longtime fans of the band, and might even gain them a few converts in the process. I'm not predicting Nevermind-like success, mind you, but the music's Jerry Harrison-produced mix of feedback and foreplay is rather similar. Perhaps White, formerly a friend of the band, sort of helped his old buddy out with the face-Jacking -- the Bondies have been written up in every magazine except Cat Fancy over the last month or so. Let's just thank our lucky stars Stollsteimer didn't put pictures of it all on the Internet like Mr. Zellweger. Tremont Music Hall (Davis)

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