Nikki Hill is a roots-rock force of nature. The spirits of Wanda Jackson and Little Richard meet up in Hill’s remarkable vocals. Guitarist Matt Hill’s fretboard workouts give their sound extra punch. They hit Lincoln’s Zoo Bar Wednesday, Aug. 20, and rev up The 21st Saloon Thursday, Aug. 21, both shows 6-9 p.m. See nikkihillmusic.com.
Polly O’Keary is best known locally for her bass work with Too Slim & The Taildraggers. O’Keary and her partner, drummer Tommy Cook, spent four years as the rhythm section for Too Slim. O’Keary had previously fronted her own band in Washington state. She is a three-time winner of the Washington Blues Society’s Female Vocalist of the Year honors as well as the Songwriter of the Year award plus other WBS awards and nominations. She and Cook have reformed Polly O’Keary & The Rhythm Method with guitarist Clint “Seattle Slim” Nonnemaker. See pollyokeary.com. The band plays Lincoln’s Zoo Bar Thursday, Aug. 21, 6-9 p.m. and gigs at McKenna’s next Wednesday, Aug. 27, 7 p.m.
Earl & Them
The marvelous Earl Cate is back with his band Earl & Them. Cate is one-half of the fabled Cate Brothers, whose show at The 21st Saloon earlier this summer was one of the best of the year. Cate carries over his vocals, guitar work and some Cate Brothers’ repertoire to Earl & Them, which also features area native “Baby” Jason Davis on guitar. The group includes drummer Terry Cagle, who also drums for The Cate Brothers, played with The Band and is Levon Helm’s nephew. They play Lincoln’s Zoo Bar Friday, Aug. 22, 5-7 p.m. and Saturday, 6-9 p.m. See earlandthem.com.
The Zoo hosts Matt Cox’s Lincoln CD release party for Nishnabotna, Friday, Aug. 22, 9:30 p.m. Two big blues acts are back for early shows next week. Rick Estrin & The Nightcats is a quadruple threat of badass musicians who always deliver. They play Tuesday, Aug. 26, 6-9 p.m. The powerhouse combination of amazing vocalist Candye Kane and guitar star Laura Chavez hits the Zoo Wednesday, Aug. 27, 6-9 p.m.
Due to a scheduling mix-up, Jason Elmore & Hoodoo Witch are not at McKenna’s Saturday, Aug. 23. Check Elmore’s music out at jasonelmore.net.
The OEAA Summer Showcase happens in Benson this Friday and Saturday, Aug. 22-23, with over 50 bands at six venues. See the schedule at oea-awards.com.
The Blues Society of Omaha presents the second preliminary round of the Nebraska Blues Challenge at Lincoln’s Zoo Bar Sunday, Aug. 24, 3 p.m. See Facebook.com/BluesSocietyofOmaha.