From Senegal to NoCa’lina
Diali Cissokho & Kaira Ba with Bruce Piephoff @ the Crown (GSO), Friday
Diali Cissokho & Kaira Ba, led by the irrepressible Senegalese griot Cissokho, celebrates the release of its new album, The Great Peace, in the upper room above the Carolina Theatre. With Senegalese percussionist Cheikh Ndiguel Jang, Cissokho found four eager North Carolina musicians, Will Ridenour, Jonathan Henderson, Austin McCall and John Westmoreland (the former two from Greensboro). The transatlantic union of kora, electric guitar, djembe, trapset drums and bass creates an explosive West African musical experience firmly rooted in the Piedmont soil of North Carolina. Bruce Piephoff opens the show, accompanied by Scott Sawyer, who leant his fluid guitar playing to the Greensboro troubadour’s latest effort, Soft Soap Purrings. Show starts at 8 p.m.
American Aquarium and the Tyler Nail Band @ the Garage (W-S), Friday
Reidsville native BJ Barham discovered that country music could be cool when he moved to Raleigh to study at NC State University. The alt-country of the mid-1990s sets the template for American Aquarium: twang redolent with swagger and heartbreak. Few bands in the genre have worked harder or committed more fully to the game. The band’s most recent record Burn.Flicker.Die, produced by Jason Isbell in Muscle Shoals, was supposed to be their last — a swan song of the joys and excesses of youth turned to smoldering ash. But instead it turned into a crucible of transformation. The band goes into the studio in Asheville to record its next album, Wolves, in June, and amazingly has 16 more live dates in the interim. The Tyler Nail Band, a promising traditionalist ensemble from Rural Hall, opens. Showtime at 9 p.m.
28th annual Carolina Blues Festival @ Festival Park (GSO), Saturday
Cool white guys Rod Piazza & the Mighty Flyers headline this stalwart festival, an annual tradition in Greensboro, but the 70-something Beverly “Guitar” Watkins, known to play her instrument behind her head, might turn out to be the show-stealer. She’ll be accompanied by her regular group, the King Bees. Former Albert King sideman Carl Weathersby and 2013 Piedmont Blues Challenge winners Lawyers, Guns and Money are also on the bill. The fun starts at 1 p.m.