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SOUND CHECKS

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FOLK/ROCK | Ari Hest
w/ The Damnwells, Evan McHugh
Fri. May 25
The Map Room
$10

Touring in support of his brand-new collection, The Break-In (Red Ink/Columbia), Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter Ari Hest, drummer Scott Seiver, and bassist Rob Calder headline Friday night at the Map Room. "It is a mellow record and it kinda fits my personality," says Hest, 27. "I used to be a little more aggressive and pop-rock, maybe. Now, it's a bit more folky." Hest recorded the album last year with veteran producer Mitchell Froom in the producer's low-key home studio. It's a fully-realized follow-up to his previous, low-budget indie releases. Hest may appear to be young, but his voice and his lyrics resemble those of an experienced, road-weary veteran. There are elements of classic folk, rock, and more contemporary Americana — a bit mid-'70s Paul McCartney, early-'80s Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, and Springsteen... "You know, I don't call it 'rock' very often," Hest chuckles. "Although things can get heavy and distorted from time to time, I think at its barest, this stuff is simply folk music." See www.themaproom.net and www.arihest.com for more. —T. Ballard Lesemann FRIDAY

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ROCKABILLY/AMERICANA | Hick'ry Hawkins Band
w/ The Defilers, Gill Landry
Sat. May 26
The Map Room
$5

The rowdy, smirking, tipsy, Charlotte-based Hick'ry Hawkins Band headline a boozy night of raw twangy rock 'n' roll with support from busy local trio The Defilers and Gulf Coast "hobohemian" songwriter Gill Landry. "Hick'ry is the real deal," says Defilers singer/guitarist Arleigh Hertzler. "He lives what he sings, pretty much like we do, only probably more so. We get along great, and will be playing together a lot." Singer/guitarist Hick'ry Hawkins, lead guitar guitarist T. W. Brooks, bassist T. Badger, and drummer Jamie Pate have released three studio albums and toured the South for years. They're recording a new one with producer Jeff Pinkus (bassist with the Butthole Surfers, Honky) at Echo Mountain Studios in Asheville, scheduled for release in the fall. "Imagine a long white Cadillac with Hank Williams Sr. driving, Steve Earle riding shotgun, David Lee Roth in the backseat, and the body of Sid Vicious banging around in the trunk," sez them. Check www.themaproom.net and www.myspace.com/hickryhawkins for more. —TBL SATURDAY

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ROOTS-ROCK | Sister Hazel
w/ Chuck Carrier, special guests
Sat. May 26, Sun. May 27, Mon. May 28
The Windjammer
$25, $15

"We've been a band for 13 years now, and one thing that you have to do is take care of your fans," says Sister Hazel bassist Jett Beres. "We have an unbelieveable fan base, but you have to keep growing it and reintroducing yourself to people with every album." The Florida-based band — Beres, lead singer/guitarist Ken Block, guitarists Drew Copeland and Ryan Newell, and drummer Mark Trojanowski — first came to prominence after the smash success of their 1996 major label debut, Somewhere More Familiar. The latest collection, Absolutely, features the recent radio single "Mandolin Moon," featuring guest vocals from Shawn Mullins. They toured the U.S. for four months behind it and look forward to the three-day stint at the Windjammer. "We hit every major city. As far as the longtime fans — the 'HazelNuts' — we try to put on special events like this weekend on the Isle of Palms, or the Rock Boat (www.rockboat.com) cruises, which really pull the community together." The Haze perform full-on sets on Sat. and Sun. with opener Chuck Carrier. On Mon., they perform an early afternoon "unplugged" set for the beach crowd before the weekly Budweiser Bikini bash kicks off. See www.sisterhazel.com for more. —TBL SATURDAY/SUNDAY/MONDAY

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ROCKABILLY/VINTAGE | The Dempseys
Sun. May 27
Fiery Ron's Home Team BBQ
$5

Comprised of upright bassist Joe Fick, electric guitarist Brad Birkedahl, and drummer Ron Perrone, Memphis-based rockabilly trio The Dempseys know their early-era rock 'n' roll by heart ... the stuff from Sun Studio's earliest days and the old Louisiana Hayride programs ... the hillbilly cats or the late 1950s and the so-called "race records" of early pop radio ... the Texas swing of Bob Wills and the early-'60s surf rock of The Ventures and Dick Dale. Around the Memphis scene, they're known for their wild stage antics — bass stunts, instrument swapping, trumpet blowin', and high-kickin' mayhem. They were recently utilized in the 2005 film Walk the Line to portray Elvis' backing band in the scenes shot at Sun Studios. They hit the Home Team corner stage at 10 p.m. or so. Check www.thedempseys.net and www.hometeambbq.com for more. —TBL SUNDAY

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