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Sound Advice

The Flyer's music writers tell you where you can go.

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For the past decade, Alan Jackson has been the most reliable music-maker in Nashville. If he's more of a lightweight than heroes such as George Jones and Merle Haggard, well, so is the genre as a whole. And Jackson is a likable lightweight: Strong singer, solid songwriter, sneaky-smart tweaker of the new Nashville. Maybe he's not a "political man" and maybe he doesn't know the "difference between Iraq and Iran" (hopefully, that last part has finally changed), but Jackson's early 9/11 meditation "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)" sure sounds a lot better now that Toby Keith has shown us that country music's only alternative to gentle know-nothingism is aggressive know-nothingism. Jackson's song is as decent as the man himself and far from the best thing on his last album, Drive, in which Jackson wasn't so struck by the significance of the moment that he couldn't lead into "Where Were You" with the title-says-it-all George Strait duet "Designated Drinker." In fact, Jackson's catalog hits all the familiar country-music tropes with such sure craftsmanship and genial aplomb that only the most corn-resistant country hater (or "authenticity" fetishist) could really deny him. Jackson will be performing at Horseshoe Casino Wednesday, September 18th.

Or if you can't be lured down to the casino strip, then Cooper-Young is the place to be. The annual Cooper-Young Festival is set for Saturday, September 14th, at and around that always-hoppin' intersection, with Stax royalty Carla Thomas headlining this year's musical offerings. The music lineup:

Main Stage

12:30 p.m. The University of Memphis

Faculty Jazz Group

1:30 p.m. Los Cantadores

2:30 p.m. Planet Swan

3:30 p.m. Billy Gibson and the King Bees

4:30 p.m. Jackie Johnson

5:30 p.m. Carla Thomas

South Stage

12:30 p.m. Ruby's Cube

1:30 p.m. David Evans and Jobie Kilzer

2:30 p.m. The Teresa Pate Trio

3:30 p.m. The Cooper-Young Jazz Sextet

4:30 p.m. The Daddy Mack Blues Band

And stick around the neighborhood for a Tuesday-night show at Young Avenue Deli for Louisville's VHS or Beta, a traditional rock band that plays straightforward house music and is said to be a blast. --Chris Herrington

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