Sound Bites SMOKIN' BLUEGRASS: The Desert Bluegrass Association sponsors a monthly jam session, free and open to the public whether you want to grab your banjo and sit in or just come to watch. This month's jam begins at 4 p.m. Sunday, December 21, and is held at the Texas T-Bone Restaurant in Bear Canyon Shopping Center, 8981 E. Tanque Verde Road. If it's even half as fun as the bi-weekly Bluegrass jams at the Folk Shop, you won't want to miss out.

Crossroads Magazine, a trade journal produced here in Tucson by Bruce Franks for folk, roots and world music, now features a regular Bluegrass column by Jon Colcord. Colcord suggests that a second coming of Bluegrass is fomenting within the music industry. Among the reasons: increased accessibility, audience diversification, including international interest in the genre, and the absence of Spandex. I suggest that the surge of interest in roots (and roots-inspired) music among younger audiences--to use a tired moniker: be a factor. Regardless whether that's the case, all you No Depression types should head out to the bluegrass jam, check out the fingerpicking of some old hands and show your support for local music.

HOLIDAY PLEASURE: Several weeks back I urged one and all out to The Shelter to be a part of a live CD recording of the Kings of Pleasure. As it turns out, the show didn't record to the band's liking, but in the interest of keeping the ball rolling they headed into the studio and set down the tracks for their second self-produced release, Pleasure Chest. The CD, recorded on local Plez Records, contains eight new original tracks and a series of covers comprising the Kings' characteristically wide range of styles--from mambo and jump swing to rockabilly and the loungiest of jazz. Adhering to the original mission of capturing the band's taut, energetic live charisma, Pleasure Chest was recorded with a fair shake of spontaneity.

The band opens the new year with a string of headlining gigs, as well as opening spots for heavy-hitters Royal Crown Revue and The Brian Setzer Orchestra. Pleasure Chest has already hit the streets, but the big ballyhoo, in the form of a CD release party, takes place Friday, December 19, at the Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Call 622-8848 for more information.

PISTOL TRIPPED: Just when you thought moshing was safe, a recent sound bite from a KMFDM press release reads more like something from Chuck Shepherd's "News of the Weird." Apparently at KMFDM's Rochester, N.Y., show at the Harro East Club, a fan in the mosh pit was not, as he initially thought, kicking around an empty beer bottle. In fact, he was playing a potentially fatal game of footsie with a loaded 9mm Beretta, safety off. It's a fact of life that guns are everywhere these days. What's interesting in this instance is that this particular 9mm happened to belong to an off-duty police officer who, in the midst of dancing, dropped it unnoticed in the melee. It was kicked around for who knows how long. Security retrieved the weapon, and no one was harmed.

LAST NOTES: Speaking of No Depression, there's a relatively new band in town--Creosote--whose members are all old hands with familiar faces. It takes its direction from various roots and vintage country influences, falling toward the Son Volt side of the late great Uncle Tupelo. This ain't no dog and pony show; it's more like an Appalachian front-porch jam with Fender amps and a rock-and-roll pedigree. Since its debut performance at the Wooden Ball last September, Creosote has shifted its line-up and solidified its sound, in the interim making a limited number of well-received appearances on stages around town. If you haven't seen this group yet, make a point of it: Creosote appears with openers The Denizens in downtown venues twice this week: on Thursday, December 18, at The Double Zero, 121 E. Congress St., and on Saturday, December 20, at The Airport Lounge, 20 E. Pennington St. Cover is $3. Call 882-0400 for more information.

The Tucson Kitchen Musicians Association is sponsoring an Acoustic Christmas Concert, their annual holiday fund-raising event, at 7 p.m. Friday, December 19, at the Unitarian Universalist Church. The concert raises funds for the organization's sponsorship of the Tucson Folk Festival. Line-up includes Stefan George and Lavinia White, Womensong, Elise Grecco, Linda Lou & The Drifters, the Lonesome Strangers, and the trio of Peter McLaughlin, Chris Brashear & Evan Dane. Cover is $6, $5 for TKMA, KCXI, TBS and TFTM members, with children admitted free. Call 319-8599 for more information.

It's party season. And with that in mind, Soul Cracker dresses it up at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, December 20, in the red velvet opulence of the Third Stone's stage in celebration of its new release, Beyond 7 (there's something really familiar about that name...). Soul Cracker, hailing from San Diego, appears regularly at the Third Stone Bar & Grill, 500 N. Fourth Ave. The group will have CD's and all the usual merchandise available for your conspicuous holiday consumption. Call 628-8844 for more information.

Very recently I cracked open a fortune cookie to find a message inside that read: "Party! Get naked! Buy us beer!" I think it's a reference to the fact that on January 4, the Congo heats up--it's martini time, folks! Tickets go on sale Friday, December 19, at the Hotel Congress for The Reverend Horton Heat's next Tucson rampage.

HITTING THE ROAD: Reliable sources have confirmed that the Yuletide will bring with it sweeping new waves of change at the Little Station That Could, known by all as KFMA, 92.1 FM. Come January 1, Spyder Rhodes will be leaving the airwaves to pursue other, more academic interests. One of the station's most popular and visible deejays, Rhodes--just this year voted Best Radio DJ in our Best of Tucson readers' poll--has established a himself as a major presence in the Tucson music scene, with his patented "Eat Your Eighties" lunchtime show. No word yet on whether Spyder's departure means the end of "Eat You Eighties," but seriously, no one else could serve them up like Spyder does. Good luck, Spyder--we'll miss you.

Other radio news: Radio Limbo=KAMP. That's right, as a service to all the curious yet out-of-range (and let's face it, just about everyone in Tucson is out-of-range of KAMP), Radio Limbo has replaced its daytime static with broadcasts of KAMP Student Radio. So tune your FM dial to 103.3 on weekdays to pick up KAMP prior to the regularly scheduled Radio Limbo broadcasts, which begin at 6 p.m. on weekdays and noon on weekends. TW

--Lisa Weeks

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