Comedian Etta May
Etta May, in all her blue-collar comedic splendor, returns to one of her favorite clubs in the country this month. During her two weeks at the Caravan, she’ll be featured on CMT’s “20 Greatest Redneck Moments” (Jan 18, 10 p.m.), and on the 23rd she celebrates her birthday! (If you’re a long-time fan, that’s the night you want to be there.) Etta May (who explains brilliantly that Fredrick’s of Hollywood is like Victoria’s Secret without the secret) is doing most of her shows in large theater settings in 2008 (also traveling with the Southern Fried Chicks tour), and one of her four comedy club appearances is here. She learned she could do standup while sitting down as a bingo caller, and from there has earned awards as prestigious as the American Comedy Awards “Standup Comedian of the Year.” —Jason Sitzes
1250 Bardstown Road
$15-$17; various times
Thursday, Jan. 17
Here’s the good news. “Control” is the definitive film about Joy Division, perhaps the greatest band of their generation, i.e. the early ’80s. They captured the desolation of youth in post-industrial England like no band before or since. It’s also good in its own right. The film made a lot of Top 10 lists last year and was heralded as a star-making turn for lead actor Sam Riley.
The bad news is that the film plays only one night (with screenings at 6 and 8:30 p.m.) on Thursday at U of L’s Floyd Theatre. Mark your calendar. Like the band, the movie will be gone before you know it. —Alan Abbott
2100 S. Floyd St.
$2 ($1 w/ student ID); 6 & 8:30 p.m.
Thursday, Jan. 17
It’s been a few years now since Louisville got hip to The Wilders. The four-piece bluegrassy combo drove in from Missouri one year and basically freelanced around the annual bluegrass convention at the Galt House, drawing big crowds every time. The next year they were official performers, and they haven’t looked back since. The Wilders are soulful, melodic, playful, intense, plucky, funny and, above all, kinetic energy personified. They’re at ease with straight-ahead bluegrass, old-timey ballads (the weepy kind and the dark kind), spirituals and any number of iconoclastic meldings of various influences. When fiddler Betse Ellis, guitarist Ike Sheldon, bassist Nate Gawron and multi-instrumentalist Phil Wade work up a head of steam, bobbing and weaving and singing in tandem, it is truly wondrous to behold. If you like fun music and you’ve never seen these folks in action, clear your calendar and get over to Jim Porter’s. It’ll make you smile. —Cary Stemle
Jim Porter’s Good Time Emporium
2345 Lexington Road
$10 (adv.), $12 (door); 8 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 18
Reba & Kelly
As we gear up for another season of “American Idol,” past stars are having a tough time holding on to the spotlight — so far, Ruben Studdard, Taylor Hicks and, most recently, Katharine McPhee have been dropped from their labels. But there are still success stories plugging away — including Carrie Underwood, Chris Daughtry and Kellie Pickler (gasp!). Included should be Season 1 winner Kelly Clarkson, who’s had a tough time promoting her recent album, My December, amidst rumors of a creative clash with BMG music guru Clive Davis.
So what did she do? Lay low, post an official apology on her website and hit the road with friend and mentor Reba McEntire. The two filmed a performance last year for CMT’s “Crossroads” series and seemed to hit it off from there, even releasing a duet version of Kelly’s “Because of You” on Reba’s last Duets album. Must be nice to have friends in high places. This pop-country pairing should please fans of both genres. —Sara Havens
$25.50-$55.50; 8 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 18
One Small Step at Lisa’s
Zachary Willenbrink and Jessica Bartley, aka One Small Step, have been on the local radar for a minute. With appearances on the last two Louisville is for Lovers compilations and as a semi-regular at club shows, their electropop charm isn’t lost on anyone who’s seem them live.
But the duo thought something was missing from the program, so they roped in Paul Schwartz, former bass player for the Louisville band Pocketbomb, ditched the computer in favor of a drum machine, and have reshaped their sound into what Willenbrink calls, “no wave-y.”
Their new album, Another Shelter, out on local label Brightskull Records, reflects OSS’s changes. “The songs were written to complement each other,” says Willenbrink. “Almost all of (the album) is really bittersweet.”
See what they’ve been up to Friday at Lisa’s. The Invaders, DJ SeanJohn and one more band will fill out the bill. —Mat Herron
Lisa’s Oak St. Lounge
1004 E. Oak St.
$3; 10 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 20
Emmylou & Co. shine at Singletary
With both ticket and gas prices up, a show in Lexington had better be worth both — and the “Three Girls and Their Buddy” tour promises to be.
The show, with limited dates in January only, features the stellar line-up of Shawn Colvin, Patty Griffin, Emmylou Harris and Buddy Miller. Harris’ groundbreaking work with Gram Parsons in the early- to mid-1970s paved the way for the country/pop/folk blend that Grammy-winner Colvin and Griffin achieve. The Americana Music Association has named Griffin the 2007 Artist of the Year and her album Children Running Through Album of the Year; her songs have been covered by cool artists from Bette Midler to the Dixie Chicks.
Miller, the binder in this mix, has over the years played on record or in concert with the all three of the “Girls” and will add his soulful voice and guitar playing to the ladies’ sweet harmonies as all four gather on one stage to trade songs and stories. —Eric Banister
Singletary Center for the Arts
University of Kentucky
$60; 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Jan. 23
Celtic music and dance comes to the Bomhard Theater next Wednesday in the form of fiddler/step-dancer Natalie MacMaster. The Canadian is recognized on the global music scene as one of the premier ambassadors of a musical genre traditionally associated with Ireland. MacMaster has landed two albums on Billboard’s Top 20 Selling World Music charts, and four of her last five CDs have been certified as “gold” sellers. She’s shared the stage with the diverse likes of the Chieftains, Paul Simon, the late Pavarotti and Santana, and her live performances have been described as having “irresistible, keening passion.” (Pint of Guinness sold separately.) —Kevin Gibson
Bomhard Theater, Kentucky Center
$20-$38; 7:30 p.m.
Through Jan. 25
Casey Roberts’ ‘Wilderness’
Cyanotype, an early photographic technique popular in the early 1900s, is rarely used these days and falls into the “old, now experimental” category. Indianapolis artist Casey Roberts has decided what is old can be made new again. He strokes the cyanotype chemicals directly onto the paper, achieving various tints and shades of blue. He then uses other chemicals to create more colors.
His subject matter — wilderness — is an old topic as well. Roberts gives it a twist, too, by using his imagination. There are no animals or people roaming about. Instead, the activity comes from the woods themselves, such as bleeding trees. Combining this active type of landscape with the cyanotype technique creates unusual, personal images. —Jo Anne Triplett
930 Art Center
930 Mary St.
Through Jan. 31
‘Memories Arcane’ by Jacque Parsley & Cheryl Chapman
Artists Jacque Parsley and Cheryl Chapman are two friends who decided to share an exhibition together. Their show features Parsley’s collages and Chapman’s mixed-media paintings.
Both are so well known around town that just saying their names can conjure up what their work looks like. Parsley’s assemblages bring a smile, as there’s usually a doll’s head or two involved in some way. But her works are not frivolous or all that light-hearted — there’s a message there, and it’s the viewer’s job to see it.
Some of the same can be said for Chapman’s mixed-media paintings. Nonrepresentational works can be given a short shrift; some say they’re nothing more than just a bunch of colors and shapes. But as beautiful and colorful as Chapman’s paintings are, there’s history and messages here as well, again making the viewer do more work.
Their art complements the other, the same way old friends do. —Jo Anne Triplett
Gallery at The Kentucky Center
501 W. Main St.