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Music News For the Masses 

Full slate for local bands

The Carolina's Choice Music Showcase will be held on Saturday, June 29 at the National Guard Armory located on Yorkmont Road. The showcase will feature nine area bands and is the brainchild of Joel Shugart Jr. and Allan Starnes. The two recently formed a new business venture called Epicenter Productions and they plan to produce plenty more showcases in the near future. Starnes, who plays in the band System Conflict, says they're planning to go into different cities along the East Coast and set up large festival-type events in hopes of creating a music community. Their next show, the "Ear Ache Music Fest," is scheduled to take place at HammerHeads in Myrtle Beach, SC August 9-10. They've also started booking bands for another festival that'll be held in Charlotte on August 24. For more details on the shows go to www.geocities.com/epicentermusicproductions.

Singer Chris Boone (ex-Jennifer Strip) is back in action with a new group. The new project is called Star Motor Company and their first show is scheduled for Saturday, June 29 at Fat City. Along with Boone, the band features Kenny Kannapolis (ex-Nemo) on guitar and Travis Overcash on drums. Currently the band doesn't have a full-time bassist. In the meantime, Boone's former Jennifer Strip bandmate, Derek Young will perform live with the group. Boone, Kannapolis and Overcash have been writing new material together for a couple of months and they hope to record an EP near the end of summer.

Charlotte has lost another member of its local music scene. Longtime musician and TV show host Ken Linker lost his battle with cancer on Sunday, June 16. For over 30 years, Linker hosted his own variety show, which changed names and channels a few times, but more recently was known as the Ken Linker Variety Show and aired each Friday night on cable channel 18. Randy Travis, who was still going by the name of Randy Traywick at the time, appeared on the show during its long history along with many other soon to be stars. Despite a lengthy health battle, Linker never stopped taping the show, which was mostly devoted to bluegrass, country and gospel music. It's been reported that 12 or more shows remain to be aired. Linker, who was born in Concord, was a unique personality who will truly be missed.

Wil Seabrook is back in town after spending time in Los Angeles recording his upcoming major label debut for Maverick Records. The record has been completed and will probably be released in the fall. Seabrook will spend the summer touring, however, which includes a few shows as an opener for the Dave Matthews Band. He'll be at Amos' Southend on Thursday, June 27. For more info, check out www.wilseabrook.com.

Peralta is performing at the Billboard Alive Latin Showcase in South Beach, Miami this week. The weeklong showcase will feature 10 bands each night and plenty of international record reps should be in attendance. The band will return for a couple of local shows this weekend.

Bassist Jeff Larish has decided to leave Poprocket so he can focus more time and energy to the other band he plays with, Lou Ford. Remaining poprocketeers Jay Garrigan and Shawn Lynch will spend some time doing shows as a two-piece although they do have a new bass player already lined up. Garrigan says the new fella will begin in August once they've finished a new record. The band will be recording at Electromagnetic Radiation Recorders in Winston-Salem next month.

Larish and Lou Ford recently received some favorable press in the New York Times. The band is playing dates with Alejandro Escovedo and music writer Jon Pareles included a paragraph on the band's opening set.

Chris Burris, founding member and bassist for Frocky Jack, has moved out of town and will no longer be playing with the band. No word on a replacement at this time.

Major Nelson was in the studio recently with Jamie Hoover to record five new tunes. They hope to have a release party in August. For more details, check out www.majornelson.com.

Winston-Salem's Evoka Project has been selected to play a date on the Vans Warped Tour "02. The group was selected through the Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands contest, which chose four bands to perform at each different stop on the tour. Asheville band Holiday Rd, Wilmington act The Vivians and Timothy's Weekend will also be appearing at the Charlotte show scheduled for Tuesday, August 6 at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre.

Unknown Hinson is continuing to rub shoulders with country celebs. Earlier this month he performed at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN at "The Marty Stuart Late Night Jam." Along with Unknown, and of course Stuart, the show featured the likes of Travis Tritt, Montgomery Gentry, Connie Smith and Pam Tillis.

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