News Column

Music briefs

October 10, 2013


Oct. 10--Blues music through

a worldly lens

Blues and roots legend Taj Mahal returns to the Fox Tucson Theatre on Saturday to explore blues from a worldy perspective.

Mahal, who played a show with Rhythm & Roots at the Fox last May, will represent the American side of blues. His daughter, Deva Mahal, who is from New Zealand, brings in a rock 'n' roll view with her Fredericks Brown duo partner Stephanie "Tipsy" Brown, while guitarist-vocalist Vusi Mahlasela will show off the blues of his native South Africa.

The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Fox Tucson Theatre, 17 W. Congress St. Tickets are $34 to $65 at

Pinkett Smith brings metal band to Tucson

While her daughter, Willow, raps whimsically about whipping her hair back and forth, mom Jada Pinkett Smith screams into a mic in a growling howl about cruel intentions and the final reckoning.

The star of films including "Madagascar," "The Matrix" and "Set It Off," and the TV series "A Different World" and "Hawthorne" is a bona fide n metal rocker. Sometimes she tones it down to a pop-rock volume, but Smith seems -- in videos at least -- to exorcise her inner demons best when she's whipping her own hair around against the backdrop of blasting drums and blistering guitars.

Pinkett Smith and her 11-year-old n metal band Wicked Wisdom will slip into The Rock, 136 N. Park Ave., next Thursday for an all-ages show. Doors open at 6 p.m., and opening acts include Disciples of Prime, Fire Glass, Better Left Unsaid and Silence. Tickets are $18 at

2 years after boycott, Steve Earle returns

Dear Steve Earle,

We were crushed when you begged off your spring 2011 Rialto Theatre concert.

We understood; you were abiding by your conscience and the Sound Strike boycott of Arizona because of SB 1070, Arizona's strict and inflammatory anti-immigration law.

But we forgive you now that you've finally decided to make up that lost date. You will see when you and The Dukes take the stage at 8 p.m. Saturday just how much we have missed you. The Rialto, 318 E. Congress St., will be a big happy family excited to see a long-lost member who has finally made his way home. (Tickets are $23 and $35 through

And you will kick off three days of pretty amazing concerts at the Rialto.

On Sunday, Southern rocker Jimmie Van Zant -- cousin of Donnie Van Zant (.38 Special), Johnny Van Zant (Lynyrd Skynyrd) and the late Ronnie Van Zant (founder and lead singer Lynyrd Skynyrd) -- swings in for an 8 p.m. all-ages show. $23 in advance; $25 the day of the show.

Iconic blues rocker Leon Russell makes his first Tucson appearance since his Fox Tucson Theatre show back in 2008. He's bringing his band -- which includes bass player Jackie Wessel, drummer Brandon Holder and multitasking musician Beau Charron, whose arsenal includes keyboards, lap steel guitar and mandolin. Tickets are $28 in advance, $30 the day of the show.


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