Lively Entertainment

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Eureka's newest, and best, original music

This weekend, what I truly believe is the best rock band in Arkansas is performing at Squid and Whale Pub both Friday and Saturday evenings. Jonesboro-based Starroy, featured on Page 31 of this week's edition, is about to depart for a European tour, so let's send them off with a band!

If Southern rock and jam is not your flavor, here are some additional recommendations for excellent live music this weekend.

Eureka Springs' newest original music act -- and most impressive yet, as far as I'm concerned -- Chucky Waggs, is finally getting out in public more often. Chucky Waggs, which is actually Adam Wagner of Mountain Sprout fame, opens for the Whistle Pigs Friday night at Chelsea's (starting around 9 p.m.) and then performs a solo show Sunday night at Chelsea's at 7 p.m.

Chucky Waggs features upbeat acoustic guitar music with vocals, in the style of traditional Americana, classic country, folk and blues, with a little bit of old-punk flavor thrown in for good measure -- though the "punk" mostly comes through in the lyrical form, not the musical stylings.

Wagner explains: "The melody and chords and song structure are more rooted in old-time, traditional music, Americana, folk and blues stuff, while the lyrics are a bit more modern -- I still listen to a lot of the old punk bands I grew up with," he says. "One of my favorite songwriters is Shane MacGowan from The Pogues, because he has a way of writing songs that could be 100 years old or they could be current. I'm into that."

Some of Wagner's primary musical influences include singer/songwriters like Hugh Daneal, Todd Snider and Tom Waits, as well as more well-known musicians such as Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Townes Van Zandt, Steve Earle and Jerry Jeff Walker.

And his top five favorite musical acts of all time? Waits, The Pogues, Young, The Ramones and Bob Wills. Nice!

"I don't know that I try to write like those guys, but I'm sure it comes through inadvertently since I have been listening to all of them since I first began listening to music as a child," Wagner said.

The guitarist for Mountain Sprout has been a resident of Eureka Springs since joining that band seven years ago, when the group moved here from New Orleans, he said. He grew up in Southern Illinois.

Chucky Waggs plays mostly originals during his sets, but a few covers are included such as songs by Waits, Daneal, old folk, blues and bluegrass standards, and even a track or two by the group he's opening for Friday, Carbondale, Illinois-based Whistle Pigs. "A lot of the songs I cover are by bands that maybe people in the crowd haven't heard, and I try to tell them where they come from so they'll hopefully go check them out."

Still wondering if you'll dig Chucky Waggs? This might help: If you like anything about Bob Dylan's music or Arlo Guthrie's songwriting, or if you enjoy an energetic acoustic set that somehow never drags and features strong but beautiful male vocals and some gifted guitar-picking, you will love Chucky Waggs.

Also on Friday at Chelsea's, following Chucky Waggs' set, hang around for the Whistle Pigs, one of the Midwest's friendliest and most popular Americana trios.

Their live shows, consisting of vocal harmonies, banjo, accordion, and upright bass, are energetic yet humorous and interactive, making them suitable for the sit-down crowd as well the dancers and the drinkers.

Traveling over 70,000 miles and playing about 200 shows annually, the Whistle Pigs have shared the stage with the likes of The Legendary Shack Shakers, Split Lip Rayfield and Black Oak Arkansas while playing at a wide range of venues, from Yonder Mountain String Band's Harvest Festival to bars and dives, weddings and fish fries.

Admission for Friday night's show at Chelsea's is $5. No charge on Sunday.


* Jack's Place / Centerstage Live, 37 Spring St., 479-253-2219: Karaoke and DJ Goose, 8 p.m. till midnight.

* New Delhi Cafe, 2 N. Main St., 479-253-2525: Ellen Stephenson CD release party, 6 p.m.

* Squid and Whale, 37 Spring St., 479-253-7147: Open Mic Musical Smackdown with Bloody Buddy & Friends


* Berean Coffee House, 4032 E. Van Buren, 479-244-7495: Live music, 7 p.m.

* Cathouse / Pied Piper, 82 Armstrong St., 479-363-9976: Little Buffalo River Band, 8 p.m.

* Chaser's, 169 E. Van Buren, 479-253-5522: Dance Party/DJ, 8 p.m.

* Chelsea's, 10 Mountain St., 479-253-6723: Chucky Waggs opens for Whistle Pigs, 9 p.m.

* Eureka Live!, 35 N. Main St., 479-253-7020: DJ & Dancing 9 p.m. to close

* Jack's Place / Centerstage Live: The Chad Emmert Band, 9 p.m.

* The Lumberyard, 104 E. Van Buren: DJ /Karaoke, 8:30 p.m.

* New Delhi Cafe: Vine Brothers, 6:30 p.m.

* Rowdy Beaver Den, 45 Spring St., 479-363-6444: Rowdy's Jukebox, 7 p.m.

* Rowdy Beaver Tavern, 417 W. Van Buren, 479-253-8544: Rockin' with DJ Mark, 7 p.m.

* Squid & Whale: Starroy, 9 p.m.

* Voulez-Vous Lounge, 63 Spring St., 479-363-6595: Leah and The Mojo Doctors, 9 p.m.


* Cathouse / Pied Piper: Little Buffalo River Band, 8 p.m.

* Chaser's: Swytch, 9 p.m.

* Chelsea's: Dachshund, 9 p.m.

* Eureka Live!: DJ & Dancing 9 p.m. to close

* Jack's Place / Centerstage Live: The Chad Emmert Band, 9 p.m.

* The Lumberyard: Kevin Upshaw and One Night Stand / Birthday party for Kevin Ratkovich, 9 p.m.

* New Delhi Cafe: Skillet Lickers, early afternoon; Mike Blackwell, 6:30 p.m.

* Rowdy Beaver Den: Jesse Dean, 7 p.m.

* Rowdy Beaver Tavern: Another Fine Mess, 6 p.m.

* Squid and Whale: Starroy, 9 p.m.

* Voulez-Vous Lounge: Leah and The Mojo Doctors, 9 p.m.


* Chaser's: Swytch, 8 p.m.

* Chelsea's: Chucky Waggs, 7 p.m.

* Eureka Live!: Customer Appreciation Night specials 5 p.m. to close

* The Lumberyard: Benefit and memorial for Jesse Kurczek, 2-7 p.m.

* New Delhi Cafe: Skinny Gypsies, 4-7 p.m.

* Squid and Whale: Local Kine local musicians showcase, 7 p.m.

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