The Blues Society of Omaha’s weekly Thursday series brings Chicago blues man John Primer to town Thursday, Dec. 1, at The Strut (5402 N 90th St). Primer has gone on to an acclaimed career as a bandleader after his years as Magic Slim’s sideman. In his early career, he was part of Willie Dixon’s band and then toured with Muddy Waters. See johnprimerblues.com. The show for Thursday, Dec. 8, is TBA. Look for updates on the BSO Facebook page or website. Audience favorite Mike Zito and his band plug in at The Waiting Room on Thursday, Dec. 15. Omaha’s award-winning Héctor Anchondo Band opens. Tony Holiday takes the spotlight Thursday, Dec. 22, at The Jewell. Holiday is an award-winning entertainer and blues harmonica player based in Memphis. See tonyholidaymusic.com.
All Thursday shows are 6-9 p.m. Find details and late-breaking information at facebook.com/bluessocietyofomaha and omahablues.com, on which you’ll find a curated list of local blues and roots shows, including early Friday night shows at The B. Bar.
The Jewell features impeccable acoustics that showcase a varied schedule of American music in one of the most beautiful rooms in town. Friday, Dec. 9, the club presents a stripped-down, acoustic version of Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal playing tunes from Hoyer’s latest release “Green Light” along with other original material. There are two shows, 6:30 and 8:30 p.m.
The Jewell presents special holiday shows, including jazz trumpet player Michael “Gooch” Gurciullo and his quintet, Saturday Dec. 10, with shows at 6:30 and 8:30 p.m.
The Holiday Jam with the Hegg Brothers takes the stage Thursday, Dec. 15, with 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. shows and a wide variety of holiday arrangements. Omaha sax man Matt Wallace is part of the band. Find out more at holidayjam.com.
Joy From The Jewell: A Holiday Celebration features acclaimed Omaha vocalist Camille Metoyer Moten and music director Doyle Tipler leading a lineup of Omaha musicians. The concerts happen Saturday, Dec. 17, 6:30 and 8:30 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 18, 5 p.m. Héctor Anchondo Band takes the stage Friday, Dec. 23, 7-10 p.m.Popular vocalist Jason Birnstihl, former frontman for the band The 9s, plays a solo acoustic show Wednesday, Dec. 28, 7 p.m. See jewellomaha.com.
Zoo Bar Blues
In 2023, Lincoln’s Zoo Bar celebrates 50 years as one of the country’s most iconic blues venues. Some highlights on the December calendar include the return of Jason D. Williams on Sunday, Dec. 4, 5-8 p.m. Williams is a keyboard showman who has long been purported to be the illegitimate son of Jerry Lee Lewis. In a 2018 interview, Williams said that a DNA test had proved “not conclusive.” Whether he is or not, his high-voltage show is a link to “The Killer’s” musical heritage. Lewis passed away on Oct. 28 at the age of 87, after an illness.
Other shows coming up include Mike Zito Dec. 14, 6-9 p.m. Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal celebrate their 10-year anniversary on Friday, Dec. 23, 8:30 p.m., with a show that includes appearances by former members of the band. Keep up with the rest of the venue schedule and plans for the 50th anniversary at zoobar.com and facebook.com/zoobarblues.
Kris Lager Band is the New Year’s Eve late show at Lincoln’s Zoo Bar, Saturday, Dec. 31, 9 p.m. Lager also has announced plans for his second rock ‘n’ roll variety show, The Conduit Live, on Friday, Jan. 6, 7 p.m., at the Benson Theatre. Find the details at krislager.com. The November show was a sellout.
For a blast of rockabilly inflected, swingin’ big band holiday fun, make plans for The David George Orchestra’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Christmas Show on Saturday, Dec. 10, 8 p.m., at Lincoln’s Bourbon Theatre. George is a KC-based musician who has put together the big band with inspiration from the musical he wrote, “Christmas Ain’t a Drag.”
The electrifying country-blues inspired Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band performs at Reverb Lounge on Dec. 1, 8 p.m. The band’s tour supports its last recording “Dance Songs for Hard Times.” Find out more at bigdamnband.com.
Local bands the Filter Kings, with Left Hand Country and Edward Spencer, are scheduled at Reverb Lounge on Saturday, Dec. 17, 8 p.m.
The 14th Annual Frostival takes over Waiting Room and Reverb Lounge on Friday, Dec. 23, starting at 6 p.m. with a mostly rock lineup benefitting the Open Door Mission. See waitingroomlounge.com.
The Toy Drive for Pine Ridge has shifted to focus solely on life-saving donations to the emergency propane fund, which helps elders and families during the cold winters on the reservation. Residents can freeze to death without this assistance. To read the update from Larry “Lash” Dunn and find out more or donate to the propane fund, look for the 2022 update at toydriveforpineridge.org.