Tommy Castro’s latest record, A Bluesman Came to Town, is out now on Alligator Records, and Tommy Castro & The Painkillers are back on the road, doing what they do best — killer live shows. Subtitled A Blues Odyssey, A Bluesman Comes to Town is a story in a record. In press materials, Castro explained, “A Bluesman Came To Town isn’t a story about me. It’s pulled from some of my friends’ and my experiences though. I’ve seen first-hand for a lot of years what it’s like out there on the road.” Tommy Castro & The Painkillers play the BSO Presents series for a special show Tuesday, Nov. 30, 6-9 p.m., at Stocks ‘n’ Bonds. Advance tickets are available on eventbrite.com.
Other shows in the Blues Society of Omaha’s BSO Presents series include Memphis-based harmonica player, vocalist and songwriter Brandon Santini Thursday, Nov. 11, 6-9 p.m. at The Jewell. Santini is praised by critics as a standout in the contemporary blues scene. He is a multiple Blues Music Award nominee, recognized in the “Blues Instrumentalist – Harmonica” and “Contemporary Blues Male Artist” categories. The Highway 91 Music Festival is assisting in the presentation of this show.
The BSO teams up with The B. Bar to bring the high-octane rockabilly of The Mezcal Brothers to the stage Friday, Nov. 12, 5:30 p.m. The BSO again joins with The Jewell to present Joyann Parker Friday, Nov. 19, starting at 6:30. Parker is a Minnesota-based blues, jazz and R&B vocalist, and local favorites Mitch Towne (organ), Andrew Brookins (drums) and Craig Balderston (bass) will be joining Parker and her collaborator, guitarist Mark Lamoine. Wednesday, Nov. 24, 6-9 p.m., at The Jewell is a Kris Lager Band CD release show for Lager’s latest recording, Blues Lover. They will be fresh from a California tour where they are selling out shows. Thursday, Dec. 2, 6-9 p.m., the music moves to The Strut, 5402 N. 90th, for Chicago bluesman John Primer & The Real Deal Blues Band. Primer was a longtime sideman for Magic Slim and is a two-time Grammy nominee. He also worked as the lead guitarist for Muddy Waters and Willie Dixon. Watch for schedule updates at facebook.com/bluessocietyofomaha. Find all the BSO events plus a curated list of other local blues/roots events at omahablues.com.
The Toy Drive for Pine Ridge returns in early December. The annual events are organized by longtime local musician Larry Dunn, also known as Lash LaRue from The Mercurys and other local bands. Dunn has been involved in the Lakota spiritual traditions and ceremonies for many years, and the Toy Drive is his effort to give back to the Lakota community. The Toy Drive for Pine Ridge is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that brings toys to the children of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Donations are also used for essentials, like an emergency propane heating fund for the elders. Funds also go toward clothing, food, assistance for the medical clinic and educational resources for residents of the reservation, which is one of the poorest areas in the United States. There will be toy-gathering and fundraising concerts Friday, Dec. 3, at Waiting Room and Sunday, Dec. 5, with the Blues Society of Omaha, location to be announced. Look for another Sunday morning event from Rick Galusha’s P.S. Blues radio show, too. Watch for details and further announcements at facebook.com/toydriveforpineridge.
Sunday Roadhouse presents Chuck Prophet & The Mission Express Sunday, Nov. 14, 5 p.m., at Reverb Lounge. Prophet is a musician’s musician who is well-known in roots-rock-Americana circles. See sundayroadhouse.com. The harmony-laden, hit-making rock band the BoDeans is at Waiting Room Sunday, Nov. 21, 8 p.m.
Buck’s Bar & Grill, 27849 W. Center Rd., in nearby Venice, Nebraska, continues to bring in great up-and-coming country acts. Check out the schedule at bucksbarandgrill.com.
The Jewell offers an eclectic mix of local and regional jazz, blues and R&B. Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal take the stage Saturday, Nov. 20, 7 p.m. Keep up with the full schedule at jewellomaha.com.
There is plenty going on at Lincoln’s historic Zoo Bar, including Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal Saturday, Nov. 27, 5 p.m., Kris Lager Band Saturday, Nov. 13, showtime TBA, and fantastic Austin-based blues guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Sue Foley coming Saturday, Dec. 4, 6 p.m. See facebook.com/zoobarblues and zoobar.com.
Cathy Lohmeier’s documentary Remember the Drumstick about her brother, Tim Lohmeier, and the Lincoln chicken restaurant turned 1980s rock club will be screened in Omaha as part of Film Streams’ 2021 Local Filmmakers Showcase Nov. 11-18. Check for the date and time listings on the showcase website at filmfreeway.com/2021LFS.
Nebraska Public Media’s second season of Jam features four programs with local artists Lloyd McCarter & The Honky Tonk Revival, Héctor Anchondo, Hope Dunbar and Jocelyn. The programs are airing on Nebraska Public Media statewide and can be viewed online. Search for “Jam” at nebraskapublicmedia.org.