Live Review: Brent Cobb in Charlotte

Georgia native Brent Cobb captivated the Queen City on Friday night…

Brent Cobb has recently been making the rounds throughout North Carolina with stops in Asheville and Raleigh, prior to his show on Friday night at the Neighborhood Theatre in Charlotte. It was the last of his local dates before a spring spent mostly on the west coast touring prior to joining up with Chris Stapleton on his All American Road Show, traveling throughout the country. Once he does, even more people will get to witness the magical sound that immediately connects with listeners in a small venue but remains capable of translating to stadiums and amphitheaters.

In a world where every artist attempts to separate themselves from the next, whether by sound or unique instrumentation, Cobb achieves both. Immediately, his voice is recognizable no matter the song being played, while his use of the guitar keeps the momentum going with a solid sound.

Cobb took the stage at Neighborhood Theatre in front of a good crowd with many who were there to sing along. Word for word, a majority of the audience was ready for “Diggin’ Holes,” “Down Home” and “South of Atlanta,” despite some in attendance who needed a lesson in concert etiquette from American Aquarium front-man and North Carolina’s own BJ Barham.

Regardless of the unnecessary chatter taking place, Cobb declared that while he normally prefers to tell tales, he would instead stick to the music in an effort to fit as many songs into his two-hour set as possible. The time passed quickly as another highlight included the tribute song for Wayne Mills when “The King of Alabama” and our very own Tuesday Tune of the week, “Ain’t A Road Too Long” were played.

Overall, an exciting show with a receptive Charlotte crowd who was familiar with Cobb’s music because once he graces stages across America prior to Stapleton, his stock is only going to rise. For those in attendance on Friday night and in audiences recently throughout North Carolina, remember your time well spent when friends ask you about him in October, following dates with Stapleton in Raleigh and Charlotte.

You had a chance to witness his musical mastery in an intimate setting and while it may briefly continue, once more individuals are exposed to his relatable lyrics, then the opportunities similar to what Charlotte experienced on Friday night will diminish.

Cobb is on the rise and we are thankful he chose to spend multiple dates within his northeast neighbor before moving on across the country. See you again soon and while we’ll always be thankful for choosing the smaller venues, we’ll simultaneously appreciate your continued rise to whatever the future has in store.

Red Dirt NC: Weekend Watch, April 5-7

The weekend starts a day early this week with a Thursday night show in Charlotte…

April is here and as the weather warms up so too is the concert calendar across North Carolina. This weekend is highlighted by another visit from a Texas artist in addition to an album release party from one of North Carolina’s own.

Kicking off an epic tour, Sarah Shook and the Disarmers are definitely a band you do not want to miss. On the rise, “Years” the groups second album arrives on Friday. In addition, there are a variety of other options available for your listening pleasure and many groups have two dates, so you don’t have to worry about making any difficult decisions – simply go to shows both nights – or all three if you start early.

There are plenty of options to choose from, so get out and support live music this weekend in North Carolina!

THURSDAY – APRIL 5, 2018

Travis Meadows – Puckett’s Farm Equipment, Charlotte

Meadows isn’t just waxing poetic about the perks of self-acceptance. The 52-year-old has clawed his way to the peace he’s found, and his willingness to map that journey through his songs has saved more lives than his own. On his anxiously awaited new album First Cigarette, Meadows proves once again that when he sings the truth he’s living, he can set us all free. “I’ve always put secrets in my records, but I had this ring of fire that nobody could get in––a defense mechanism from my childhood. Nobody gets too close,” he says. “I think this record is a way of me letting people in a little more, inside the ring of fire.”

Jack Ingram – Puckett’s Farm Equipment, Charlotte

Throughout a recording career that has spanned more than 20 years, Jack Ingram has maintained a reputation for uncompromising, personally charged song craft and energetic, charismatic performances, earning him prominent stature in a prestigious tradition of iconoclastic singer-songwriters. Ingram’s prior work has won him a fiercely devoted fan base as well as reams of critical acclaim, and now Midnight Motel marks a creative milestone for the veteran artist, his sound ever evolving while showcasing some of his most expressive, emotionally raw songwriting to date.

FRIDAY – APRIL 6, 2018

Sarah Shook and the Disarmers – Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro

When Sidelong, Sarah Shook & the Disarmers’ debut album, was released in early 2017, it quickly earned kudos for its blast of fresh, fierce honesty and sly wit. It was a welcome new voice in a genre too often mired in the staid and conventional. And while that record may have come to many as a surprise, 2018’s follow-up, Years, solidifies the point: Sarah Shook & the Disarmers have moved from getting people’s attention to commanding it.

Scooter Brown Band – Annex Plaza, Winston-Salem

After 4 years and 3 months, 2 tours overseas with 1 tour of combat in Iraq as a United States Marine, Scott Brown traded his guns in for guitars and hit the road. The Scooter Brown Band was formed in 2005 and played mainly in and around Houston, Texas. It wasn’t until 2009 with the release of their first studio album, “Between Hell & Texas,” that they gained a notable presence in the Texas music scene.

SATURDAY – APRIL 7, 2018

Steve Hartsoe – Motorco Music Hall, Durham

For this veteran rocker, a former AP journalist and college pitcher turned husband and father, that all-in conviction is an audible thread running through the 15 tracks on the Raleigh, N.C., artist’s latest indie release, “The Big Fix-Deluxe Edition,” released Dec. 1, 2017. After almost two decades removed from writing, recording and performing his own songs, Hartsoe is again singing about the daily of life — its troubles, joys and all the in-between. But this time he has a lot more life experience to sing about.

Chris Knight – Motorco Music Hall, Durham

Kentucky based singer-songwriter with a rich history in both although he didn’t start performing until he was 30 years old. Now a popular name in Americana music, Knight has released multiple albums in his career.

Sarah Shook and the Disarmers – Neighborhood Theatre, Charlotte

Another opportunity to celebrate the release of Years.

Scooter Brown Band – Crown Theatre, Fayetteville

A second chance to see them this weekend.


Enjoy the shows, take advantage and keep spreading the love, one song at a time…

Sarah Shook and the Disarmers: Years in the Making

Sarah Shook and the Disarmers new album, “Years” is set for release this Friday…

Sarah Shook wasn’t born in North Carolina but after moving to the state at 19 years old has spent the majority of her adult life here. The lead singer has been on a musical journey since beginning her first band in 2010, Sarah Shook and the Devil.

After disbanding, Sarah Shook and the Dirty Hands were formed and relatively short lived in 2013, before the now well known Sarah Shook and the Disarmers came into being late that same year.

The group put out their first record, “Sidelong”, in October of 2015 and after signing with Bloodshot Records, the re-release early last year put Shook and her band into the spotlight for new country and Americana artists to watch.

Over the past year, Shook has been touring all over with recent stops at South by Southwest in Austin and in the southeast with Nikki Lane. She returns to North Carolina this Friday for an album release show at Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro.

Sarah Shook and the Disarmers "Years" album cover

Sarah Shook and the Disarmers “Years” album cover

“Years,” the bands’ second album, has been described as a “record about finding a way. A way through exhaustion, frustration, betrayal, hangover after hangover, upper after downer after upper, fight after never-ending fight. It’s about picking yourself and dusting yourself off after years of being trampled and beaten down, jutting your chin out, head high, after they’ve done their worst, and saying ‘Still here.’” by Shook herself.

The Disarmers also benefited from another North Carolina band dissolution as former American Aquarium drummer Kevin McClain recently came on board. McClain is no stranger to touring, traveling with his former group for many years and fits perfectly into Shook’s band with his own unique style on the drum kit.

Following the album release party on Friday night, Shook and the Disarmers will visit Neighborhood Theater in Charlotte as they begin a 14 state tour through the end of May, before boarding a plane to Sweden.

Once there, the band will play multiple shows across the country and into Norway before a grand finale at the Stockholm Americana Festival on Saturday, June 16.

Years in the making, “Years” should only serve to further the rise of Sarah Shook and the Disarmers into the future.

Live Review: Sunny Sweeney in Charlotte

Charlotte definitely “got Sweenered” on Saturday night at Puckett’s Farm Equipment…

Sunny Sweeney? Never heard of him. A funny line for those who have been following Sweeney for sometime as the play on her name often elicits thoughts of an outlaw, independent artist writing about drinking, drugs and partying. Sweeney does all of the above and can entertain with the best of artists, proving it on Saturday night at Puckett’s Farm Equipment in Charlotte in front of a sold out crowd.

North Carolina native Jonathan Parker got the night started with an hour long set of original songs and an homage to Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson with “Mama Tried” and “Shotgun Willie,” respectively. A perfect start to the night ahead, opening for Sweeney who arrived in Charlotte just hours before her scheduled set.

Sweeney took to the stage and immediately garnered the crowd’s attention, which she wouldn’t relinquish all night. Telling tales behind a few songs including an embarrassing story of meeting country superstar, Vince Gill, before she was invited to spend some time writing at his cabin just outside of Nashville. Describing her first two encounters in nervous context then coming full circle with Gill taking Sweeney and her band out to breakfast just a few days ago.

From “Trophy,” the title track off of Sweeney’s latest album to older hits like “From A Table Away” and “Drink Myself Single,” the Texas singer was entertaining and thoroughly impressed with the crowd singing right along with her word for word. She introduced some new music with “You Can Tie Me Up (but You Can’t Tie Me Down),” which was not a favorite of her mother’s according to Sweeney but better than the cleverly named “Whiskey Richard”.

From the stage Sweeney recognized a number of fans in attendance with shirts or hats supporting her friends Cody Jinks and Ward Davis, who she has been recently on tour with in the southeast and has a few more upcoming dates with the addition of Tennessee Jet, though not here in North Carolina.

Although the capacity crowd was guaranteed a return from Sweeney, who genuinely seemed taken aback by those in attendance, at one point saying, “how do ya’ll know this?”.

Sunny Sweeney? Never heard of him.

Yes we have and if you recognize the names Jinks and Davis but not Sweeney then do yourself a favor and immediately acquire all of her albums. One of the most talented and entertaining singer/songwriters in the business with abundant success and a commitment to independent Texas country.

Expect another North Carolina date in her future and you too can sing along when she returns.

Red Dirt NC: Weekend Watch, March 30-31

You can’t go wrong this weekend, no matter which show you decide to attend…

After two relatively slow weekends for live music, March is going out like a lion with a wealth of opportunity. While a majority of the shows are located in the state’s capital, options remain available in western and central North Carolina.

Two rare shows are happening with visits from Texas native Sunny Sweeney and Georgia artist Brent Cobb. Both songwriters have enjoyed success on various levels while maintaining a commitment to quality music.

Opening for Sweeney will be North Carolina’s own Jonathan Parker, one of many native artists performing this weekend so get out and enjoy a live show from potentially local talent!

FRIDAY – MARCH 30, 2018

Pistol Hill – Shooters Lounge, Hickory

Independent and traditional country music. Emerging local artists within the genre featuring both original songs and covers from some of your favorite individuals and bands.

Brent Cobb – The Pour House, Raleigh

Brent Cobb didn’t set out to write an album that feels and sounds like the place he grew up. But now that the grooves have been cut in his debut LP, Shine on Rainy Day, there’s no denying the people, the places and the vibe of his southcentral Georgia home infuse almost every song.

Nathan Kornegay – Deep South Bar, Raleigh

“Singer/Songwriter based in Raleigh. Influenced by great songwriters like Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, Jason Isbell, and Ryan Adams.”

Steve Hartsoe – Deep South Bar, Raleigh

For this veteran rocker, a former AP journalist and college pitcher turned husband and father, that all-in conviction is an audible thread running through the 15 tracks on the Raleigh, N.C., artist’s latest indie release, “The Big Fix-Deluxe Edition,” released Dec. 1, 2017. After almost two decades removed from writing, recording and performing his own songs, Hartsoe is again singing about the daily of life — its troubles, joys and all the in-between. But this time he has a lot more life experience to sing about.

SATURDAY – MARCH 31, 2018

The Black Lillies – The Ramkat, Winston-Salem

The Black Lillies have never backed down from a challenge: proudly independent since their formation, they are always pushing forward and evolving, letting the inspiration and music take focus. That drive has led them to become one of Americana’s biggest success stories: an internationally-renowned band of roots-rockers, armed with songs that blur the boundaries between folk, soul, red dirt country, blues and rock.

Sunny Sweeney – Puckett’s Farm Equipment, Charlotte

Sunny Sweeney is the party and the morning after. She’s the quip that makes you laugh and the truth that makes you cry, the devil that’s egging you on and the angel whispering that you aren’t alone. But those compelling contradictions aren’t what’s most interesting about Sweeney: it’s the depth and brazen authenticity she brings to all her roles that grabs you and won’t let go.

Enjoy the Easter holiday weekend with some live music and keep spreading the love, one song at a time…

Sunny Sweeney: Real Raw Emotion

Sunny Sweeney released her fourth album, “Trophy” one year ago and the world is better for it…

Sunny Sweeney manages to tell stories on opposite ends of the emotional spectrum with absolute attention to detail, while conveying her lyrics into real feelings for her listeners. For whatever mood you find yourself in there’s a Sunny Sweeney song to lean on for relation.

Ready to party, there’s a song for that. Feeling down, pick one because there’s plenty. Drinking, covered. Scorned, also covered. Depressed, she’s got you. In ‘Bottle by My Bed,’ Sweeney breaches a topic that’s not only rarely discussed in the open but there it is on her latest album for all the world to hear.

Trophy,” which was released just over a year ago this March is full of emotion and has brought Sweeney many new fans. Touring across the country with live performances in a variety of venues and countless miles covered, Sweeney continues to build her fan base by taking her music to the masses.

Sweeney told Rolling Stone last year about her willingness and openness for hitting all topics to which anyone can relate.

“Anybody that knows anything about my music knows I don’t necessarily shy away from subjects. I want to think that this is just an extension of that. It’s where I am and what I’m going through and there are other people going through these things as well: Wanting their marriage to be perfect, struggling with this or that. That’s what life is. Each record answers a little question for the time in your life where you are.”

Sweeney feels it’s her job as a writer to evoke emotions from those who she seeks to entertain. Whether getting to see her live or just listening in your car, her willingness to draw on those heartfelt emotions and ability to tap into real feelings is apparent.

Beginning with ‘Pass the Pain‘ and through every one of the ten songs which comprise “Trophy“, her mission has been accomplished.

Red Dirt NC: Weekend Watch, March 23-25

Two larger shows highlight the first weekend of spring in the central and eastern portions of the state…

Spring officially started this week although for much of the North Carolina mountains it was welcomed in with snow showers and bitter cold temperatures. Down east things have been a little warmer although the rain continues this weekend.

Hopefully, it won’t keep fans away from the Greenfield Lake Amphitheater where a sold out show awaits. Our other featured show takes place back inland toward the center of the state in Winston-Salem and will be inside.

Get out and enjoy some live music around the state!

FRIDAY – MARCH 23, 2018

No shows listed.

SATURDAY – MARCH 24, 2018

Drive-By Truckers – Greenfield Lake Amphitheater, Wilmington

Drive-By Truckers have always been outspoken, telling a distinctly American story via craft, character, and concept, all backed by sonic ambition and social conscience. Founded in 1996 by singer/songwriter/guitarists Mike Cooley and Patterson Hood, the band have long held a progressive fire in their belly but with AMERICAN BAND, they have made the most explicitly political album in their extraordinary canon. A powerful and legitimately provocative work, hard edged and finely honed, the album is the sound of a truly American Band – a Southern American band – speaking on matters that matter.

Miranda Lambert – Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Winston-Salem

The Living Like Hippies Tour makes a stop in North Carolina with special guests Jon Pardi and Charlie Worsham

SUNDAY – MARCH 25 2018

No shows listed.

Lambert was recently featured as the fourth figure atop the Mount Rushmore of independent country and roots music alongside Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson and Chris Stapleton. Her commitment to the independent scene is undeniable having recently announced the Turnpike Troubadours, Steel Woods, Natalie Hemby and Tenille Townes will be joining her next tour with Little Big Town, and already having other artists like Sunny Sweeney join her on stage.

Enjoy the weekend, take advantage and keep spreading the love, one song at a time…

Live Review: Corey Hunt Band in Granite Falls

With an acoustic set, Corey Hunt entertained a midweek crowd at Granite Falls Brewery on Wednesday night…

A recent six song EP release from Corey Hunt Band called “North of Low Water” has the frontman and his right hand band member, Eric Wise, touring here, in Texas and across the southeast all spring. After opening for Eli Young Band in Greensboro, hosting a show in his hometown of Asheboro and kicking off a tour of Texas last weekend with events in Dallas, Houston and San Angelo, the resident North Carolinian returned home for a midweek gig before hitting the road … again.

The official spring tour features nine performances across the Carolinas, 10 Texas dates and other shows in both Georgia and Alabama through the end of April. Criss-crossing the southeast over the past seven years, the Corey Hunt Band continues to build a loyal fan base who appreciates original song writing and pure musical talent.

On Wednesday night the crowd wasn’t on hand for covers of conveniently packaged radio material but instead present to hear only what Corey Hunt was all about. He impressed with lyrics relaying the every day dealings of life, hardships, heartache and happiness with Wise keeping pace alongside.

Corey Hunt Band

GRANITE FALLS, NC – Corey Hunt Band performs at Granite Falls Brewery on Wednesday – March 21, 2018.

‘Uwharrie River,’ a song off the new EP was a crowd favorite in addition to a song Hunt said he wrote that day behind a rhythmic tune and chorus, ‘Dancing Down the Hall.’ Back in North Carolina for just a few days, Hunt and Wise left their touring van in Texas but will fly back for two more dates this weekend in Fort Worth and San Antonio.

Hunt introduced himself to the crowd with a few poignant words between the second and third songs of his set. A simple name and band introduction followed by breaking the news that if you had previously listened then recognizing his songs would be easy, but if not, then hopefully you’d learn as the night transpired.

As stated, there were no covers and no one cared. His ability to entertain without relying on work by other musicians or stereotypical “crowd pleasers” only further demonstrates the lengths to which Hunt has honed his craft by playing whenever and wherever possible.

It continues to pay off as ‘Hannah Belle’ broke into the Top-50 on Texas regional radio at one point and a few songs from “North of Low Water” have potential to do the same. The relentless touring, interviewing and a sincere appreciation for his fans should keep the Corey Hunt Band momentum building and moving forward throughout the year.

For those who appreciate and are fans of original music – a staple in the Red Dirt, Texas and Americana music scenes – the time is now to broaden your horizons by realizing there is some great music coming from North Carolina originals.

Corey Hunt Band is one of those who has been paving the way for quite some time and will continue to do so well into the future.

Uncle Lucius: One Last Ride

Uncle Lucius will play their final show this coming Friday at Gruene Hall in Texas…

For over a decade, Uncle Lucius has been spreading his unique soul sounds across the country traveling relentlessly from coast to coast and producing four original albums to Keep the Wolves Away. Unfortunately for us fans, since founder and lead singer Kevin Galloway posted a shocking message to Facebook back in September it set the Wheel’s In Motion for a farewell tour.

While it was a somber decree for those wishing There Is No End, Galloway was quick to thank both the fans and his band for a decade of support but simply stated the he, “is moving on.” Whatever is next in store for him and the members of Uncle Lucius, they are sure to be successful in No Time Flat after displaying a resilient work ethic with no Willing Wasted Time and commitment to their craft for such a long period. We Don’t Own the Right to question his decision as it is surely in the best interest of those with the closest ties to Uncle Lucius.

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Establishing an enthusiastic fan base both inside and out of Texas, Galloway has one of the most recognizable voices and sounds in the industry. With so much music available, setting yourself or your band apart from the masses typically takes a concerted effort but once Galloway begins any lyrical journey, fans and even your average listener can immediately discern that it is Uncle Lucius they are hearing.

Hailing from Austin, Texas anyone fortunate enough to see the band perform live was given A Million Ways or at least 97 Reasons to love what they saw and with news of their final show on the horizon, people have been soaking up the final few moments as they Flood Then Fade Away.

On Friday in front of an already sold out crowd under the water tower at Texas’ oldest dance hall, Gruene Hall, Uncle Lucius will play their final show. A few tickets remain for the added Thursday night performance as part of two night “Farewell Show” performances and if you find yourself anywhere close to New Braunfels toward the end of the week, here’s a simple piece of advice – go, because All We’ve Got Is Now.

You’re only regret will be not familiarizing yourself with the soulful sounds of Uncle Lucius much earlier and while you will experience more than a Pocket Full of Misery, with no immediate hope for seeing them in the future, four albums remain for our listening pleasure as we all hope for an encore at some point down the road, although Someday Is A Far Cry away.

Red Dirt NC: Weekend watch, March 16-18

A relatively slow holiday weekend should make deciding on a show easier, especially for the western part of the state…

The past few weekends have created multiple opportunities for seeing live music within this genre. In fact, shortly after Cody Johnson played Coyote Joe’s in Charlotte, he became the first unsigned artist to sell out the Houston Rodeo and by all accounts put on an amazing show.

The morale of this story is to take advantage when ANY of the Texas country or Red Dirt artists venture outside of their normal touring circuit. Not only to see those that hail from both Oklahoma and Texas, but to also appreciate the artists here who have been and are breaking into the scene.

This weekend provides an opportunity to see two different acts on opposite ends of the spectrum but who are still representing a commitment to their craft with a profound ability to entertain. Each has their own characteristics and with St. Patrick’s Day looming on Saturday, can assist in your celebration with the addition of live music.

FRIDAY – MARCH 16, 2018

James Scott Bullard – Shooter’s Lounge, Hickory

After a brief stint in rehab several years ago, James Scott Bullard declared himself substance-free, yet it took him longer to accept responsibility for the rest of his life’s decisions.  That process led to fan-favorite lovelorn songs from his previous albums.  Full Tilt Boogie jumps forward to where Bullard is now, owning his bad choices and sometimes reveling in them, while not giving up vices altogether, as his string of exes will attest.  Bullard’s honesty about his flaws endears him to his fans, who find broken pieces of themselves in the lyrics. 

SATURDAY – MARCH 17, 2018

Pickxen – Oskar Blues Brewery, Brevard

Saint Paddy’s Day fun with Pickxen!  While we may not be able to utilize the outdoor patio bar, the Tasty Weasel taproom is open daily with free tours of the brewery. The Oskar Blues CHUBwagon food truck serves up CHUBurgers and tacos to quench your hunger. Five nights a week, local and regional bands make your ear holes happy. Pisgah National Forest is a 10 minute bike ride away, so go git rad and meet back at the brewery for a pint.

Nathan Kornegay – Goldsboro Brew Works, Goldsboro

“Singer/Songwriter based in Raleigh. Influenced by great songwriters like Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, Jason Isbell, and Ryan Adams.”

You won’t go wrong with any choice this weekend and for a large number of people in the western half of the state, you’ll be close to something both nights. Get out, celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and enjoy your weekend by supporting live music!

Take advantage and keep spreading the love, one song at a time…