Schedules are changing so check for updates before you head out. Obviously Covid numbers have been surging. Please make choices to take care of yourself and your community. Support live music where you can, but please do it safely and with consideration for others. Remember you can support artists with online purchases, too.
Here is a rundown of interesting shows on the books as of this writing. Two big shows are happening Thursday, Feb. 3. The Blues Society of Omaha presents Indigenous featuring founding member and popular blues-rock guitarist Mato Nanji at The Waiting Room, 6-9 p.m. Nanji is nationally recognized, not only for leading Indigenous but for his work since 2002 with the Experience Hendrix all-star tours. Also Feb. 3, 8 p.m., The B. Bar presents the Willie Waldman Project featuring members of moe. with the Omaha Beat Brigade.
BSO Presents Series
The Blues Society of Omaha weekly shows are not all booked as of this writing. Venues and dates continue to rotate depending on the show. Check omahablues.com or facebook.com/bluessocietyofomaha for updates and additional show announcements.
Shows currently on tap include Blues Music Award-nominated guitarist James Armstrong on Friday, Feb. 4, 5:30 p.m., at The B. Bar. Then Thursday, Feb. 10, 6-9 p.m., the BSO Presents series is at The Jewell, hosting Dustin Arbuckle & The Damnations. Arbuckle is a founding member of the acclaimed band Moreland & Arbuckle. After that group disbanded, Arbuckle launched this project that finds him making some stomping, high-octane roots music from a larger musical palette than just blues. See dustinarbuckledamnations.com. Keep up with other jazz and blues bookings at The Jewell at jewellomaha.com/shows.
A BSO show double-header is up Thursday, Feb. 17, 6-9 p.m., at Stocks ‘n’ Bonds featuring the big, soulful sounds of the 2018 International Blues Challenge winners from Houston, Keeshea Pratt Band. WRITER’S NOTE: The Scott Ellison Band opening set has cancelled due to the fact Ellison is dealing with some health issues. Ellison spent years in California as a popular session guitarist before starting to record his own music in the 1990s.
The BSO co-hosts the rockin’ rockabilly sounds of The Mezcal Brothers at The B. Bar on Friday, Feb. 18, 5:30 p.m.
Thursday, March 3, the BSO teams with Buck’s Bar and Grill, 27849 W. Center Rd. in Venice, to present Nashville’s honky-tonk trio David Graham & the Eskimo Brothers, 8:30-11:30 p.m. Check out the rest of Buck’s always excellent schedule of up ’n’ coming artists at bucksbarandgrill.com. If you’re going to Buck’s, go early for the dinner specials.
Zoo Bar Blues
Lincoln’s historic Zoo Bar is offering music most evenings. Friday, Feb. 4, 9:30 p.m., hear Mike Bourne & The Kansas City Boogie. The soulful blues of Houston’s Keeshea Pratt Band takes the spotlight Wednesday, Feb. 16, 6-9 p.m. Dustin Arbuckle & The Damnations perform Friday, Feb. 18, for the 9:30 show. Saturday, Feb. 26, 9-1, catch Nashville’s all-female, self-identified queer Southern rockers Thelma & The Sleaze along with Katy Guillen & The Drive and Bull Face.
There’s a lot more happening at the Zoo Bar, including the weekly Monday piano bar happy hours with Emily Bass (5 p.m.) and house band jams (7 p.m.), Jazzocracy jams Tuesdays, 7-9 p.m., Tuesday late-night dancing with DJ Relic, Thursday karaoke with live band Sh#thook after 9 p.m., and the popular Friday Afternoon Club shows at 5 o’clock. There’s even a highly successful weekly Sunday night comedy serious called Zoolarious. Find details and show updates as they are posted at zoobar.com and facebook.com/zoobarblues.
Hoodoo favorite DeVotchKa and their happily dizzying, soaring, cinematic swirl of roots, cabaret and European folk music are scheduled at The Waiting Room on Wednesday, Feb. 9, 8 p.m. The Denver band is hard to classify but their sound is truly exhilarating. Hear their music at devotchka.net.
The Waiting Room also serves up a real Mardi Gras celebration Tuesday, March 1, 8 p.m., with two acclaimed New Orleans bands. Lift your spirits with the feel-good music of The Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Nathan & the Zydeco Cha Cha’s.
Blues man Robert Finley was recently on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, performing with The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, who has been a regular collaborator with Finley. Finley’s blues is influenced by soul, R&B and gospel. Finley is scheduled at Lincoln’s Bourbon Theatre on Thursday, Feb. 17, 8 p.m. Listen at robertfinleyofficial.com.
A couple of early warnings to keep an eye on: Americana singer-songwriter Hayes Carl is scheduled at Slowdown on Thursday, April 14, 8 p.m. Tommy Castro Band is celebrating 30 years of rockin’ the blues. They have a show scheduled at Lincoln’s Zoo Bar on Monday, April 11.
The Blues Foundation’s annual International Blues Challenge (IBC) in Memphis has been rescheduled for May 6-9, now overlapping with the annual Blues Music Awards on May 5. See details at blues.org.