Immersed as much in Howlin' Wolf as Stevie Ray Vaughan, the Atlanta-based Sean Costello may be the most respected of the last decade's young white blues phenoms. Costello made his rep wowing crowds at Helena's King Biscuit Blues Festival as a 16-year-old. Finally legal, Costello released his third album last year with the fine Moanin' For Molasses. He's a rarity -- a young white blues hope who can play and sing but who rarely overplays or oversings. And he does a shockingly good James Brown impression. He can't write much, but one look at the way he meshes scalding solos with a tasteful approach to the blues and you'll see why he's become such a fave on the contemporary blues scene. Costello will be at B.B. King's on Friday, June 14th, and Saturday, June 15th. -- Chris Herrington
If Steve Earle had never written anything other than the moonshiners' anthem "Copperhead Road," he still would have gone down in alt-country history. Fortunately, the surly songsmith was tenacious. His career managed to survive a battery of addictions, a stint in prison, and even a brief flirtation with Celtic music, and, nowadays, this insider's outlaw is generally regarded as one of Music City U.S.A.'s finest. But the moment of truth is at hand. Can Steve Earle's career survive a collection of semiautobiographical short stories loosely based on his own rambunctious life as a country legend? Only time will tell. In the meantime, you can hightail it down to Off Square Books in Oxford town on Friday, June 14th, to get your very own copy of Doghouse Roses (this month in paperback from Mariner Books) and hear the author read his favorite selections. The booksigning begins at 1 p.m.
Brooklyn indie rockers The High Strung are one of any number of bands to crop up in recent years that desperately want to be the post-Revolver Beatles. You can hear traces of the Fab Four in every harmony, lurching melody, and sudden time change. While this kind of sonic appropriation can be tiresome in theory, the High Strung get away with it. In their hands, it's more homage than theft, and considering they only claim to be influenced by the "raw core energy of Detroit Rock & Roll," it might even be unconscious. But that's doubtful. The High Strung will be at the Hi-Tone Café on Thursday, June 13th. -- Chris Davis