In the last couple of years, vocalist Nikki Hill has been called “the Southern Fireball,” “the new soul sensation,” an “amazing R&B shouter” and even “the new Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll.” Her high-octane presence and the high-powered guitar licks of her husband Matt Hill have been sizzling across stages in the U.S. and Europe. Hill ferociously channels Stax soul and primal, early rock ‘n’ soul vibes. Check out nikkihillmusic.com and see why there is such buzz about this band. Nikki Hill plays Lincoln’s Zoo Bar Wednesday, Dec. 18, and The 21st Saloon Thursday, Dec. 19. Both shows are 6-9 p.m.
Minneapolis piano man Scottie Miller is at McKenna’s for a special show Wednesday, Dec. 18, 8 p.m. for one 90-minute set. 40SINNERS opens at 7 p.m. There is a $5 cover. Miller hits Lincoln’s Zoo Bar Thursday, Dec. 19, 6-9 p.m. Miller’s “day job” is playing keyboards in multiple-Grammy-nominee Ruthie Foster’s band. Fronting his own band, Miller makes soulful and sensational music that is rooted in New Orleans’ piano blues with jazz and Americana influences. His fine, original songs and beautiful vocals are supported by his extremely talented musicians including Joe Cruz on guitar and mandolin. Blues Revue magazine said Miller’s music “sounds like Dr. John meets The Band at Bruce Springsteen’s house.”
Jon Dee Graham
Hoodoo favorite Jon Dee Graham returns to Lincoln’s Zoo Bar Monday, Dec. 16, 7 p.m. Touring with Austin-based singer-songwriter Mike June, Graham and June will perform short acoustic sets and then Graham will sit in with the Zoo Bar house band. Graham’s previous visits performing with some of Lincoln’s finest musicians have yielded some pretty electrifying sets. Graham is a three-time inductee into the Austin Music Hall of Fame. His original songs are filled with hope, power and the poetry of everyday life. See jondeegraham.com.
The 21st Saloon presents the Ori Naftaly Band from Israel Thursday, Dec. 12, 6-9 p.m. Naftaly’s band was a semi-finalist in last year’s International Blues Challenge and is the 2013 winner of the Israeli Blues Challenge. The band’s latest CD, Happy for Good, spent three consecutive weeks in the Top 5 of the International Blues Radio Airplay Charts. For more on the band visit orinaftaly.com.
Earl and Them is back. The band, featuring Jason Davis, Earl Cate of the Cate Brothers and Terry Cagle, nephew of Levon Helm, on drums, are back at the Zoo Bar Friday, Dec. 13, 9 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 14, 6 p.m.