Thursday’s Music

Robert Earl Keen.

Giving you the music a day early:

You know Robert Earl Keen. Yep, he’s that great Texas folk singer/songwriter. So good he was recently inducted into the Texas Heritage Songwriters Association’s Hall of Fame. Since 1984’s No Kinda Dancer, Keen has released killer album after killer album, usually filled with his version of Texas folk that includes nods at country and rock. A masterful storyteller, Keen comes to Rev Room, playing tunes from his newest album, 2011’s Ready for Confetti, and other tunes from his past. Keen hasn’t slowed down after more than 30 years of playing live, and his show is an energetic romp through the music that made the man. The music starts at 9 p.m. with tickets $20 in advance and $25 day of for the 18-and-up show. No word on an opening act.

Next Friday, North Carolina alt country-flavored rock ‘n’ roll band American Aquarium will play a show at Ziggy’s in Winston-Salem, N.C., with Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit. So what’s the importance of that? Well, Isbell is the man who recorded American Aquarium’s Burn.Flicker.Die, and the album will be out later this fall. The band will follow the Friday the 13th show with a string of East Coast dates and then an European tour. But before all that, American Aquarium songwriter and band leader BJ Barham is playing White Water Tavern. Solo. Which means all those great barn-burning tunes that are equal part country heartbreak and rock muscle will be presented. The music starts at 9 p.m. with a $5 cover.

I saw Bluesboy Jag a few weeks ago on a Friday evening at Dogtown Coffee and Cookery. He was running through his one-man blues. It was darn good. Foot-tapping good. The kind of blues one just loves. That’s probably why the North Little Rock cigar box luthier is a several-times-over winner of regional blues contests and an International Blues Challenge competitor. It’s First Thursday in Hillcrest, and Jag is bringing his blues to The Afterthought, wrapping up the outdoor party and kicking off the night with a show that begins at 8 p.m. Joining him will be blues harmonica player Jawbone Kenyon.

Of course, the Arkansas Literary Festival starts next weekend. Here’s sort of a preamble: Tavis Smiley comes to Philander Smith College‘s M.L. Harris Auditorium as part of the college’s Bless the Mic speaker series. No tickets or reservations are required. Just show up and listen to Smiley when the program starts at 7 p.m. Smiley is one of those 21st century renaissance men: broadcaster, author, publisher, advocate and philanthropist. He’s president and CEO of The Smiley Group Inc., and host of the late-night TV talk show Tavis Smiley on PBS and The Tavis Smiley Show from Public Radio International. He also hooks up with his friend Cornel West, and the two co-host Smiley and West, which kind of sounds like a buddy cop sitcom but is actually a lively, intellectual PRI radio program.

Thank God baseball is here! It’s opening night (and weekend) for the Arkansas Travelers at Dickey-Stephens Park as they battle fellow Texas League opponent the Midland Rockhounds during a three-game series. First pitch is at approximately 7:10 p.m., and tickets are $6 to $12 for adults, and $4 and $5 for children. Friday’s game is at 7:10 p.m., too, and Saturday’s game is at 6 p.m. And Sunday through Tuesday there is a three-game series against the Frisco Roughriders at Dickey-Stephens. For Sunday’s game there will be an Easter Extravaganza presented by Church at Rock Creek with a pregame Easter egg hunt in Kids Korner play area beginning at 3:30 p.m. Sunday’s game time is 4 p.m. Monday and Tuesday’s games both start at 7:10 p.m. Long live baseball!

Here’s Robert Earl Keen with his “Feelin’ Good Again”:

Feelin’ Good Again