Funky Soul to Western Swing

September’s live music schedule offers soul, Western Swing, guitar-driven blues, cool folk-jazz and fledgling Americana.


As September creeps into fall, bands transition from the last festival dates back to club shows and ramp up their regional tours. Special events come our way, too, such as Austin’s funky soul-rock band Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears playing a show at O’Leaver’s Tuesday, Sept. 17, 9 p.m. O’Leaver’s also hosts O’Leaversfest Friday-Sunday, Sept. 20-22, with three nights of multiple rock and garage bands, including Cursive on Sept. 21. See the events at Facebook.com/oleavers for details on all these shows.

BSO Presents at Chrome
The Blues Society of Omaha’s early Thursday shows at Chrome Lounge continue with International Blues Challenge winners Keeshea Pratt Band Thursday, Sept. 5. This soulful Houston band fronted by the dynamic Pratt complete with high-energy horns has quickly become a crowd-pleaser on the touring blues circuit. The band won the 2018 IBC in Memphis. Kansas City guitarist Brandon Miller and his band are up Thursday, Sept. 12. 2017 Blues Music Award nominee Guy King takes the stage Thursday, Sept. 19. King has grown from an Israeli-born teen with a love of American blues to one of Chicago’s brightest new blues talents, with his debut CD released on benchmark blues label, Delmark Records. Multiple Blues Music Award winner and nominee John Németh rounds out the month with his always-hot band on Thursday, Sept. 26. They will be fresh from a European tour and always throw it down for a great show.  October shows will kick off with acclaimed guitarist Bobby Messano Thursday, Oct. 3. All Thursday shows are 6-9 p.m. See OmahaBlues.com.

Zoo Bar Blues
Lincoln’s Zoo Bar serves up a great variety of music starting with Earl & Them. That’s Earl Cate out front bringing their popular mix of old Cate Brothers tunes and more to the Zoo for the 5 p.m. show Friday, Sept. 6. Kris Lager Band plugs in Saturday, Sept. 7, 9 p.m. Correction to the street issue: There is NO Jesse Dayton show Sunday, Sept. 8. Former longtime Lincoln musician Harvey Brindell returns for a show Friday, Sept. 13, 5 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18, marks the start of Lincoln Calling, and veteran Chicago blues artists the Willy Buck Blues Band are up 6-9 p.m. Buck was born in Mississippi and played the “Chitlin’ Circuit” before landing in Chicago in 1954 where he was a regular on the old Maxwell Street scene. The Red Elvises are back Monday, Sept. 23, 6-9 p.m. The always-groovy Bel Airs are up Friday, Sept. 27, 5 p.m. Visit ZooBar.com.

Lincoln Calling 2019
Lincoln’s Zoo Bar is one of the venues participating in the annual Lincoln Calling event, Sept. 18-21. Other participating venues are 1867 Bar, Bodega’s, Duffy’s Tavern and Bourbon Theatre. The Night Market Stage, a street festival on 14th Street between O and P, offers music, speakers, performance art and drag. Headliners include indie-rocker Soccer Mommy, R&B artist Cautious Clay and DJ Taylor McFerrin (son of Bobby McFerrin) on Thursday. National singer/rapper TT The Artist is featured on Friday, along with a slew of local favorites, including Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal, Jack Hotel and All Young Girls Are Machine Guns. The soul-blues of Lee Fields & The Expressions, the power-pop of Charly Bliss and more, including artists from The Millions to Charlie Burton & Or What, perform Saturday. There will be nearly 100 artists and DJs performing plus art, culture and workshops. The festival touts its “50/50  representation between male and female artists at a time when, on average, only 15% of performers at national music festivals are women.”  Find all the details, tickets (ranging from $25-$100) and final schedules at LincolnCalling.com.

Fishstock
Original BSO charter president, local restaurant owner and longtime supporter of the blues Greg Lindberg celebrates 40 years of business with an outdoor party Sunday, Sept. 22. There’ll be an outdoor parking lot party at 1218 S. 119th St., outside Shucks, 2:30-8 p.m. Admission is free, and music will include an all-star band of veteran local players and more, including Hector Anchondo, Kris Lager, Joe McCarthy, Sarah Benck-Tardy and the Crabby Blues Band. See absolutelyfresh.com for more.

Billy Bacon’s Passing
Too late for the street issue, friends and fans of Americana, rockabilly and swingin’ crooner, songwriter and musician Billy Bacon learned that he had passed away. Bacon had been living in Lincoln, by my own observation, for almost two months. His long association with Lincoln and the Zoo Bar meant he was a regular at the Zoo, at home among longtime friends. He’d recently been seen sitting in with artists like The Iguanas and local band Los Gattos. He was also seen regularly at other 14th St. venues. According to friends, he had recently moved to The Great Plains Motel, many a touring musician’s home-away-from-home, after staying temporarily with a friend. Bacon had been reporting flu-like symptoms the weekend prior to his death. He was found deceased in his hotel room Tuesday, Aug. 20, according to friends. No cause of death has yet been released, but Bacon had been fighting debilitating rheumatoid arthritis for many years. According to his longtime, Arizona-based producer and promoter friend, Jeb Schoonover in a Facebook post, Bacon will be remembered in a memorial Sept 29 in San Diego, one of the places where he began his career alongside artists like Mojo Nixon, the late Chris Gaffney and others. Funeral services are still pending at this writing.  Bacon was much admired as a showman and entertainer, a songwriter, bassist and singer. In Lincoln, Nebr., he is remembered as much, or more, as a good friend.
Writer’s note: There will be a celebration of life event for Bacon at Lincoln’s Zoo Bar Sunday, Sept. 22, 2-6 p.m. Watch ZooBar.com for further updates.

Hot Notes
Don’t forget local venues from the B. Bar to Fremont’s The Corner Bar to Buck’s in Venice are also stepping up and offering live music from local artists and up-and-coming national artists. See the venues’ Facebook pages for more, and check out OmahaBlues.com for show listings from these venues and many others. Keeshea Pratt Band plays The Corner Bar Sunday, Sept. 8, 5 p.m. Punk rocker turned label-described “art country” artist Jason Hawk Harris plays Lincoln’s Bourbon Theatre Wednesday, Sept. 11, 8 p.m. He’s touring on the heels of his new release Love & The Dark (Bloodshot Records), which fits right into any Americana-lover’s playlist. Think shades of Hayes Carll or Jason Isbell with a nasally croon, glistening steel guitar and more trad-country flavor laced with echoing, atmospheric guitars. Listen up at jasonhawkharris.com.
Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys are back with their swingin’ SoCal-born Americana. They’ll be flyin’ high at the Sunday Roadhouse at the Waiting Room Sunday, Sept. 15, 5 p.m. See SundayRoadhouse.com. They also take the stage at Lincoln’s Zoo Bar Wednesday, Sept. 25, 6-9 p.m. The swing-infused folk-jazz of K.C.’s Victor & Penny & The Loose Change Orchestra opens the LAFTA season Friday, Sept. 6, 7:30 p.m. at the 7th Street Loft, 504 S. 7th St. in Lincoln. See lafta.net.

September kicks off with the sassy, sultry, soulful sounds of 2018 International Blues Challenge winners the Keesha Pratt Band, playing three local shows.

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