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Highlights – Jazz Up Eureka, Fred Eaglesmith, Math Rock triple bill

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Jazz Up Eureka
Eureka Springs is gearing up for spring in a musical way with a new four-day jazz festival, Jazz Up Eureka, which opens Wednesday and runs through March 24. The PaperMoon Attractions team who has been bringing some big acts—including several Celtic groups—to the Victorian village, is producing the festival. The festival will bring four nights of smooth jazz cabarets and concerts to The Auditorium and to underground Eureka.

This Wednesday night, a launch party with music by Little Rock’s Wine and Roses, will kick off the event in “underground Eureka,” the downstairs of The Auditorium, a room that just opened up for public events in the past year and is called The Gem. It’s a cool spot and accommodates cabaret seating. Tickets to this “after-five attire” event are $35.

The lineup for the rest of the fest: March 22: The legendary Chuck Cissel and Pat Moore & Co. from Tulsa; March 23: Tulsa’s hot young jazz cat Grady Nichols with Moment’s Notice; March 24: Rebecca Ungerman and John Sawyer with the Frank Brown Trio.

The Thursday and Friday shows will be in the main hall of The Auditorium and the Saturday show in The Gem. Tickets for each night are $25 or a “Jazz Pass” is available for $60 all three nights.

This is a great time to spend a weekend in Eureka. Although some of the grand hotels are a little pricey, your can find rooms for less than $50. Check out www.eurekasprings.com for rates. For tickets to jazz fest call 479-363-0363.

Fred Eaglesmith at GoodFolk

There’s just something about Fred. Singer songwriter rockers come and go, but Canada’s Fred Eaglesmith just keeps tearing up the road taking his music to all corners of the North American continent, going through busses like pencil erasers and then selling the funky hulks on his website. Ya just gotta love a musician who sells everything from western shirts to busses on a web auction he calls Big Ass Garage Sale.

Although he looks like he might have just finished a cattle roundup, or crawled out from under the hood of one of his busses, Eaglesmith’s songs bear strong witness to the familiar emotions of a jilted lover or a screwed up situation. Under the somewhat gruff exterior lies a man of compassion. While some musicians “give back” through compelling lyrics about this or that issue, Eaglesmith goes a step further. He founded the Reflections project to help keep migrant workers in Southern Ontario safe by providing reflectors for their bicycles. He started Reflections after a number of migrant workers on bicycles were killed when they were hit by automobiles.

Eaglesmith’s songs traipse from tales of tired cowboys, good and bad women, Friday night criminals and everything in between. He has said: “I think the bottom of the barrel is where the answers are.”

His songwriting talent has been noticed by the likes of Cowboy Junkies who have recorded some Eaglesmith numbers and Martin Scorsese who has used some of Eaglesmith’s songs in his films. Eaglesmith holds a Juno (the Canadian equivalent of a Grammy) and is up for a 2007 Juno.

Eaglesmith and his band put on a rockin’ show that’s full of fun. Catch them Friday night at GoodFolk in Fayetteville. Call 521-1812 for tickets.

Tonight at George’s
Two top notch acts will be coming to George’s tonight—the popular Jason Boland and the Stragglers and the rising star who we haven’t seen in F’ville for awhile, Adam Hood

Northwest Arkansas music fans love Oklahoma’s Jason Boland and The Stragglers and they are not the only ones. The band’s single “Up and Gone” from their latest album “The Bourbon Legend” has zoomed to #9 on the Texas Music Chart. The band puts an edgy spin on songs that are akin to vintage Waylon Jennings and Hank Williams Jr. The group is made up of Roger Ray on pedal steel and guitar; Brad Rice on drums; Grant Tracy on bass; and Noah Jeffries on banjo, mandolin and guitar. Red Dirt music at its best.

Alabama singer songwriter Adam Hood is a guy on his way up and deservedly so. He’ll play George’s before heading to the East Coast next month where he’ll open for American Idol Taylor Hicks and also be the opening act for a number of Leon Russell shows, including a show at B.B. King’s in NYC.

Triple bill at DT

The Dickson Theater has started to host some weekday shows that should end the yearning of music fans that are missing the old JR’s. Joining new local prog rock band The Counterlife on Tuesday night at the DT will be West Coast band Theses Arms are Snakes and Chicago’s Maps & Atlases. The Countlife (Roger Barrett, Chris Byrne, Michael Edward and Joe Vinnola) made their debut at the Aqueduct at the DT earlier this week. These Arms Are Snakes puts out a hardcore, yet melodic mix and in their short lifetime have already scored the honor of Best Punk/Hardcore band in the Seattle Weekly music awards. Rounding out the bill will be unsigned Chicago math rockers Maps & Atlases, which we’d put our money on as soon to be signed.

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