Ragweed, Guitar Shorty, and flat pickin'

I’ve never been much for making New Year’s resolutions. I’d much rather set unreasonable goals for myself and them break them all year long. That way I get to feel like I let myself down all year, not just one time. I did, however, make one resolution this year. I resolved to write one column without saying anything snotty or snide. And what better time than the present to knock off my only resolution? So this week’s column will feature no jabs at Albuquerque, club DJs or people who I think are stupid. But don’t worry, I’ll get right back to being an ass next week.

Country rock up-and-comers Cross Canadian Ragweed start off a weekend filled with great live music at Storyville on Friday, Jan. 3. Hailing from Stillwater, Oklahoma, the weedsters play pretty much what you’d expect a band from Oklahoma with a name like that. (Actually the name is a combination of the band members’ last names, but that’s not important now.) The sound is Southern-fried, but it rocks plenty hard, and the band’s red necks are out for all to see. Yee-haw! This should be a rip-snortin’ good time.

In the wrong hands the blues can be the worst kind of music there is. This is not the case with a man named Guitar Shorty, who will be doing two shows at Scoot ’n Blues on Friday. I have seen Shorty a few times and have always left the club happy. He plays an electric up-tempo set that will, for better or worse, make everyone in the place dance. Have you ever walked by the window of Scoot ‘n Blues when a band is playing? It ain’t always pretty. (I know, I know, the resolution. I’ll have to try again next week.) Guitar Shorty is doing an early show around 5 p.m. and another show later that same night. The early show is free, though, and then you can head up the street for the Ragweed.

If Friday night doesn’t wear you out, then you can head back to Storyville to see Zach Parrish play his brand of smokin’ blues. I have not yet seen Parrish, but several friends whose taste I trust, say his show is a load of fun and he’s an incredible guitar player. Call Storyville for times and prices.

In Santa Fe on Jan. 9, the legendary Arthel “Doc” Watson will be playing at the Lensic Performing Arts Center and the next night at the Hiland Theater in Albuquerque. If you don’t know, Watson has played Appalachian folk music for more than five decades and at 79 is still one of the best flat-pick guitarists I have ever heard. He is touring less and less these days so this could be one of your last chances to see this living legend without having to drive for days.

This Week’s Sign That The End is Near: On Saturday the 4th, ESPN2 will broadcast a high school basketball game featuring phenom LeBron James. This will be only the second time ESPN has broadcast a regular season high school game, the first was a couple of weeks ago when James’ team played the top high school team in the nation. That game was the highest-rated program on ESPN2 EVER! People (ESPN, sportswriters, even me) are making money off a kid who can’t even talk to an agent or sign a shoe deal. Plus, any chance that this kid would’ve gone to college is shot by all this attention. Instead of getting some semblance of an education he’ll be riding the pine for the Memphis Grizzlies for the next two years.

Box Set of the Year: Spinart Records, in conjunction with Cooking Vinyl Records, has released “Cigarettes and Carrot Juice” by Camper Van Beethoven. CVB came out of Santa Cruz, Calif., in the mid-’80s and along with bands like REM, The Replacements, The Minutemen and Husker Du, helped create what would eventually be called “alternative rock.” Best known for the semi-hit “Take the Skinheads Bowling,” it combined ethnic-sounding instrumentals, straight ahead rock and sarcastic lyrics to create a sound that was completely new but instantly likable. CVB released four albums on its own label, Pitch a Tent, and then recorded two more for Warner Brothers. All four of the Pitch a Tent releases are included in the box set (with original art) plus a fifth live disc touches on the highlights of the two major label releases.

Whether you missed Camper Van Beethoven the first time around or your vinyl copies are all scratched and worn, this is a must have. And here’s the kicker: www.spinartrecords.com will ship you the whole thing for 30 bucks. I paid way more in the ’80s when I individually bought them.

If you tell me about it, I can write about it. mpsheahan@yahoo.com





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