Calendar listings are thin as we write to meet early deadlines in order to get the January issue out on time with the December holidays. Visit omahablues.com for a curated list of local events and check in with your favorite venues and bands to see what else is happening in January. Keep an eye on venues like The Jewell, The Strut, The B. Bar, The Waiting Room and Reverb Lounge, Slowdown, Buck’s in Venice and Lincoln’s historic Zoo Bar for show announcements. Ozone is scheduled to host some BSO Presents shows, though details are not available at press time.
A few highlights include The Mezcal Brothers at The B. Bar on Friday, Jan. 7, 5:30-8:30 p.m., and The Wondermonds at The B. Bar on Friday, Jan. 14, 5:30-8:30 p.m. A popular Johnny Cash tribute band, Church of Cash, is scheduled for Buck’s, 27849 W Center Rd., Thursday, Jan. 20, 9 p.m.
Samantha Fish started out on the K.C. blues scene and has graduated to the national stage. This fall she released a new disc, Faster, produced by Martin Kierszenbaum, who has produced or collaborated with Lady Gaga, Sting, and Sheryl Crow and written for Madonna. Kierszenbaum co-wrote a number of the tunes for Faster. The new association puts Fish in a rawer, edgier rock spotlight. The record is Fish’s seventh solo album and her debut on the Rounder Records label. If the album cover and first music videos seem like a departure for Fish, No Depression magazine said of the result, “The music is unexpected, but the tracks work. The songs are solid, as is the production. But it feels like an extreme pivot to a very new sound … it’s a fascinating step for an artist who always manages to find something new to say.” Fish plays at Waiting Room Lounge on Sunday, Jan. 16, 8 p.m. with Django Knight opening.
The phenomenal Tedeschi-Trucks Band is at Omaha’s Orpheum Theatre on Tuesday, Jan. 18. Co-led by the husband and wife team of powerhouse guitarist Derek Trucks and stellar vocalist Susan Tedeschi, the duo surrounds themselves with amazing musicians. This band makes a truly mind-blowing and joyful noise. See ticketomaha.com for tickets.
Dave Alvin Book in the Works
Roots-rock luminary Dave Alvin has turned his attention to more than songwriting during the pandemic, recently announcing the May 2022 release of a new book, New Highway: Selected Lyrics, Poems, Prose, Essays, Eulogies and Blues (BMG Books). The book is available for pre-order on Amazon. In announcing the book on his Facebook page, Alvin wrote “I’m nervous about releasing my first anthology of writings since 1996 but that doesn’t mean that I’m not happy and excited about this book coming out. If you’re a person who enjoys music, books and reading about some giants (like Big Joe Turner, Sam Phillips, Buck Owens, Bo Diddley, Gene Vincent, Johnny Otis, Doc Pomus and Frank Zappa) or some not-quite giants that I’ve crossed paths with, I sincerely hope you consider checking it out.”
“It’s not a memoir (that’ll be coming along next),” Alvin explained in the announcement, “but there are certainly pieces that could be in a memoir. Besides a large batch of song lyrics from throughout my songwriting career, most of the pieces are focused on music, musicians and our complicated lives and passions.”
If you follow Alvin’s Facebook posts you already have some idea of the poetry, lyricism and keen observations he brings to moments and memories. With his whole life lived learning from and performing with some of America’s best roots and blues musicians, that memoir ought to be something. Stay tuned to Alvin’s official Facebook page at facebook.com/davealvinofficial for more barroom memories, updates and hopefully 2021 tour dates.
Alvin’s latest musical release is From an Old Guitar: Rare and Unreleased Recordings, which is just that: previously unreleased or lesser recognized tracks featuring a stellar cast of musical friends. The cover photo was shot by Omaha’s own Chip Duden at the 2013 Zoo Bar outdoor anniversary festival.
The International Blues Challenge (IBC) happens in Memphis on Jan. 18-22. Watch for online updates at facebook.com/bluessocietyofomaha about the status of the Blues Society of Omaha’s representatives. Stan & The Chain Gang make their second trip to the IBC representing Omaha. Nebraska Jr. performs in the solo/duo category. From the BluesEd program, the Us and Them Blues Band will perform in the annual Youth Showcase.
WRITER’S NOTE: As of Dec. 31, 2021, “The Blues Foundation Board of Directors has made the very difficult decision to postpone the 37th International Blues Challenge that was to take place January 18-22, 2022” in Memphis.
New dates have not yet been announced. Find out more and get updates from the Blues Foundation at blues.org/international-blues-challenge.
Larry (Lash LaRue) Dunn delivered toys for the Pine Ridge children and youth before Christmas. Watch for updates from the deliveries that are always heartwarming at facebook.com/toydriveforpineridge. The need for propane will remain all winter. With the extreme poverty on the reservation, families sometimes have to choose between food and fuel. Donations can be made year-round to the emergency propane fund that helps elders and families at toydriveforpineridge.org.