Let The Good Times Roll!

Budgets seem to be on everyone’s minds, from our own kitchen tables to Washington D.C. and Wisconsin. So this week, I thought I’d give The Tennessean’s Ms. Cheap a run for her well-pinched pennies and write about Nashville’s biggest live-music bargain.

On any given week, the Music City Roots lineup is easily worth three times the $10 admission, but this Wednesday, it’s serious sticker shock – really, really great sticker shock. For the price of a movie ticket, you get:

+ Raul Malo, one of the truly great voices of our age. He and his new band will do a wide-ranging set drawing from the soulful country he topped the charts with The Mavericks in the ‘90s, as well as the Latin and trad-pop sounds that fill his latest CD, Saints and Sinners.

+ The Grascals, two-time IBMA Entertainers of the Year. They field the smoothest vocal trio this side of the classic Osborne Brothers – Jamie Johnson, Terry Smith and Terry Eldredge – and feature a hot team of star pickers – Danny Roberts on mandolin, Jeremy Abshire on fiddle and three-time IBMA Banjo Player of the Year Kristin Scott Benson. Their latest, The Grascals and Friends, features a host of country stars and is their top-selling CD to date, but the real “stars” are The Grascals themselves..

+ The Matt Flinner Trio has three CDs on Alison Brown’s Compass Records featuring their new-acoustic blend of bluegrass, jazz, classical and world music spearheaded by Flinner’s fluent mandolin (their latest is Music Du Jour). If you like Chris Thile or David Grisman, you’re sure to be a Flinner fan.

+ From Boston comes Miss Tess & the Bon Ton Parade, featuring the singer-songwriter’s unique “Modern Vintage” stylings. Her wide-ranging mix of old and new has made her one of the top acts in the hotly competitive Boston folk music scene. She makes her third MCR appearance this week.

+ And keeping with the MCR motto, “Back to the roots, welcome to the future,” this week’s Vietti Chili Emerging Artist is the North Carolina duo of Darin and Brooke Aldridge, romantic and musical partners quickly making a mark in contemporary bluegrass.

Five acts for the cost of a visit to your local Cineplex. Plus, instead of stale, yellow-lube popcorn or overpriced sugary drinks, MCR food choices include hot Loveless fried chicken and cold Blackstone Brewery beer.

So get a jump on Mardi Gras with a Fat Wednesday that won’t break the bank. Let the good times – and the biscuits – roll.

But a word to the penny-wise – this one looks to sell out fast. Get your tickets now.

Larry Nager

This week’s guest journalist Larry Nager is the author of Memphis Beat and writer and co-producer of the documentary Bill Monroe: Father of Bluegrass Music.

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