Five for February: Country acts comin' our way

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The second month of the new year is now well underway, and brings us five opportunities to see five national country acts at five different venues. The first and last artists of the month I can firmly get behind. I'd bet my credibility and my horse, noting I do not own a horse, that these two shows will be do-not-miss events. The three sandwiched between? Um... go because they might be kinda funny. You've never seen a country show at the Fine Line, right? And the Medina - I'll bet your parents hang out there. Why not spend a night with them seeing a very respectable country artist? And a band whose only big hit was about their affection for beer guts...on women? They're playing the Cabooze.

Pretty sure your interest has been piqued by that one.

Rosanne Cash, Monday 2/8 7:30, Guthrie Theater, $45/65

Rosanne Cash's new album, The List, has been a work-in-progress since 1973, a handful of years before she released her first self-titled album or had a number-one hit with Seven Year Ache. You ever had a friend who's looked through your music collection, then aghast sighed, "You don't own this album? You don't have anything by so-and-so?" Irritating, ain't it? But I suppose just how irritating depends upon who that friend is. And you don't turn down musical recommendations from Johnny Cash, even if he is just your stupid dad. More than 30 years ago, Johnny Cash suggested his daughter check out music by Jimmie Rodgers, The Carter Family, Don Gibson, Ray Price, Lefty Frizzell, Patsy Cline, Bob Dylan and Peter, Paul and Mary, and she's now compiled these works on The List, featuring guest appearances by the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Jeff Tweedy and Rufus Wainwright. Expect to hear this and other country and folk classics at her Monday Guthrie appearance.

Jack Ingram, Sunday 2/14 7:00, Fine Line Music Cafe, $15/18


I'd be a little white-liar if I didn't admit that I bopped my head to this song once or twice last summer. Jack Ingram's second top-ten hit (following a number-one single back in '05) is your usual contemporary country ode to summer fun. Almost every frosted-and-styled country dude has one. You wanna hear what Top-40 country finds palatable these days? Check him out later this month at the Fine Line.

Trailer Choir, Thursday 2/18 8:00, The Cabooze, $14/17


Their stage names are Big Vinny, Crystal and Butter. They're signed to Toby Keith's record label. They also have a song called "Off the Hillbilly Hook," recorded for the soundtrack to Keith's film Beer for My Horses. They sound to me like Weird Al singing with Smash Mouth. Sweet Jesus. Well, maybe their show at The Cabooze would be an interesting place to pick up dudes. I'm always up for "interesting" experiences.

John Anderson, Saturday 2/20 7:30, Medina Entertainment Center, $22/30

John Anderson has a really, really weird voice. He hasn't made it to the top of the country charts since the early 90s, which is too bad because, like I said, he has a really weird voice, but prior to that put out some great radio hits like "Seminole Wind" and "Swingin'" (above). Also check out "Straight Tequila Night," a somber tune about a woman it's okay to hit on in the bar when she's drinkin' chablis, but don't ask to dance on a straight tequila night, as it reminds her of, you know, "him," and then she'll be ready to fight. I like it. Get a li'l tequila drunk and check him out at the Medina.

Justin Townes Earle, Thursday 2/25 8:00, Turf Club, $12/14


Starting and ending the month out with a little nepotism. Naw, just kiddin'. That would imply Rosanne Cash and Justin Townes Earle's acclaim was not deserved. Earle's one namesake, and also the other, are both apt; he sounds a little like his father Steve Earle, and a little like the man after whom he's named, Townes Van Zandt. And that ain't a bad thing. Named Emerging Artist of the Year at the American Music Awards in 2009, the Turf's probably just about the most ideal place in town you could see this guy.


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