Several shows with some of the biggest names in roots and blues music grace local performance spaces this week. Taj Mahal, W.C. Clark, Tab Benoit and Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi are on tap. Legendary Taj Mahal in Lincoln The Bourbon Theatre and the Zoo Bar present a rare Nebraska performance by the great Taj Mahal. For more than 40 years Mahal has celebrated American blues and roots music and been an influence on two generations of roots musicians. Young artists like Ben Harper, Jack Johnson, Ziggy Marley and Angelique Kidjo performed with Mahal on his 2008 CD, Maestro: Celebrating 40 Years (Heads Up International). Other new bands following in his footsteps as roots explorers include The Carolina Chocolate Drops and Grace Potter & the Nocturnals. Opening the show is Lincoln’s Son of 76 duo featuring occasional Reader contributor Josh Hoyer and guitarist Werner Althaus. Up and coming Kansas band Moreland & Arbuckle is also on the bill. Tickets are for sale online at Vaughan Mentor W.C. Clark Another veteran blues artist, W.C. Clark, appears at Lincoln’s Zoo Bar for a special early show Monday, Sept. 27, 6-9 p.m. Clark is one of the most joyous performers I know of; his music just makes you feel good. If you appreciate the sheer bliss music can deliver, you need to see Clark. If you’re interested in the roots of contemporary blues, you should come because Clark is known as the “Godfather of Austin blues” and also as a mentor and musical partner to the late, great Stevie Ray Vaughan. The young Stevie Ray Vaughan lured Clark out of his day job as a mechanic to join Vaughan in one of his early bands, Triple Threat Revue. Vocalist Lou Ann Barton was the third artist making up the “Triple Threat” of the band’s name. Clark and Triple Threat keyboard player Mike Kindred co-wrote “Cold Shot,” one of Vaughan’s most well known hits; it also gained Clark his first platinum record. Clark’s early career included time on the road with Joe Tex, where the young Clark began to “gestate his own easy-on-the-ears fusion of soul, blues and Texas R&B,” in the words of Austin Monthly magazine. “But it was as a band mate and mentor to the young white blues musicians migrating to Austin that Clark had his greatest impact,” continued Austin Monthly’s 2009 article on Clark. “He introduced the youngbloods to the old blues bands on the East Side and forged a link between the generations.” A 1989 Austin City Limits tribute to Clark showcased some of his many young friends celebrating their mentor. Performers included Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimmie Vaughan and Kim Wilson of The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Austin vocalists Angela Strehli and Lou Ann Barton and young guitarist Will Sexton. Hometown paper the Austin Chronicle raved that Clark’s sound is “good rockin’, soul-drenched Austin blues. A potent combination of gritty Texas guitar wedded to devastating, gospel-rich Memphis vocals.” Clark won multiple Blues Music Awards and Austin Music Awards during his career. Blues Revue magazine wrote, “Clark conjures the vocal power of Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett and the guitar of Steve Cropper and Albert King,” adding he’s “modern Texas blues at its best.” A Nebraska visit from Clark is an infrequent event, so don’t miss this chance to hear this Texas blues legend for yourself Monday, Sept. 27. Tedeschi & Trucks Tickets are still available at for Susan Tedeschi’s and Derek Trucks’ Thursday, Sept. 30, show at the Stir Concert Cove. The Boston Herald called the husband-wife team “the power blues-rock couple of this era.” Both artists were nominated in the 2009 Grammy Awards for Best Contemporary Blues Album for their solo discs. The Derek Trucks Band won for Already Free. (Xanax) It was Tedeschi’s fifth Grammy nomination. Her powerful vocals have been wowing fans since her national debut in 1998, with reviewers using adjectives like “sultry,” “soulful” and “smoldering” to describe her jaw-droppingly emotive voice. Now 31, Trucks has been a touring guitarist since the age of 12, working for years as a member of the Allman Brothers band. He’s also made amazing music with his own band that magically fuses sonic styles from blues and rock to jazz, funk, soul and world music. Rolling Stone said Trucks “could very well be the best guitarist of his generation.” Hot Notes As if that weren’t enough big name entertainment, popular bayou blues-rocker Tab Benoit plays a special 5:30 p.m. show Tuesday, Sept. 28, at The New Lift Lounge. Kansas blues trio Trampled Under Foot gigs at the Zoo Bar Friday, Sept. 24, after 9 p.m. Also Friday, Sept. 24, soul-blues man Johnny Rawls hits McKenna’s after 9 p.m. Texas “nuclear polka” band Brave Combo brings their eclectic, virtuoso-fueled world-roots fusion to the Lift Thursday, Sept. 30, at 5:30 p.m.

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