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Highlights – Earl and Ernie Cate with the XNA Allstars, The Coal Men, Karrin Allyson and More

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January 24-31

Starlight Jazz
Jazz vocalist Karrin Allyson will perform two shows at the Walton Arts Center’s intimate Starr theater Friday night. Allyson’s career has been on a steady upward arc since her first recording, I Didn’t Know About You in 1992 won her acclaim in the annual Downbeat Reader’s Poll, landing her alongside names like Ella Fitzgerald and Shirley Horn. Allyson performs all of the facets of modern jazz and classic bebop with a talent for scat and vocalese. She also sings in French, Spanish, and Portuguese, displaying a talent for French cabaret songs and Brazilian bossa numbers. Allyson studied classical piano in college and eventually answered a call from her uncle who owned a jazz club in downtown Kansas City. “My father and grandfather talked him into giving me a test job, and I ended up moving there,” Allyson said. Kansas City was where she met the musicians she still works with, and who will accompany her at the WAC show, bassist Bob Bowman, guitarist Rod Fleeman, and drummer Todd Strait. Allyson was a fixture as a Kansas City bandleader, until she relocating to New York City in 2000. The New York Times called her “One of the most charismatic figures on tour today.” Shows at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Tickets $12 to $28.

The Coal Men and more

Emerging alt-country jam outfit The Coal Men from Nashville will pay a visit to George’s on Sunday night, which should be just the ticket for making the most of that last breath of weekend air. The Coal Men are a Music City favorite. Their toned down intelligent playing, should please Sol Volt and Wilco fans. Led by singer, guitarist and songwriter Dave Coleman, the original band was a trio made up of drummer Dave Ray and bassist Hitch Hitchcock. But the band has grown to include Chris Frame (Son Volt) on guitar and Jen Gunderman (The Jayhawks, Dag) on keyboards. The Coal Men’s second album “Beauty Is a Moment” was mostly written by Coleman, who co-wrote some of the songs with Mark Winchester (Brian Setzer Orchestra, Emmylou Harris), Milan Miller (The Wrights, Jubal Foster), Carter Little (Saddlesong) and Robert Reynolds (The Mavericks).

Notes on a couple of other shows: The touring madman Jerry Joseph (Stockholm Syndrome, The Jackmormons) will be at George’s on Tuesday night. The Portland (Oregon) singer songwriter is always worth the time. And, as you probably know, the upcoming Foo Fighters and Indigo Girls shows are sold out. If you missed out, all we can do is recommend standing outside the gates and hoping that someone has tickets to sell.

Earl and Ernie Cate and the XNA Allstars

What would it take to get you out of the house on these frigid nights? The Cate Brothers, you say? You got it. Although the Cate Brothers Band went into semi-retirement last year, Earl and Ernie Cate recently joined with Mark Risk’s Swingin’ Door Records to produce a first rate studio album called the XNA Allstars that features Ernie, Earl and a talented cast of other NWA players. There will be a CD release party and performance by the Allstars Friday night at the Dickson Theater.

Joining the Cate’s in the Allstars is Cate Brothers Band saxophonist Dave Renko; Dawn Cate, Earl’s daughter and lead singer of Earl’s Garage; guitarist Jimmy Thackery; singer Karen FitzPatrick of The Ariels;  drummer Tony Walker; and the only out-of-area player bassist and singer Corey Duplechin. Fred Tackett of Little Feat, who divides his time between Eureka Springs and Los Angeles, sat in on mandolin for one song on the CD. The CD is a compilation of rock and R&B classics like “Talk to Your Daughter,” “Nature’s Way,” and “Superstition,” plus never-before-released originals by the Cate brothers and FitzPatrick.

“The players laid down some wonderful music, magical at times.” Risk said. The CD was recorded and mixed at Eric Schabacker’s Winterwood Recording Studio on Beaver Lake. Risk says the live show will have some added zest. “This band is a studio thing, primarily. It’s a rare opportunity to hear them and their special guests perform live.”

The band will have a second CD release party Saturday night at the Basin Park Hotel Ballroom in Eureka Springs. Both shows start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 and are available at the Dickson Theater or at www.swingindoorrecords. A limited number of reserved tables are available.

The XNA Allstars CD can be purchased at the release parties, at area retailers or at www.swingindoorrecords.com.

Art Expo NWA
The Legacy Building, the large multi-story structure that towers over Dickson Street from the north, will be the site for Art Expo NWA Friday night at 7. Local artists Lisa Bauer, Nathan Beatty, Harry McDermott and Light Starr will be the featured artists with musicians Walter Savage, Darren Novotney, Matt Smith and George Mason keeping things lively.

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