Since 2003, local musician Lash LaRue has been hosting events to gather toys for the children of the Pine Ridge Reservation. This is the poorest zip code in the U.S. and without donations, most children and families would have nothing to celebrate Christmas. This year’s concert events happen this weekend, beginning Thursday, Nov. 29, 8 p.m., at The Waiting Room, with the CD release and listening party for Vol. IV of the benefit CD series. The disc showcases original tracks composed and recorded by local musicians for the Toy Drive.

Friday, Nov. 30, 8 p.m. at The Side Door Lounge catch Michael Campbell, Korey Anderson, All Young Girls Are Machine Guns, Gunnar Guenette and Lash himself. At The Waiting Room Saturday, Dec. 1, acts performing are The Blacktop Ramblers, Cannonista and Secret Weapon. Admission to each of the Friday and Saturday shows is $10 or a new, unwrapped toy of equal or greater value.

The Blues Society of Omaha-sponsored show is Sunday, Dec. 2, at The 21st Saloon featuring Grammy Award winner Chubby Carrier & the Bayou Swamp Band. Music starts at 3 p.m. with The Loose Brothers (Gunnar Guenette, Craig Balderston, Elwin Moseman) and Christy Rossiter & 112 North Duck. Admission to this show is $10 cash. Toy donations of new, unwrapped toys are also encouraged.

Tune in to 89.7 The River next Sunday, Dec. 9, 8 a.m.-noon for Toy Drive live in the studio with special guests plus featured tracks from the benefit CDs Vols. I-IV.

See ToyDriveForPineRidge.com for details, including statistics on the level of poverty and conditions on the reservation. Beyond toys, which give kids hope at the holiday, the Toy Drive donates blankets and contributes to the emergency heating fund.

21st Saloon Music

See Bryan Lee, a 2010 Grammy nominee, in what I believe is his Omaha debut. The popular New Orleans guitarist and 50-year veteran of the blues plugs in at The 21st Thursday, Nov. 29, 5:30 p.m.

Hoodoo favorites, Tex-Mex blues-rockers Jim Suhler & Monkey Beat hit the stage Thursday, Dec. 6. They match virtuoso musicianship with big fun and fine, danceable original tunes.

Hot Notes

Brad Hoshaw and Elizabeth Webb have been collaborating with the Blue Barn Theatre on music for a project with a murderous theme. Grass So Tall, Sky So Black opens Nov. 30 at the Blue Barn. See Facebook.com/bbwitchinghour.

Three-time Austin Music Hall of Fame inductee Jon Dee Graham plays Sunday Roadhouse at the Side Door Lounge Dec. 9, 5 p.m.


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