“A modern day, female version, of Louis Armstrong,” that’s what Elmore magazine calls Davina Sowers of Davina & The Vagabonds. Since the release of their latest disc, Black Cloud, the Minneapolis band has been racking up rave reviews. A track from the new disc was chosen for an NPR Song of the Day feature. Downbeat magazine applauds “They dare to be different.” Blues in Britain magazine says “Think of a meld of Bessie Smith, Etta James, Alberta Adams and Amy Winehouse, and you come close to understanding what Davina Sowers is all about.”

Classically trained pianist  Sowers creates an amazing fusion of blues, swing and old-school New Orleans jazz with her horn-driven band. They are one of my new favorites. Check out davinaandthevagabonds.com. Hear them at Lincoln’s Zoo Bar Wednesday, Nov. 30, 6-9 p.m. and at The 21st Saloon Thursday, Dec. 1, 5:30-8:30 p.m.

Toy Drive Giving

Lash LaRue’s annual Toy Drive to bring joy to the children of the Pine Ridge reservation is this weekend. Toys are collected for the youth in the poverty-stricken area, who otherwise may receive nothing for Christmas. At The Waiting Room Friday, Dec. 2, at 9 p.m. catch Filter Kings, The Mercurys and Blacktop Ramblers. Admission is $10 or a new, unwrapped toy.

The Blues Society of Omaha hosts a holiday party and benefit show Sunday, Dec. 4. Performing are Christy Rossiter & 112 North Duck (2:30 p.m.), Brad Cordle Band (3:45 p.m.) and Alligator Records guitar great Michael Burks (5 p.m.) Admission is $10. Donations of new, unwrapped toys are also encouraged. There will be a BSO potluck holiday dinner, to participate please bring a covered dish to share.

Hot Notes

Chicago blues-rock guitarist Scott Holt plays Lincoln’s Zoo Bar Dec. 1 at 9 p.m. On Friday, Dec. 2, at the Zoo, Kansas City’s The Good Foot shares a double bill of funk with Sons of 76. Nick Semrad will be back in town rejoining Sons of 76 on keys.

Chicago blues guitarist John Primer takes the stage at the Zoo Bar Wednesday, Dec. 7, 6-9 p.m. and at The 21st Saloon Thursday, Dec. 8, 5:30-8:30 p.m.

Upcoming shows of note at Lincoln’s Zoo Bar include Josh Garrett & the Bottomline Saturday, Dec. 10, and Popa Chubby Sunday, Dec. 11. The Blues Society of Omaha presents Tab Benoit at Slowdown Tuesday, Dec. 13. Kris Lager Band opens the 7 p.m. show. See omahablues.com.


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