Friends of guitarist Dave Barger will host a benefit this Sunday, Oct. 17, at New Lift Lounge to help the veteran Omaha musician. Among the popular musicians returning to assist Barger are California guitarist John Lawton, New Orleans sax man Joe Cabral Jr. and Boston bassist Ken Fallon. Barger has been the “go to” blues guitarist on the Omaha scene for over 20 years. In recent years he has battled declining health. Buck Weyerman, friend and former bandmate, says via email that in addition to Barger’s health, Barger has been robbed of personal possessions while “confined to a rehabilitation center in Atlantic, Iowa … Due to his immobility and confinement, most of David’s personal possessions have disappeared. He still has his guitar and amplifier, but everything else is mostly gone.” In the 1980s when the Old Market had lots of live music nightly at blues-oriented venue The Howard Street Tavern, Barger was at the center of popular bands like The Loose Brothers, Risky Shift, Oasis and Big Thumbs. Barger will make a rare public appearance for the event, joining his friends onstage. The Risky Shift reunion is sure to be a fan-pleaser with the return of Lawton, Cabral and Fallon plus Weyerman on drums joining Barger for the performance. Also reuniting are members of Oasis including Kevin and Tim Swisher, who’ll be joined by Fallon, Weyerman and Barger. The Blues Society of Omaha All-Stars is also scheduled to perform including Neil Johnsen, Craig Balderston and Ringo Maguire, along with other veterans of the Omaha music scene including Brad Cordle, Jerry Steinke and Tim Koehn. BSO All-Stars play at 2 p.m., followed by Oasis at 3:30 p.m. and the highly anticipated Risky Shift reunion at 5 p.m. A “super jam” with all the musicians will close the evening. Admission is a minimum $5 donation at the door. There will be a raffle for donated prizes. A potluck dinner will be available. Weyerman says donations to the potluck dinner are appreciated. Kris Lager Band Homecoming Blues-rockers the Kris Lager Band return from a several-weeks tour that took them through New Mexico, Arizona and California. The band gets home to play a two-night-stand at Lincoln’s Zoo Bar Friday and Saturday, Oct. 15 and 16, after 9 p.m. The hard-hitting band returned to working as a four-piece earlier this year, with Lager on guitar, Jeremiah Weir on keyboards, John Fairchild on drums and Brandon Miller on bass. Their high-energy shows combine excellent original music with passionate performances that get fan comparisons to indie bands like the Black Keys. Friday, Oct. 15, the Lil’ Slim Blues Band performs for happy hour, 5-7 p.m. Lil’ Slim is Shawn Holt, son of Magic Slim, and he’s following in his father’s footsteps, playing blistering Chicago guitar blues. Guitar Star Michael Burks Arkansas guitarist Michael Burks is a master of high-octane, stinging electric guitar. Burks has two upcoming metro gigs. The Alligator Records artist plays Wednesday, Oct. 20, at Lincoln’s Zoo Bar, 6 p.m.-9 p.m., and Thursday, Oct. 21, at The New Lift Lounge, 5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. The Chicago Sun-Times raved that Burks is “a fierce, flame-thrower guitar slinger and an exciting, soulful singer. His music has phenomenal power.” Alligator Records says “Burks’ powerful presence, inventive and riveting guitar work and soul-shaking vocals make him the torchbearer of electric blues guitar heroes.” His debut disc for Alligator, Make it Rain, was named one of the Top 200 greatest guitar recordings by Guitar One magazine. Burks is a multiple Blues Music Award nominee. Magness Coming Up at the Zoo Soulful Southern California vocalist Janiva Magness brings her award-winning music to the Zoo Bar on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 6 p.m.-9 p.m. In 2009, Magness took home the prestigious B.B. King Entertainer of the Year award presented by the Blues Music Awards. She is only the second woman to receive this honor; the first female artist to be recognized was the late Koko Taylor. Magness is a three-time winner of the Blues Music Award for Contemporary Blues Female Artist of the Year. She does not have an Omaha show on this tour so mark your calendars for this Zoo Bar gig. Hot Notes Americana pioneer Chuck Prophet plays a Sunday Roadhouse show at the Waiting Room Thursday, Oct. 14, at 7:30 p.m. See the profile of the artist on page 31. Jam-band bluegrass group Cornmeal performs at the Bourbon Theatre Friday, Oct. 15. Make a note about the November return of Josh Garrett & The Bottomline. The Nashville-based band combines fine music and a big, fun approach, including a high-energy horn section. The band makes its Zoo Bar debut Wednesday, Nov. 3, at 6 p.m., and hits The New Lift Lounge Thursday, Nov. 4, at 5:30 p.m. Check the band out online at joshgarrettmusic.com.