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Outformation
Former Widespread Panic lead guitarist, Sam Holt, left Widespread Panic last year to tour with Outformation, the band he formed in 2002 with bassist Grady Upchurch and drummer and singer Lee Schwartz. The Atlanta based band now also includes keyboardist C.R. Gruver and percussionist Jeff “Birddog” Lane. Outformation had a big year last year, playing SXSW, Wakarusa, High Sierra and 10KLF and released their second album, “Traveler’s Rest.” Outformation will play George’s this Friday night.

3 Penny Acre
Fayetteville’s new roots music group, 3 Penny Acre, will debut at GoodFolk on Block Street in downtown Fayetteville at 8 p.m. Friday. 3 Penny Acre band members have played in local bands such as Wildwood, Grandpa’s Goodtime Fandango, The Wildebees, Charliehorse, the Sarah Hughes Band and the Shannon Wurst Band. The group is made up of Cody Russell on banjo and dobro; Bernice Hembree on upright bass and vocals; Bryan Hembree on guitar, mandolin and vocals; Bayard Blain on mandolin, guitar and vocals; and Shannon Wurst on guitar and vocals. A $10 suggested donation gets you an evening of four part harmonies mixed with exceptional songwriting and tasteful instrumentation. If you’re a fan of bluegrass, folk or acoustic music, don’t miss this full moon show.

Mike Blackwell
Fayetteville songwriter Mike Blackwell will host a CD release party at 8 p.m. -hooray an early show-Tuesday night at the OPO in the basement of the Urban Table on the Fayetteville Square.

Blackwell came to NWA about four years ago and began studying English at the University of Arkansas. He met opera standout Ember Lanuti in math class at the university, and next, as Blackwell says on his website, they began “singing beautiful duets together about polynomials and functions.”

Blackwell is such a clever writer that instead of telling you more, we’re just going to quote from his website:

I am a folk songwriter hiding out in the hills of the Ozarks. In 1999 I joined the Navy and rode around the world for a few years.

In 2003, a few months after the start of the Iraq War I declined re-enlistment and was given my Navy Achievement Medal along with an honorary discharge and sent home. Determined to be more assertive with my songwriting I moved to Texas and met a man named Bill, with one real leg. He said he knew Troy Aikman. Anyway, I also wrote political songs (some of which will be featured in a future album).

I campaigned for Howard Dean and that summer I played the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival. In 2004 I moved to Oklahoma and fell asleep at the wheel with my cruise on while driving 80 on I-35 North into OKC. I didn’t get scared, but the guy behind me freaked. I also took a road trip through the desert that year and went alien hunting in Roswell.

Joining Blackwell at the OPO will be another Fayetteville songwriter, David Singleton. You can also catch them Friday and Saturday night at the Cat House Lounge in Eureka Springs.

Split Lip Rayfield and My-Tea Kind
Get warmed up for Wakarusa next Thursday night, Mar. 27, when Split Lip Rayfield and My-Tea Kind hit George’s. Split Lip Rayfield, the Midwestern bluegrass-to-the-max outfit has been building a devoted fanbase in NWA for a number of years now. After the band’s guitarist and songwriter Kirk Rundstrom lost his battle with cancer in February of last year, the band took a six-month break before coming back to the stage strong and steady. For next Thursday night’s show at George’s they will be sharing the bill with Oklahoma jam folk band, My-Tea Kind led by the lovely Bonnie Paine on vocals and washboard. Think the Jefferson Airplane 35 years later.

Congratulations
A big congratulations goes out to Mattie Speece and Pat Villines of Newton County, and David Farley from Siloam Springs, for taking second place on NPR’s “A Prairie Home Companion’s” talent contest last week. Hooray for Ozark music.

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