Soundchecks: Erin Johns, John Bias, Parker Gispert, Solid Country Gold, Gregory Alan Isakov

Live music to catch this week

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PROVIDED
  • Provided

PROPULSIVE FOLK-BLUES | Erin Johns
Thurs. Jan. 10
6 p.m.
Free
Pour House

When singer/songwriter Erin Johns heard the Indigo Girls for the first time, she was both entranced and kind of pissed. "I remember thinking, 'I was gonna do that!'" she says with a laugh. "That was gonna be my sound! And a week later I bought a guitar." Unfortunately, things didn't happen for Johns right away, as a guitar player or a songwriter. "For a year, I couldn't make anything happen," she says. "It was terrible. I would play for like 10 hours a day if I had the time, and I couldn't do anything. And I didn't know what I was going to do! But I couldn't imagine giving it up when I felt so strongly about it. And then one day I could do it. It all kind of happened at once. Once I could start playing, I started writing songs." As a performer, Johns leans more towards the guitar-pummeling passion of Indigo Girl Amy Ray than the more delicate work of Emily Saliers, though she says she's an amalgam of both. "I sort of just surrender to the music," she says. "I put my whole soul into it and let it go and hopefully people like it." —Vincent Harris THURSDAY

PROVIDED
  • Provided

PSYCHEDELIC | John Bias
w/ Secret Nudist Friend, Psychic Pets
Thurs. Jan. 10
9 p.m.
$7
Tin Roof

The dream of the '60s are alive in John Bias. His 2017 LP Pandemonium & the Ever-Expanding Inexplicable Sound showed a high aptitude for acid-trip interludes and power-pop guitar riffs. "We just do what we like to do," says Bias. "We just play rock 'n' roll. At the end of the day, that's all we really want to do." Songs like "I'm Fine (Woo!)" and "Throwin' Up" are speed-swinging tracks, while "Your Stranger" puts a little modern indie inflection on the retro stylings of the rest of the album. Currently, Bias is hard at work on another LP, called Confirmation Bias, with an estimated release date of spring. The show at the Tin Roof will be one of the rare times Bias goes it alone, accompanied only by his acoustic guitar. This stands in contrast to his recorded music, which has several working parts at all times. "It's something that I'm just doing to get out of my comfort zone a little bit," he says. —Heath Ellison THURSDAY

ALEXA KING
  • Alexa King

Indie folk | Parker Gispert
w/ Andrew Hellier (of Rotoglow), Tom Mackell
Thurs. Jan. 10
9 p.m.
$5
The Royal American

Parker Gispert (of the Whigs fame) recorded his debut solo album Sunlight Tonight, out now, on a hemp farm outside of Nashville, where he relocated, from Athens, for a year. "The environment grounded me in a way I've never felt before or since," he says. With the Whigs not up to much, Gispert took advantage of the opportunity to slow down and bask in a place with no internet, AC, or heat. "I spent most of my days sitting next to a creek or out in the middle of a meadow with my acoustic guitar taking in the beauty of the landscape," he says. "I felt like I got to know the land well enough that it became my collaborator in the sense that a lot of the music on the album is my attempt at personifying the environment musically. I wanted people to hear the pastoral landscape." Sometimes getting inspiration for a song was as easy as looking skyward. "Anytime I was at a crossroads lyrically, I would literally look up and see something like the juxtaposed poetry of an airplane flying through the sky while there was simultaneously a bird soaring, which is where I got the line 'Birds racing airplanes' in 'Magnolia Sunrise.' So a lot of the record was right there in front of me and I just had to be present enough to properly articulate it." And sometimes all he had to do was go for a walk to the river and back with his guitar. "By the time I got back to the house I'd usually have a new song," he says. "The property felt like a friend who was looking out for me, inspiring me, and providing a barrier between myself and reality." Sunlight Tonight was produced, mixed, and engineered by Emery Dobyns, who also played bass and keys and sang backup on the album. It was recorded at Blackbird Studio in Nashville. —Kelly Rae Smith THURSDAY

JONATHON STOUT FILE PHOTO
  • Jonathon Stout file photo

Country | Solid Country Gold
Sun. Jan. 13
9 p.m.
Free
The Commodore

Don your favorite snappy Western shirt, gather your pardners, and giddy up to the Commodore for Solid Country Gold Sunday, complete with mechanical bull riding. That's right, you can catch great country music (think Hank Williams, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash) and test your ability to tame the beast or get bucked. Performing at last year's City Paper Best Of party, Solid Country Gold features the vocal skills of OHM Radio host Matt Williams, plus Mark Davis on harp, Charlie Thompson on pedal steel, Rob Williams on guitar and vocals, Brent Poulson on bass, and Dan Logan on drums. This is a weekly event so make it a part of your future Sunday Fundays. —Kelly Rae Smith SUNDAY

REBECCA CARIDAD
  • Rebecca Caridad

ATMOSPHERIC FOLK | Gregory Alan Isakov
w/ Shook Twins
Tues. Jan. 15
7:30 p.m.
$26-$46
Charleston Music Hall

There's a lot to latch onto in the bio of singer/songwriter Gregory Alan Isakov. You can start with the fact that he's originally from Johannesburg, South Africa and moved to the U.S. when he was seven years old. Throw in the fact that when he's not working as a musician, he tends his own three-acre farm in Colorado, and you've got yourself some interesting factoids. But you don't need to know any of that to enjoy the haunting folk music that he makes. Isakov's latest album, Evening Machines, is a moody, atmospheric collection of songs that sound as vast as the horizon and as intimate as a whisper. The music throbs and drones beneath Isakov's angelic wail, shifting underneath his pensive ruminations like a bank of clouds across the sky. This is dark-hued music in the vein of Lord Huron or Fleet Foxes, but with a more minimal approach; in fact, taken as a whole, Evening Machines almost feels like a hypnotic tone poem, rising and falling like musical breathing. —Vincent Harris TUESDAY

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