Butch Hancock, Holy Grail, Kenny Loggins and more

Music editor Stephen Seigel is away from his desk for a couple of weeks. He will return to action with the Oct. 3 issue. In the meantime, the concert season is in full swing.


In the second decade of the 21st century, we pretty much take for granted the concept of progressive, or alternative, country music. But some 40 years ago, the style was in its infancy, just forming and roughly parallel to strains of country-rock and outlaw country. Nashville-reared musical conventions took a back seat to songwriting integrity and gritty musical roughhousing.

In the center of the progressive country trend was a then-struggling and now-legendary Lubbock, Texas-based trio known as The Flatlanders. The group was comprised of singer-songwriters and school chums Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Joe Ely and Butch Hancock, each of whom has enjoyed varying levels of success with solo careers since then. Their music in the early '70s, however, was criminally overlooked, poorly marketed and spottily recorded; they didn't get the recognition they deserved until a 1990 compilation of their recorded history, More a Legend Than a Band. The subsequent attention caused the trio to come back together for a few albums of new material since then.

Hancock is a country-folk troubadour at heart, with stylistic lineage that extends through Bob Dylan to Woody Guthrie.

Hancock will perform at 7:30 p.m. next Thursday, Sept. 26, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. The show is being presented by Rhythm and Roots.

Like his brethren Gilmore and Ely, Hancock has been actively recording solo material throughout most of the last four decades, alternating with stints as white-water river guide and a fine-art photographer. He started his own label, Rainlight Records, in the 1970s, releasing such classic albums as West Texas Waltzes and Dust-Blown Tractor Tunes and The Wind's Dominion.

In fact, Hancock's tunes often have been championed by Ely and Gilmore, both of whom recorded them and brought to wider attention, proving Hancock is the songwriter's songwriter. Among the Hancock tunes you may have heard are "She Never Spoke Spanish to Me," "Boxcars," "West Texas Waltz" and "If I Were a Bluebird," the last two both covered by Emmylou Harris.

If he wasn't already considered a songwriter's songwriter, Hancock proved it in 1990, when he and some two dozen musician pals presented the event No Two Alike, performing six straight nights at the Cactus Cafe in Austin, recording 140 of Hancock's songs. The shows were recorded and released later that year as the No Two Alike Tape of the Month Club.

Hancock's last solo album was War and Peace, was released in 2006 and addressed the Iraq War while taking to task then-President George W. Bush. But he has recorded again with The Flatlanders since then—that band's Hills and Valleys was released in 2009, and a reissue of their The Odessa Tapes (originally recorded in 1972) came out last year.

Tickets for Hancock's show cost $18 in advance, and are available at Hotel Congress, Antigone Books, Dark Star Leather and all Bookmans locations, online at or by or by calling 800-594-8499.They'll be $23 at the door on the day of the show. Call 319-9966 for more information.


The little old ladies in Pasadena have got nothing on Holy Grail, the rising heavy metal act from that cheery Southern California town. This quartet, which has released two excellent full-length albums and a pair of EPs since its formation five years ago, is something of a throwback to what has now become a classic speed- or thrash-metal sound. Fans of Metallica and Motorhead will like dig these guys.

But the band's post-modern embrace of different metal genres—death metal darkness, stoner-rock jams, the intricate breakdowns of prog, and discernible vocal harmonies—seems thoroughly of the present. Their new album Ride the Void, released early this year, is an up-from-the-underground near-masterwork.

If you are a dedicated headbanger, it might be worth your while can see and hear the band in an intimate setting before they become more popular. That'll be possible this Sunday, Sept. 22, when Holy Grail plays Plush, 340 E. Sixth St. Local thrash bands Thorncaster and Napalm Strike also will be on the bill; the music starts about 9:30 p.m. Tickets will cost $10 at the door. Call 798-1298 for more information.


Among the most popular pop-rock duos of the 1970s was Loggins and Messina, responsible for a great many hits ("Your Mama Don't Dance," "Danny's Song," "House at Pooh Corner") before splitting up to go their separate ways. Now, both Kenny Loggins and former partner Jim Messina will visit Tucson separately in the space of a few weeks.

First up is Loggins, whose post-Messina career was highlighted by writing hits for Michael McDonald ("What a Fool Believes," "This Is It") and being the go-to guy in the '80s for movie soundtracks. His tunes included "I'm Alright" for Caddyshack, "Danger Zone" for Top Gun and "Footloose" from, uh, Footloose.

In addition to becoming a noted adult-contemporary artist, writing music for TV projects and releasing a children's album, Loggins also is a member of the country trio Blue Sky Riders, which released their debut album earlier this year. Loggins also has performed on and off with Messina for reunion tours for the past several years.

Loggins will play with his band at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26, at the Fox Tucson Theatre, 17 W. Congress St. Tickets range in price from $39 to $94, plus any attendant service charges; they are available at the Fox box office, online at or by calling 547-3040.

And if you're wondering about Jim Messina, he'll appear at the same venue on Oct. 6. More on that in coming weeks.


In case you are wondering what happened to Korn, the much-storied '90s alternative metal band never really went away. They've been pluigging away all these years and just about to release their 11th studio album, The Paradigm Shift, which hits stores in October. And the band will headline KFMA's Fall Ball this Sunday, Sept. 22, at the Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium, 2500 E. Ajo Way.

The ball also will feature the following acts: A Day to Remember, P.O.D., Pierce the Veil, Asking Alexandria, Stars in Stereo and American Fangs. It was recently announced that the band Device will not appear, as it was originally expected, because frontman David Draiman (also with the band Disturbed) is sticking close to home with his pregnant wife.

The big news this tour for Korn is the return of guitarist Brian "Head" Welch, who left the band in 2006, evidently a result of his then-newfound Christian faith. But he's back in fold on the new record and playing shows.

Gates open at 12 noon for the concert. Tickets cost $39, plus additional service fees, if applicable. They're available through Saturday, Sept. 21, at all Tucson Pizza Hut locations. On Sunday, the will be available only at the Kino box office. You can also buy tickets online at, which would be a good source of further information.


After postponing its concert a month ago, the Cold War Kids will finally make good on its promise to return for the rescheduled date.

Touring to promote its latest album, Dear Miss Lonelyhearts, the indie rock band from Long Beach, Calif., will play Friday, Sept. 20, at the Rialto Theatre, 311 E. Congress St. The show will open with the band PAPA at 8 p.m. Advance tickets cost $22, plus service charges, and are available at the Rialto box office, online at and by calling 740-1000. On the day of the show, they'll be $25.

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