Boz ScaggsIf you were in school in the mid-1970s, you undoubtedly listened to Boz Scaggs (July 17 at Knight Theater, carolinatix.com, tickets start at $44.50). His multiplatinum Six Degrees produced three Top 40 singles—It’s Over, Lowdown, and Lido Shuffle. And he gave Rita Coolidge (an ex-Mrs. Kris Kristofferson) one of her biggest hits with We’re All Alone. The master of jazz, rock, blues, Americana and R&B hasn’t had the radio play he enjoyed in the ‘70s, but he still makes great music. His latest release, MEMPHIS, “pays tribute to the sounds of the River City with a mix of cover tunes and new songs,” says Douglas Young, vice president of programming for the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. Young, who booked Scaggs for the Knight, promises long-time fans will get to hear old favorites in addition to songs from the new release.
Jason IsbellThere’s something in the water in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. The area along the banks of the Tennessee River is fertile ground for a certain, soulful sound. Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett and Otis Redding recorded hits there. Native son (well, he’s from nearby Greenhill) Jason Isbell stops in at the Visulite on July 3 (visulite.com, $16).
The eighth-generation Alabamian, formerly of the wildly popular Drive-By Truckers, released his latest CD, Southeastern on June 11. All his songs tell a story, but he says Elephant—a song about a woman dying of cancer (“When she was drunk, she made cancer jokes/Made up her own doctors’ notes/Surrounded by her family, I saw that she was dying alone”—made him feel most empowered as a songwriter. “I created those characters; I feel like they’re fully formed for the purposes of the story,” he says. “I cried for those folks when that one was finished."
Patrick DavisPatrick Davis’s latest, The Cuts Vol. 1, includes studio versions of songs he wrote (or co-wrote) for established artists like Jewel, Darius Rucker and Lady Antebellum.
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But songwriting wasn’t the Camden, South Carolina native’s first love. “I started out as a performer,” he says. “But for me, there is nothing in the world quite like the feeling of finishing a really good song.” And those songs reflect the South. “The people, places and pictures of my youth show up quite often in my storytelling. These ghosts from my past are with me every day.” He’s a fan of music from the late 1960s and early 1970s and his new CD pays homage to that era. Catch him when he returns July 19 to The Evening Muse (eveningmuse.com, $15-$18), which he calls “one of my absolute favorite venues in the Southeast [a place] that allows the artist and the crowd to have an intimate conversation.”