XOXO: Mark your calendars

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Where bad decisions are made public. This week, Martina McBride, XIXA, Zach Williams, Snarky Puppy, Blue Oyster Cult, Crystal Method, Kevin Costner & Modern West, Boney James, Blackberry Smoke, Tommy Emmanuel, J.D.Simo, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real and more blaze through town. Mark your calendars.

Mark your calendars… 

Thursday, Nov. 4 

Originally known as “Homeless Johnson,” after his dad kicked him out of his house, this emo-rap wordsmith came up with his stage name while living in a ‘94 Corolla. Johnson named his 2015 debut album in honor of his car. With “imperialist privilege and twinkle” in their eyes, Hobo Johnson & The Lovemakers are out for Revenge. At 191 Toole. With Nat Lefkoff and Silk Animus... Native to Chicago, Terry Hanck launched his musical career after relocating to San Francisco in 1969, lured by the sun-drenched surfer lifestyle. “There was never any doubt where I was gonna end up,” he says. But the Golden City wasn’t very welcoming once his band started gigging. “We were too bluesy for the funk crowd, too funky for the rock ’n’ rollers,” Hanck recalls. “They all hated us, except the musicians. That’s always death, you know.” Then along came Elvin Bishop, who recruited Hanck to play on what became his classic album, Struttin’ My Stuff (1975). He toured the world with Bishop for over a decade, growling, squonking, and soaring notes on his tenor, until 1987 when he bowed out to pursue a solo career. Master saxophonist Terry Hanck returns with his latest release, I Still Get Excited (2019). At Monterey Court. With Porch Rockers... 

Friday, Nov. 5 

Imbued with strains of honky-tonk and country folk, Martina McBride’s major label debut The Time Has Come (1992) established the fresh-faced country singer as a neo-traditionalist. Over time, developing a decidedly more country-pop crossover sound, she racked up a string of hit singles, five of which soared to No. 1 on the Billboard charts. Accolades, numerous awards and Grammy nominations aside, motherhood prompted McBride to take a step back from touring to be present in her daughters’ lives. Recently, following her appearance on Songland (a TV series where superstars turn undiscovered songwriters’ dreams into their next hit songs), McBride released “Girls Like Me.” Penned by then-19-year-old Nashville songwriter Halie Wooldridge, this empowering anthem for women peaked at No. 6 on Billboard’s country digital song sales chart. Martina McBride remains “Forever Country.” At Tucson Music Hall... Best known for his roles in JFK, The Bodyguard and Field of Dreams, actor Kevin Costner threw a curveball in 2007 by forming a country rock band, Modern West, that features three Tucsonans: John Coinman, Blair Forward and Larry Cobb. Sixteen years later, Costner’s work in Yellowstone (Paramount Network)—in the role of John Dutton, a father and widower battling corrupt forces scheming to take his land—became the inspiration for their latest album. Oscar-winning actor Kevin Costner & Modern West retell Tales from Yellowstone. At AVA Amphitheater... Formed in the spring of 1970, by three former members of The Candymen, this band of honeyed Georgians has been described as “a more radio-friendly version of Lynyrd Skynyrd or the Allman Brothers.” Atlanta Rhythm Section hit the upper stratum of the charts during the 1970s with a stream of soft rock singles, including “So Into You,” “Imaginary Lover” and “Spooky.” Despite the vicissitudes of time—rash departures, bouts of depression, alcoholism, a police shooting, broken bones and battles with severe illness, heart attacks and sudden death—they abide and remain an integral part of Southern rock history. Atlanta Rhythm Section with special guests Firefall perform their greatest hits. At Fox Tucson Theatre... They emerged in the mid-aughts during bandleader Michael League’s second year at the University of North Texas. “Because I was so bad,” he recalls. “I didn’t place into any of the school ensembles. Snarky Puppy was my way of getting to play.” After a decade of relentless touring, in relative obscurity, this genre-bending quasi-collective began to get noticed. Their latest release, Live at the Royal Albert Hall (2020) won a Grammy Award, the band’s fourth. Not exactly a jazz band, nor a fusion band, and definitely not a jam band, they are what they are. Snarky Puppy remain in flux. At Rialto Theater... During the early 1990s, alongside The Chemical Brothers and Fatboy Slim, this Las Vegan electronic music duo helped pioneer the big beat sound, inspiring tracks that still bang today. The Crystal Method are making The Trip Home. At 191 Toole. With Lunarfluxx... Named after the band’s practice space, Auntie Ramos’ Pool Hall (1990) was produced by Rich Hopkins and David Slutes. United Press International praised the “big, blasting rock sound that begs to be played at top volume,” and noted that the album is “anchored by the raging one-note guitar solos of Rich Hopkins.” Lead single “We Don’t Do That Anymore”—which peaked at No. 23 on Billboard’s Modern Rock Tracks chart—captures Sidewinders at their zenith, before legal entanglements and record industry cuacha exacerbated a break-up. Sidewinders commemorate the 30th anniversary of this milestone release. At Hotel Congress (plaza). With Pet the Fish... 

Saturday, Nov. 6  

Akin to a shaman-led ayahuasca ceremony, traversing a surreal desert landscape, XIXA has been on a mystic quest to decipher the mysteries of an unwritten language since the band’s first EP, Shift and Shadow (2013). The band’s latest LP, Genesis (2021), delves into the age-old battle between good and evil. “That’s a thematic cloud throughout the entire album and surely a relevant topic in today’s current affairs,” Brian Lopez says. “I get out into the desert and it’s insane and prickly and fierce. There’s beauty to it. But, it’s bleak out there, and ruthless. I think about the music we’re making like that.” XIXA headlines Luz De Vida II, a benefit concert for families impacted by homicide. At MSA Annex Festival Grounds. With Soda Sun and Hannah Yeun... After spending five years on the road, indulging fully in the life of the proverbial rock star while touring with Southern rockers The Reformation, Zach Williams hit rock bottom. After the band imploded, with a wife, two children (and a third on the way), Williams realized just how far he’d deviated from the path, given that rock music is generally being regarded as sinful, particularly in the South. Williams turned to religion and became worship leader of a Jonesboro Baptist church in 2014. Since then, Williams has become one of contemporary Christian music’s leading artists, recently winning a Grammy for “There Was Jesus” with country superstar Dolly Parton. Chain Breaker Zach Williams tells his Rescue Story. At Tucson Music Hall... “Beer Buddies” Zach Scott, Parmalee and Adam Doleac lead a country music stampede. At AVA Amphitheater... Tommy Emmanuel received his first guitar in 1959 at age 4 to accompany his lap-steel-playing mother. He soon became fascinated by Chet Atkins’s complex fingerpicking technique—using the thumb and fingers to simultaneously play bass lines, melodies, and harmonies—and worked to master it. Now, in a career spanning six decades—in 2011 he was inducted into the Australian Roll of Renown for his lasting contributions to music—Emmanuel is widely regarded as one of the greatest acoustic guitarists of all time. His effortless command of the instrument only comes after a lifetime of dedication. But, it’s more than that. “Joy,” Emmanuel says. “I’m chasing it through music. When I was a kid, I wanted to be in show business. Now, I make music, and [people] get happy. That’s a good job.” Guitar virtuoso Tommy Emmanuel shines. At Fox Tucson Theatre... Distilled through the bong water of the 1970s, the proto-metal of Sabbath, and the biker rock of Steppenwolf—with a lyrical bent suffused with grim reapers, extraterrestrials, Godzilla and tattooed vampires—Blue Öyster Cult’s 1972 self-titled debut album quickly established these Long Islanders as radio-friendly heavy metal pioneers. Blue Öyster Cult continue to deliver the classics to die-hard acolytes and “teenagers with green hair.” At Rialto Theater. With Joe Peña... The Michigan Rattlers recount heavy-hearted folktales punctuated by a solid dose of countrified rock. At 191 Toole. With Beth Bombara... 

Sunday, Nov. 7 

“A solid relationship is when someone has your back and will stand by your side no matter what,” explains Boney James about the inspiration for his seventeenth album, Solid (2020). A four-time Grammy nominee, a Soul Train Award winner, and two-time NAACP Image Award nominee. Saxophonist Boney James continues to break down society’s perceived boundaries. At Fox Tucson Theatre... Recently, in an interview with NY’s Q104.3, Blackberry Smoke’s Charlie Starr talked about the inspiration for the title track to their new album, You Hear Georgia (2021). While having coffee one morning, listening to the news, Starr recalls, “There was a guy being interviewed, [with] a very thick Southern accent. It was serious what they were talking about, but it made me smile. I wonder if people hear what he’s saying or just how he says it?” Blackberry Smoke are “Old Enough To Know.” At Rialto Theater. With Myron Elkins... 

Monday, Nov. 8

A term of endearment in German, “Schatze,” this band’s latest single has been described as “a character study of the selfish antisocial male.” Originally from Normal, Illinois, indie folk-rockers Ohtis are anything but. At Club Congress. With JRCG... 

Tuesday, Nov. 9

Since discovering a musical kinship, Liz Cerepanya and Peter Dalton Ronstadt have been fixtures on the local music scene. Backed by a who’s who of Tucson musicians—Don Armstrong on banjo, Matt Rolland on fiddle (Run Boy Run), Bobby Ronstadt on piano and accordion (P.D. Ronstadt & The Co.), Alvin Blaine on guitars and steel (Heather Hardy) and Ed Friedland on bass (The Mavericks)—Liz & Pete celebrate the release of Beautiful Strangers. At Hotel Congress (plaza)... This Chicago-born, Nashville transplant is a one-man crusade dedicated to keeping music real, raw and honest. As a songwriter, guitarist, and producer, he has worked with Jack White, Tommy Emmanuel, Luther Dickinson, Blackberry Smoke and even Grateful Dead founder Phil Lesh. “One Of Those Days” from his self-titled album drips of the sweetest R&B/soul treacly. Check it out. J.D. Simo performs at 191 Toole. With GA-20... 

Wednesday, Nov. 10 

This experimental-music and art collective—using found and re-appropriated sounds to create semi-musical collages—have critiqued religion and guns, capitalism and copyright laws in their work. Negativland prefer the term “culture jamming” to describe their particular brand of subversive media manipulation. It’s normal for some things to come to your attention. Negativland in collaboration with visual artist SUE-C, presents a new AV performance project. At Club Congress... 

Thursday, Nov. 11 

California country rock outfit Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real will “send you the music, like a dream.” At Rialto Theater... With a tongue-in-cheek obsession with horror movies and cartoonish violence, UK psychobilly pioneers The Meteors do unspeakable things. Kidding, really. At Club Congress... 

Until next week, XOXO...


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