Community radio station WEVL-FM 89.9 brings out the big guns this week for its annual spring concert, boasting a triple-bill of some of the local scene's most compelling artists. The concert, set for Saturday, March 7th, at the Hi-Tone Café, will feature the brooding, introspective, darkly comic rock of songwriter Harlan T. Bobo, the beautiful, bent pop of Vending Machine, and the versatile, inspired, melodically adept bar-band rock of John Paul Keith & The One Four Fives. Showtime is 10 p.m. Admission is $10, with proceeds going to support WEVL. For more information, see WEVL.org.
Downtown's Center for Southern Folklore is offering a musical refuge for downtown workers (and other interested parties) at its Folklore Store (123 S. Main) on Thursdays and Fridays. The center's "Brown Bag Concerts" series is providing free entertainment at noon on those days. Recent performers have included Nancy Apple, Randal Morton, and Caleb Sweazy.
The series continues this week with the jug band and bluegrass stylings of local roots-music ensemble The Bluff City Backsliders on Thursday, March 5th. The next day, Vakeita Barrett and D. Lemont Stanford will bring a gospel-jazz sound to the center.
Though attendees are welcome to purchase — with chili, greens, hot water cornbread, and peach cobbler on the menu — they also can bring their own lunch to the beat-wise oasis in the middle of the workday. (Also at the center this week are blues stalwarts The Daddy Mack Blues Band, who perform Saturday, March 7th, at 9 p.m. Admission is $5.)
With co-frontman Patterson Hood felled by walking pneumonia and forcing colleague Mike Cooley to carry the load on a couple of recent dates, sublime Southern rockers Drive-By Truckers had to cancel a February 27th concert at the New Daisy Theatre. But the Truckers have rescheduled the Daisy show for March 27th. Tickets to the February show are still good for the March make-up, though refunds should be available at the point of purchase.
In the meantime, the Daisy will host a Tora Tora reunion concert this weekend. One of the many quasi-success stories that have dotted the Memphis music landscape in the years after the city's '50s to '70s heyday, Tora Tora was the city's best hope in the halcyon hard-rock era of the late '80s, the most likely locals to follow bands like Guns 'n' Roses and Skid Row up the national charts. The band landed a major-label deal with A&M and saw their 1989 debut Surprise! Attack hit the Billboard Top 50. The band's stay at the top was short-lived, but they made it further than any of their local contemporaries or many other local bands since. Back together, Tora Tora will bring the rock at the Daisy Saturday, March 7th. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $16 in advance and $18 at the door. Stiff Kitty opens.
For something a little different, Steep Canyon Rangers, a five-piece bluegrass band from Asheville, North Carolina, which has made multiple appearances at the Grand Ole Opry and been nominated for several awards by the Bluegrass Music Association, will perform at the Lucy Opry at the Bartlett Performing Arts Center Friday, March 6th. Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets are $20.
Former Halfacre Gunroom frontman Bryan Hartley will be in town for a free performance Friday, March 6th, at Shangri-La Records. Hartley will perform at 6 p.m., with the store's entire stock 20 percent off from 5 to 7 p.m.