This is the final weekend of benefit activities for the seventh annual Lash LaRue Toy Drive for the children of the Pine Ridge Reservation. Last week’s events hit a couple of bumps in the road when the CDs did not arrive in time for the CD release party. Then the Huskers’ loss effectively killed the attendance at Saturday’s late night Waiting Room show. However, the Blues Society holiday party Toy Drive show Sunday, Dec. 5, was a big night of music, celebration and donations, with a sizzling performance from Coco Montoya and special guest Lincoln’s Dave Steen sitting in on guitar. Steen is a musician and songwriter who often collaborates with Montoya. The Zoo Bar hosted its first-ever Toy Drive show with six Lincoln bands Dec. 5. CDs are available for purchase at Garage Guitar, 50th and Dodge. The disc is an excellent collection of mostly original tunes written by some of Omaha and Lincoln’s finest. The material ranges from the poignant and melancholy, including a couple of murder ballads, to the bittersweet, simply joyous and even out of this world. Part of the fun of the annual CD compilation is that the writers know that not everyone has an easy or completely joyous time during the holidays. Jim Homan of Screen Door Studio donated his production services to create Christmas for Pine Ridge: Vol. III Live at The Waiting Room. A final concert event takes place at the G.I. Forum in south Omaha at 2002 N St. Friday, Dec. 10, when the Mariachi San Juan perform at 8 p.m., followed by Omaha bluesman Dave Barger. Admission is $10 or a new, unwrapped toy of equal value. Insiders recommend you get there early and try dinner in the G.I Forum restaurant, which is only served until about 7 p.m. In a follow-up to Barger’s story: he is doing better health-wise and the recent highly successful benefit organized by friends has helped him get back on his feet, move to an apartment and replace stolen belongings. Toy Drive on 89.7 The River The Toy Drive hits the airwaves Sunday morning, Dec. 12, when yours truly and Lash LaRue join Rick Galusha and Terry Gamper for an extended 8 a.m.-noon edition of P.S. Blues on 89.7 The River. Galusha scheduled musical guests who will perform live plus visits from guest announcers including Tom Becka, Diver Dan and Blues Society President Terry O’Halloran. After final toy shopping, LaRue is delivering the toys to the Pine Ridge reservation as part of a gift-giving party for the children Saturday, Dec. 16. In addition to toys and gifts, some money will go toward emergency heating and part of the P.S. Blues donations go toward a scholarship fund for Native American students — 100 percent of donations go to the reservation. LaRue covers any administrative costs out of his own pocket. Giving Grows See 8 Days for more on the Homeless For The Holidays Blankets Not Blizzards CD release party and benefit Tuesday, Dec. 14, at the Waiting Room. Wednesday, Dec. 15, at Slowdown is a second HftH show. Also, a last minute event is in the works for España Sunday, Dec. 12, 6-10 p.m. España and local music journalist, fan and Benson resident MarQ Manner, are putting together a songwriters’ showcase to benefit youth in crisis in the metro. Details, including the benefiting charity, were coming together at deadline, but expect performances from All Young Girls Are Machine Guns, Daniel Burns (of Vago), Matt Cox, Alex Diimig and Bret Vovk (Underwater Dream Machine). “Others may be added or add themselves,” Manner emailed. “There will be a freewill donation which will go towards disadvantaged youth in Omaha.” Check or the Facebook Songwriters at España Benefit Show event page for further details. Thursday Lift Lounge Music While you might not recognize the names, The New Lift Lounge offers two big 5:30 p.m. shows this Thursday and next. Thursday, Dec. 9, catch the funk, jazz and blues of New Orleans’ Joe Krown Trio. These guys are among the celebrated music city’s all-stars, and the reviews are stellar. The trio features Krown on keys, the legendary Walter “Wolfman” Washington on vocals and guitar and Russell Batiste Jr. on drums. Next Thursday, Dec. 16, Texas songwriter Randy McAllister returns to the metro with Buddy Whittington on guitar. Whittington is a 15-year veteran of the John Mayall blues band. This is a don’t-miss show for guitar fans. Hot Notes Chicago’s razor sharp guitarist Lil’ Ed brings his party band The Blues Imperials to Lincoln’s Zoo Bar this Friday and Saturday, Dec. 10 and 11. The Brad Cordle Band, featuring Dave Steen on guitar, plays Slowdown Friday, Dec. 10, opening for Rhythm Collective and Steve Villamonte & The 808 Band. San Francisco’s dazzling acoustic trio Hot Buttered Rum plays The Waiting Room Saturday, Dec. 11. Matt Cox opens.

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