December in the Sandhills is unpredictable in the weather department. One thing for sure is that the holiday season is well underway.
The Rooster's Wife wraps up a musical year with a foursome of shows to celebrate the season.
“Please join the Rooster's Wife for multiple doses of holiday cheer, and a respite from the hustle and bustle,” says organizer Janet Kenworthy. “Sit back, relax, and enjoy a show, or four in downtown Aberdeen. You can even finish, or start, your holiday shopping on site with gift cards, and music merchandise.”
All shows begin at 6:45 p.m. in the listening room of the Poplar Knight Spot, 114 Knight St., in Aberdeen.
Jonathan Byrd and The Pickup Cowboys are musical gunslingers, vaudevillian hucksters, and old-fashioned tent revivalists. Between heartbreaking ballads and heart-lifting sing-alongs, the Cowboys entertain and get audiences involved in the show. Byrd is a preacher’s son and a Gulf War veteran. The songwriter from Chapel Hill is well known for literary, outsider songs that have become campfire favorites from Kerrville to Vancouver, Toronto to Melbourne. They will be in town Thursday, Dec. 5.
The Chicago Tribune named Byrd one of the top 50 songwriters of the past 50 years. He is certainly beloved in these parts. Joined on drums by Austin McCall, and musical renaissance man Johnny Waken on guitar, saw, and mandolin, Byrd shares the often-missed, always poignant tales of the small people that make the world such a big place.
Keenan McKenzie and the Riffers assemble under the mistletoe in southern Moore County Sunday, Dec. 8. A dance band designed to perform original music and tight arrangements from the 1930s and 1940s, the group plays a mix of clever big band reductions and swing-era combo tunes. McKenzie leads with 10 years of experience running bands and playing for dancers. As a Lindy hopper, he programs shows with a critical attention to tempo and emphasizes rhythm and energy on the bandstand. The dance floor will be definitely be open. Reverie cocktails has created the “Nor’Easter” and their “Holiday Margarita” to make sure the holiday spirit is present for this listening and dancing show.
Growing up, musicians Joe Newberry and April Verch absorbed traditions of home and hearth — in his Missouri Ozarks and her Ottawa Valley of Canada. The holidays have always been a special time of year for both, with the lure of family and friends, festive decorations, gifts under the tree, and always, there was music.
So now, each year the duo sets out in a modern day sleigh, with four-wheel drive, to perform their eagerly anticipated holiday tour. Original songs join timeless hymns. Stories warm the heart and give a twinkle to the eye. Lively fiddle and banjo numbers combine with traditional dance steps to illustrate happy times when people made their own fun at the holidays, and all year long. Make your holiday concert list, and check it twice. Newberry and Verch are coming to Aberdeen town, Thursday, Dec. 12.
The season closes with Amanda Anne Platt and the Honeycutters, Sunday, Dec. 15. The Asheville-based quartet are bringing a large dose of holiday spirit with their new EP, “Christmas on a Greyhound Bus.” They are on a limited run of one night stands to celebrate the release, playing favorite seasonal tunes as well as new original holiday material. The band will also play a full set of Honeycutters classics to round out the night.
The band, fronted by and built around the songwriting of Amanda Anne Platt, is celebrating the 10th anniversary of their first studio album, “Irene.” A decade later with four more studio releases, two live albums, and some hard earned tour stories, Platt says she feels it is high time the band had a holiday record.
“Come enjoy an evening of twinkling lights and good cheer mixed with good old-fashioned heartache, diesel fumes and a shot of tequila,” says Kenworthy.
The Rooster’s Wife is a community arts organization dedicated to bringing the best in live music to the Sandhills. Children are welcome, with admission waived for the under 12 set. No BYOB, please; a full bar is available featuring Reverie Cocktails, and Southern Pines Brewing products. Dinner is available on site. Tickets to these general admission shows are $20 for members. Annual membership may be purchased online or at the door. For more information including the dinner menu, call (910) 944-7502. To purchase tickets online, visit ticketmesandhills.com