Jon Dee Graham hits Lincoln’s Zoo Bar Thursday, June 28, 6-9 p.m. with his band The Fighting Cocks, Sons of 76 duo opens. Graham is a three-time Austin Music Hall of Fame inductee whose 30-plus year music career includes founding Austin band The True Believers with Alejandro Escovedo. It was Escovedo who pushed Graham to sing the new songs he brought to The True Believers, helping point Graham towards his eventual solo career as a shining songwriter, guitarist and performer. Graham’s music speaks truths to the listener’s heart, is a life-preserver for the tired soul and a celebration of joys large and small. His cynical optimism and luminous hope in the face of many obstacles fuels his music. His feral guitar work can be fierce or tender, serving the songs and stirring the air like a shaman. Graham’s brand new disc, Garage Sale, is out now. See jondeegraham.com.
After seeing Studebaker John at the Chicago Blues Festival some years ago, I became an instant fan. John is a hard-gigging veteran of the Chicago blues scene. His gear-grinding slide guitar and blues-noir songs are gritty, memorable and boogie-inducing. Give John a listen when he hits The 21st Saloon for a rare appearance Thursday, June 21, 5:30-8:30 p.m.
OEAA Music Nominations
During the OEA Music Showcase weekend in Benson I talked to some musicians who were unclear or dubious about the OEA process. Music nominations are decided purely by public vote, so it is up to artists to mobilize their fans and friends to nominate their bands online. The public nomination period has begun for the Seventh Annual Omaha Entertainment & Arts Awards. Send your fans here now surveymonkey.com/s/OEAA2011-2012.
Chicago-style blues and soul from the Windy City’s Kilborn Alley Blues Band is up at Lincoln’s Zoo Bar Wednesday, June 27, 6-10 p.m. in a don’t-miss double-bill with big-voiced Philadelphia blues singer Gina Sicilia, who has not played here often.
Lil’ Slim Blues Band hits the House of Loom Friday, June 22. See houseofloom.com. UPDATE: When I wrote about the House of Loom Lil’ Slim show I did not know it is a fundraiser for Blue Barn Theatre and a $75 ticket. Sorry for any inconvenience this many cause. If you can support the event, the Blue Barn is of course a very worthy Omaha non-profit.
Matt Cox and Josh Hoyer play June 22, 10 p.m., at Mojo’s in Aksarben Village.
Lincoln’s Southepointe Pavillions, 27th & Pine Lake Road, presents their BBQ & Blues Fest Saturday, June 23 with Magic Slim & The Teardrops (9 p.m.), Levi William (7 p.m.), Honeyboy Turner (5 p.m.) and more. See southpointeshopping.com.
Buddy Guy and Jonny Lang play Harrah’s Stir Cove Sunday, June 24. See 8 Days.