Saturday, January 20, 2018
Music News, Concert Reviews

SoundCheck: Zac Brown Band among top live music picks

Zac Brown Band

With Kacey Musgraves

Details: Tonight and Friday, 7 p.m. MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, 4802 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. $31.50-$79.50. (813) 740-2446.

There's going to be more than a little bit of Chicken Fried in the house when country music's cuddliest, arguably best-bearded, crossover star, Zac Brown, brings his band to play a two-night stand at the amphitheatre. At the ripe old age of 36, Brown can already lay claim to being a multiple Grammy winner, and while he hasn't released an album since 2012's Uncaged, his recently expanded band is touring behind the impending release of The Grohl Sessions Vol. 1, a project produced by Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl. Brown is also riding high on the recent birth of his fifth child (and first son). But the best treat about these two shows is that last year's Best Country Album Grammy winner, Kacey Musgraves, will open them both.

Will Quinlan

With Mountain Holler

Details: Sunday 7 p.m. Independent, 5020 N Florida Ave., Tampa, Free. (813) 341-4883.

A set from Will Quinlan isn't the rarest happening in bay area live music. Being able to see Quinlan use his distinct voice to play his sometimes downtrodden, superliterate and always enthralling brand of dusty country folk in such an intimate, low-key setting is a pretty nice treat though. Throw in the fact that the itinerary also includes Mountain Holler, a.k.a. Mark Etherington, and what you have is a bill featuring two of the area's most distinct songsmiths showcasing work at two different points in their careers. Quinlan is a tried-and-true bay area favorite while Etherington, whose main gig is drumming in a five-piece instrumental post-rock act, is just beginning to spread the wings of what will probably be a long and fulfilling solo existence.

Drive-By Truckers

With Water Liars

Details: Tuesday 7:30 p.m. Tampa Theatre, 711 N Franklin St., Tampa. $29-$37.50. (813) 274-8981.

The Tampa Theatre has boasted a curiously appealing live music lineup of late, and this booking is the most intriguing of all. Over the past two decades alt-country kings the Drive-By Truckers have released albums that range from forgettable (sorry, A Blessing and A Curse was okay, but it isn't near DBT's best) to downright brilliant (Decoration Day, Southern Rock Opera). They've famously swapped personnel along the way thanks to the 2007 departure of Jason Isbell, which led to the permanent addition of part-time guitarist John Neff, and this tour finds the Truckers touring behind a brand new album (English Oceans) where guitarist Mike Cooley celebrates beating a publicized bout with writer's block by contributing six of the LP's 13 cuts.

Trae Pierce & T Stone Band

Details: Tuesday 7 p.m. Skipper's Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Road, Tampa. $5. (813) 971-0666.

How rowdy could Skipper's Smokehouse possibly get on a Tuesday night? Head out to this show by Daytona Beach's Trae Pierce and find out. The Miami-born, top-hat loving bluesman, is a four-time Grammy winner who plays his bass like he's a lead guitar player. It's extra potent on songs like Good Days, where low octave solos get rattled off before he flips on his Talkbox, creating raucous, wallshaking cuts that Peter Frampton would be proud of. Pierce has been playing music since he was 7 years old, and his musical curiosity and skill have earned him shows alongside Blind Boys of Alabama, Peter Gabriel and even James Brown while also affording him the opportunity to produce and record along an eclectic lineup of artists including Jodeci, Flava Flav, Phil Collins and the late Lou Reed.

The Grecian Urns (Reunion)

With Alexander & the Grapes, the Happiness Machine

Details: Saturday 7:30 p.m. Green Bench Brewing Co., 1133 Baum Ave. N, St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 800-9836.

It feels like forever, but its been only four years since Pinellas-based folkpop collective the Grecian Urns unleashed their one and only album Lovedream, a nearly perfect 45-minute dose of gorgeous, intricate, orchestral pop that is both lovable on first listen and refreshingly rewarding with each repeated playback. The band composed of family members and close friends who all went to grade school together always played a sporadic show schedule (c'mon, who really needs college anyway?) and they're finally emerging from seemingly permanent hiatus for this free, one-off show at what's becoming St. Pete's best new place to catch live music, Green Bench Brewery. Two of St. Pete's best bands — Urnsesque the Happiness Machine and folk rock savants Alexander & the Grapes — play support on what could be one of the best local shows of the year.

Times correspondent Ray Roa can be reached at suburbanapologist.com.

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