There is great music at local venues and ways to contribute to folks who need a little help to have a happier holiday season. Mark your calendar for the 11th Annual Toy Drive for Pine Ridge. Larry Dunn, know in music circles as Lash LaRue, is pairing up with the Blues Society of Omaha for one big show Sunday, Dec. 8, at Sokol Auditorium. Headlining the event is Mato Nanji’s Indigenous, 7 p.m. Admission is $15. Donations of new, unwrapped toys are encouraged. I will also be on Rick Galusha’s PS Blues program on KIWR 89.7 The River Sunday, Dec. 8, 9 a.m. to noon, with Dunn and many musical guests raising awareness about the needs on the Pine Ridge Reservation. The Toy Drive isn’t just about toys but also contributes to the emergency heating fund for the elders and toward food, clothing and educational resources for families. For details, to find toy donation drop-off sites or to make an online donation, visit toydriveforpineridge.com. (Full disclosure: I am an advisor to the Toy Drive and The Reader is a Toy Drive for Pine Ridge sponsor.)
Matt Cox’s Food Drive
Matt Cox hosts his fourth annual Canned in Benson benefit for the Food Bank for The Heartland at the Barley Street Tavern after 9 p.m. Artists performing include Brad Hoshaw, Rebecca Lowry, John Klemmensen, Bret Vovk, Nick Carl, Jessica Errett, Jo & Andrew Janousek, Ed Spencer, Michael Wunder, Matt Cox and more. Admission is two non-perishable food items.
Thanksgiving Eve shows include the Todd Wolfe Band at The 21st Saloon 6-9 p.m. Wolfe was Sheryl Crow’s guitarist early in her chart-topping career. His latest CD is getting great reviews for his guitar-driven, roots-influenced blues-rock.
Also Wednesday, Nov. 27, Lincoln’s Zoo Bar has bluegrass from Toasted Ponies 6-9 p.m. Josh Hoyer’s Sons of 76 plays a quartet show after 9 p.m.
The Zoo Bar is open Thanksgiving night, Thursday, Nov. 28, with Lil’ Slim Blues Band, 9 p.m.
OEAA Best Blues nominee Steve Byam’s 40SINNERS gigs at McKenna’s Friday, Nov. 29, 8-11 p.m. 40SINNNERS plays the Zoo Bar Thursday, Dec. 5, 6-9 p.m. OEAA Best Blues nominee Brad Cordle Band hits the Zoo Friday, Nov. 29, 5-7 p.m.
Kris Lager Band plays The Hive’s grand opening at their new Old Market location, 1207 Harney St., Saturday, Nov. 30.
The 21st Saloon presents the always-amazing jazz, jump, boogie and New Orleans blues of Davina & The Vagabonds Thursday, Dec. 5, 6-9 p.m.