For kinetic, frenetic live shows, moshers in the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill region tend to gravitate towards this high-energy four-piece. Red Collar is a punky, hardcore buzzsaw-guitar band that - going unpredictably against that particular grain - puts them emphasis on song, story and structure.
"Fugazi Meets Bruce Springsteen" is how one local periodical pundit described the band, and that's not bad for a quickie sum-up. Lead singer and guitarist Jason Kutchma writes everyman lyrics that are angry, angsty and ambitious, and still manage to convey a sense of rock ‘n' roll poetry. They've just self-released their debut album, Pilgrim.
Michael Jackson (yep, that's his name) is the lead guitarist, whose slash-and-burn chords intersect the piledriver rhythms of bassist Beth Kutchma (Mrs. Jason) and drummer Jonathan Truesdale. Listen & Learn: www.redcollarmusic.com. Friday, June 12 at the Jinx, 127 W. Congress St.
The pulse at the heart of this Nashville-based dub/trance quartet comes courtesy of "human drum machine" Ian Hill, and a sampling, looping, tripping combination of MIDI rhythms and rock and R&B-flavored keyboards. John Stuart Peters plays guitar and sings; he and bassist James Fox (these two are the band's founders) value improvisation above all else, resulting in a unique sort of funky, organic electronica. Listen & Learn: www.myspace.com/corleonemusic. Friday, July 12 at Live Wire Music Hall, 307 W. River St. $6 advance, $8 day of show.
An absolute master of the mandolin, Tony Williamson's name belongs right up there alongside David Grisman, Mike Marshall and Sam Bush - he's that good. He's also played with every one of those guys - in fact, the only reason Williamson isn't a household name (among acoustic music aficionados, that is) is that he chooses to live in Siler City, N.C. and operate Mandolin Central, one of the top vintage instrument stores in the country. For Friday's gig at the pickin' parlor at Randy Wood Guitars, he'll be joined by singing sibling Gary Williamson - as the Williamson Brothers, they were favorites on the touring old-time and bluegrass circuit during the 1970s and ‘80s. The lineup also includes clawhammer banjo champ Larry Perkins and acoustic guitarist Rad Andy. Listen & Learn: www.mandolincentral.com. At 8 p.m. Saturday, June 13 at Randy Wood Guitars, 1304 E. Highway 80, Bloomingdale. Tickets $20.
Because they cover Tom Waits' hazily beautiful "Fumblin' With the Blues" on their just-out second album, Slow Stride, Miami's Josue Cruz and Laura Askins get my vote. She's the lead vocalist; he plays acoustic guitar and sings. The other songs, written by Josue and Laura (with the notable exception of the Ned's Atomic Dustbin chestnut "Who Goes First?) are smoky, blues, jazzy acoustic numbers that will appeal immensely to the caffeinated coffeehouse crowd - hence the booking at the Sentient Bean. For the record, the Calahoney couple - they're married - called themselves Skylark up until recently. Listen & Learn: www.calahoney.com. At 8 p.m. Saturday, June 13 at the Sentient Bean, 13 E. Park Ave. Free.