ZZ TOP a/k/a “That Little Ol’ Band From Texas,” lay undisputed claim to being the longest running major rock band with original personnel intact and, in 2004, the Texas trio was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Of course, there are only three of them – Billy F Gibbons, Dusty Hill, Frank Beard — but it’s still a remarkable achievement that they’re still very much together after more than 45 years of rock, blues, and boogie on the road and in the studio. “Yeah,” says Billy, guitarist extraordinaire, “we’re the same three guys, bashing out the same three chords.” With the release of each of their albums the band has explored new ground in terms of both their sonic approach and the material they’ve recorded. ZZ TOP is the same but always changing.
It was in Houston in the waning days of 1969 that ZZ TOP coalesced from the core of two rival bands, Billy’s Moving Sidewalks and Frank and Dusty’s American Blues. The new group went on to record the appropriately titled ZZ Top’s First Album and Rio Grande Mud that reflected their strong blues roots. Their third, 1973’s Tres Hombres, catapulted them to national attention with the hit “La Grange,” still one of the band’s signature pieces today. The song is unabashed elemental boogie, celebrating the institution that came to be known as “the best little whorehouse in Texas.” Their next hit was “Tush,” a song about, well, let’s just say the pursuit of “the good life” that was featured on their Fandango! album, released in 1975. The band’s momentum and success built during its first decade, culminating in the legendary “World Wide Texas Tour,” a production that included a longhorn s teer, a buffalo, buzzards, rattlesnakes and a Texas-shaped stage. As a touring unit, they’ve been without peer over the years, having performed before millions of fans through North America on numerous epochal tours as well as overseas where they’ve enthralled audiences from Slovenia to Argentina, from Australia to Sweden, from Russia to Japan and most points in between. Their iconography – beards, cars, girls and that magic keychain – seems to transcend all bounds of geography and language.
Following a lengthy hiatus during which the individual members of the band traveled the world, they switched labels (from British Decca’s London label to Warner Bros.) and returned with two amazingly provocative albums, Deguello and El Loco. Their next release, Eliminator, was something of a paradigm shift for ZZ TOP. Their roots blues skew was intact but added to the mix were tech-age trappings that soon found a visual outlet with the nascent MTV. Suddenly, Billy, Dusty and Frank were video icons, playing a kind of Greek chorus in videos that highlighted the album’s three smash singles: “Gimme All Your Lovin’, “Sharp Dressed Man” and “Legs.” The melding of grungy guitar-based blues with synth-pop was seamless and continued with the follow-up album Afterburner as they continued their chart juggernaut. ZZ TOP had accomplished the impossible; they had moved with the times while simultaneously bucking ephemeral trends that crossed thei r path. They had become more popular and more iconic without ever having to be “flavor of the week.” They had become a certified rock institution, contemporary in every way, yet still completely connected to the founding fathers of the genre.
They stayed with Warner for one more album, Recycler, released in 1990 and switched to RCA where they debuted with Antenna and followed with Rhythmeen, XXX and Mescalero. Beyond that, both a lavish four CD box set compilation, Chrome, Smoke & B.B.Q. and a two-CD distillation of that package, Rancho Texicano, were released by Warner prior to The Complete Studio Albums set.
In 2012, ZZ TOP unveiled LA FUTURA, their first studio album in nine years. Produced by Rick Rubin and Billy F Gibbons, and released on American Recordings, it reflected the solid blues inspiration that has powered the band since the very beginning with a contemporary approach that underscored the group’s inclination to experiment and explore new sonic vistas. The album included the widely lauded “I Gotsta Get Paid” that has become both a video and in-concert sensation. ZZ Top’s rich history became the subject of a box set release the following year. ZZ Top: The Complete Studio Albums 1970-1990 offered no fewer than 10 of the band’s most lauded albums all with the original mixes restored.
ZZ TOP’s career retrospective The Very Baddest surfaced in 2014. It spans the entire course of their London, Warner Bros. and RCA years. Listeners can follow the evolution of the band’s sound from the early 70s into the 00s on either a 40 track double CD or a 20 track single CD. That same year Eagle Rock Entertainment released Live at Montreux 2013 on both Blu-ray and DVD formats, showcasing their live act, leaving no doubt as to why they have been such a huge concert draw for the last several decades. When it comes to the live experience, they’ve still got it.
2016 saw the release of ZZ TOP’s Live! Greatest Hits From Around The World album on Suretone, consisting of 15 songs recorded live in 13 cities across three continents. Guitar legend Jeff Beck joins the band on stage in his native London for two songs – “Rough Boy,” and a cover of Tennessee Ernie Ford’s “Sixteen Tons,” the latter of which was inspired by a hoax YouTube video claiming to be ZZ TOP and Jeff Beck playing that very song. Their rendition matches the hoax video, in what Billy describes as “a mega meta kinda thang.”
The elements that keep ZZ TOP fresh, enduring and above the transitory fray can be summed up in the three words of the band’s internal mantra: “Tone, Taste and Tenacity.” Of course, the three members of the band have done their utmost to do their part in assuring that ZZ TOP prevails. As genuine roots musicians, the members of the band have few peers. Billy is widely regarded as one of American finest blues guitarists working in the rock idiom. His influences are both the originators of the form – Muddy Waters, B.B. King, et al – as well as the British blues rockers who emerged the generation before ZZ’s ascendance. In his early days of playing, no less an idol that Jimi Hendrix singled him out for praise. Part mad scientist, part prankster, he’s a musical innovator of the highest order and a certified “guitar god.” He’s a recurring small screen presence in the hit TV series Bones in which he plays a bearded, gruff, ro ck guitarist. No type casting problems for Billy.
Dusty has long had an affinity for rock’s origins; his earliest performances as a child included Elvis songs convincingly performed. Not only is he a bass virtuoso in his own right, his vocal prowess is awe-inspiring. He’s the lead voice you hear on “Tush” and his ferocious vocals are heard, to great effect, on his idol Elvis Presley’s “Jailhouse Rock,” these days, often a concert encore number and recorded by the band on Fandango! Good natured and diligent, Dusty is the rock solid bottom of ZZ TOP.
Frank has also been keeping the beat in that great tradition. As both a roots and progressive drummer, he has been acknowledged as key to the band’s powerful on-stage and in-studio presence. He and Dusty, in their early years together, served as Lightnin’ Hopkins’ rhythm section which, as Frank tells it, was a life changing experience. Frank, despite his last name, is the guy in the band without a beard. But when you’re with him, you’re with a Beard. He’s a rockin’ paradox who provides the pulse of ZZ TOP.
ZZ TOP’s music is always instantly recognizable, eminently powerful, profoundly soulful and 100% Texas American in derivation. The band’s support for the blues is unwavering both as interpreters of the music and preservers of its legacy. It was ZZ TOP that celebrated “founding father” Muddy Waters by turning a piece of scrap timber than had fallen from his sharecropper’s shack into a beautiful guitar, dubbed the “Muddywood.” This totem was sent on tour as a fundraising focus for The Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale, Mississippi, site of Robert Johnson’s famed “Crossroads” encounter with the devil. ZZ TOP’s support and link to the blues remains as rock solid as the music they continue to play. They have sold millions of records over the course of their career, have been officially designated as Heroes of The State of Texas, have been referenced in countless cartoons and sitcoms and are true rock icons but, against all odds, they’re really just doing what they’ve always done. They’re real and they’re surreal and they’re ZZ TOP.
(Sunday) 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Divots Event Center
4300 WEST NORFOLK AVE NORFOLK, NE
We are not stand-up comedians. Our show is not a passive, sit-back-and-watch experience. Most of the fun we have on stage comes from our inclusion of the audience – we get suggestions from them to begin each scene we perform, and in certain instances, bring them on-stage with us to add to our performance. It’s less a ‘show’ and more a party. At least it feels like one to me. This group of actors brings me right back to how I started out in comedy – maybe that’s why we have so much fun doing it.” – Jim Belushi
With more than thirty years of experience and an alumnus of “Saturday Night Live” and Chicago’s famed Second City, JIM BELUSHI is now bringing to the stage an improvised comedy sketch show featuring members of the Board of Comedy.
Belushi starred on the ABC hit comedy “According to Jim,” on which he also served as executive producer, music composer and director. After wrapping 182 episodes for its eighth and final season, the family favorite series also hit a milestone when it launched into off-net syndication in 2007. A favorite of film, television and stage audiences, Belushi is one of the great leading character actors equally at home in drama and comedy, and a gifted performer who can also hold a room as front man of a rhythm and blues band.
(Saturday) 1:00 am - 1:00 am
Divots Event Center
4300 WEST NORFOLK AVE NORFOLK, NE
Tickets on sale July 28th 2017. General Admission tickets $35.00, Reserved Seating $42.50 and $50.00. Doors open 6:30pm, Show Starts 7:30pm. Purchase GA tickets at Renegade, Etix.com, and Norfolk Lodge & Suites, or by calling 402-379-3833, or toll-free 888-355-0553. Reserved tickets available online only.
Confidence is sexy and creativity is empowering. Rarely have those qualities merged into a more potent package then on Sara Evans’ new album Slow Me Down. From the simmering title track, which provided her biggest first week ever at country radio, to the life-affirming message of the album’s closing song, “Revival,” Evans has crafted a compelling body of work filled with the kind of slice-of-life vignettes that fans expect from the award-winning vocalist.
Slow Me Down is Evans’ seventh album for RCA Nashville Records and never has she sounded more self-assured and in control of her artistry. “I have a lot of strong opinions because I’ve been doing this my whole life and I know what I want,” says Evans, who co-produced the album with Mark Bright, who helmed her platinum album Real Fine Place and is also known for his work with Carrie Underwood, Rascal Flatts and Reba McEntire. “I just love him. I really wanted Mark’s type of personality and production on this. He’s so bright and chipper and is always there to give support, direction and his expertise.”
On Slow Me Down, Evans has delivered an album that reveals a vibrant tapestry of emotion from the truthful resignation of “Good Love is Hard to Find” to her autobiographical ode to contentment on “Sweet Spot.” “You Never Know” is a cautionary tale about the fragility of relationships. Love, heartache and desire swirl throughout the album. “That’s intentional and it’s pretty typical for me,” says Evans, who co-wrote three of the 11 songs on the album. “I try to give my fans a little bit of everything that I am and everything that I like, but nothing is ever contrived.”
In serving up this emotional tour de force, the Missouri native enlists a diverse line-up of special guests including The Fray’s Isaac Slade, who duets with Evans on “Can’t Stop Loving You” and Gavin DeGraw who joins Evans on her cover of his pop hit “Not Over You.” Longtime pal Vince Gill lends his voice to the stone cold country “Better Off”.
“Slow Me Down” was recently named one of Billboard’s “10 Best Singles of 2013”. “It’s got a great lyric. It’s got a fabulous melody and they set the tempo just perfectly,” Evans says of the song, which was penned by Marv Green, Jimmy Robbins and Heather Morgan. “I love what the song says. ‘hurry up and slow me down’ is obviously a great play on words, but it means so much more than that. She is basically saying, ‘I need you to know that I’m willing to give this relationship a chance, but if you don’t change your ways, I’m leaving. But when I’m walking away, I want you to hurry up and slow me down. I want you to pursue me.’”
Over the years, Evans has developed a reputation for delivering thoroughly satisfying albums full of great songs brought to life by her distinctive voice. She has that heart-in-the-throat quality that turned Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn into legends coupled with an edgy contemporary sensibility that keeps her at the vanguard of today’s successful country performers. She’s sold nearly six million records and her last four albums have been certified Gold, Platinum or multi-Platinum. She’s scored five No. 1 hits, among them “Suds in the Bucket,” “A Real Fine Place to Start,” “No Place That Far” and “A Little Bit Stronger,” the title track of her chart-topping 2011 album Stronger. The single was No. 1 for two weeks and was certified platinum by the R.I.A.A. Evans has amassed an impressive collection of awards, including female vocalist from the Academy of Country Music and video of the year from the Country Music Associat ion for her ground breaking clip “Born to Fly.”
“I’VE ALWAYS FELT LIKE I’M A VERY LUCKY PERSON…”
At the root of all those accolades is a God-given talent fueled by an impressive Midwestern work ethic instilled by her parents. She grew up singing in her family’s band and then moved to Nashville looking for a record deal. Legendary songwriter Harlan Howard heard her on a demo and helped open a door for her at RCA Records where she’s been ever since. “I’ve always felt like I’m a very lucky person,” says Evans. “To be given a gift to sing, I don’t know why the Lord has blessed me with this talent, but it has always made me feel lucky. I always appreciate those special moments like having a No. 1 record or doing a great show.”
Seven albums into an already impressive career and Evans has never been more excited about the music she’s making. “I feel like I sang with a ton of confidence this time around,” she says. “You always want to get better with your craft and your art. I’m always striving to sing better, write better, and perform better because I’m very competitive with myself.”
After enduring a divorce, Evans rebounded personally and professionally. She and her three children are now settled in Birmingham with former pro quarterback-turned-sportscaster Jay Barker, whom she married in 2008. “Everything in my professional life is a reflection of my personal life and I feel confident, happy and settled,” she says of life in Alabama with the blended family that includes her three children and Barker’s four.. “I’m secure in who I am and where I’m going and I always do better in my career when life isn’t stressful.”
In addition to her music, Evans is an accomplished author of three books with co-writer Rachel Hauck and writes a lifestyle blog, “A Real Fine Place,” with her sister-in-law Kaelin “K.K” Evans where they share their passion for fashion, beauty, travel and food. She was the first country artist to compete on ABC’s popular “Dancing with the Stars” and she’s been named one of People magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People.” A tireless philanthropist, Evans is involved in several charitable endeavors and has been awarded the Crystal Cross by the American Red Cross. Last year she and Barker launched Rock the South. The festival attracted 50,000 country music fans and raised money for the Children’s Hospital of Birmingham and Alabama Forever, a charity formed to help rebuild the areas in Alabama that were struck by devastating tornados.
I KNEW THAT WHEN I STARTED TO MAKE THIS RECORD THAT I WANTED TO GO FURTHER THAN I HAD EVER GONE BEFORE WITH MY MUSIC
Though her new album is titled Slow Me Down its obvious Sara Evans isn’t even taking her foot off the gas these days. “I knew that when I started to make this record that I wanted to go further than I had ever gone before with my music,” she says. “Vocally I wanted to challenge myself. I’m super happy with the outcome.”
He’s a new voice for every man. Actually, make him an honest new voice for every man. That would be country-rock singer, songwriter and guitarist Logan Mize.
Just listen to his current single “Can’t Get Away from a Good Time,” It’s no wonder the song is burning up the charts on SiriusXM’s The Highway. You can catch the video on his website, loganmize.com.
The anticipation is building, particularly since Mize spent a good part of 2013 behind the camera in a couple of high profile turns on the small screen. The Kansas native serendipitously found himself guest starring in two nationally watched TV appearances that undoubtedly introduced him to new audiences.
He ended up in a widely viewed “Fabric Of Our Life” cotton commercial with Hayden Panettiere of ABC-TV’s lauded Nashville. Mize and his band are shown performing on stage at Music City’s legendary Station Inn. But there’s more: Mize played himself and sang, also with his band, in a recent episode of The CW’s hit drama Hart of Dixie starring Rachel Bilson.
Mize, 28, saw both tube assignments as great ways to trumpet his debut national CD release, 2012’s Nobody In Nashville, an auspicious 10 song collection that highlights Mize’s rugged voice, his earthy songs and his ability to merge mainstream country with front porch rock ‘n’ roll. ‘I was just happy to get the gigs,” Mize said about the TV exposure. “I was real excited about them. It helped promote Nobody In Nashville. The commercial with Hayden was more just fun, singing some songs for a commercial. We were just playing the songs while she was shooting the commercial.”
About Hart of Dixie, he has this to say: “I just played myself in the series. I had no lines but I was in a battle of the bands club scene and I won the battle of the bands.”
Making Nobody In Nashville, which is the follow-up to Mize’s very independent, regional 2009 self-titled first effort, was a musically organic experience. The disc was released on Big Yellow Dog Music, the imprint of his publishing company. It is an earthy project that puts the emphasis on Mize’s voice, guitar playing and songs. Unpolished gems include “State Of Your Heart,” “Hey Carolina,” “Sunflowers,” “Good Life” and the autobiographical “Rock N Roll Band.”
“It wasn’t auto-tuned or anything,” Mize said about Nobody In Nashville. “The vocals are really raw. There are parts where I cringe a little bit. It’s a really dry sounding record, but I like it because it’s really simple. We didn’t hire the biggest names in Nashville. We kept it very grassroots.”
There are no artifices. Mize’s real guy-next-door demeanor is exactly the reason why Nobody In Nashville garnered immediate attention from Roughstock, The Boot, Billboard.com, Keepin’ It Country, and M Music & Musicians magazine. He also has a fan in country and pop superstar LeAnn Rimes, who not only tweeted about Mize’s new single, “Used Up,” but also invited him to open her recent shows in Europe. Award-winning country vocal group Little Big Town also blew up Twitter with praise for Mize’s “Used Up.”
No stranger to touring, Mize delivers a blistering live show with his commanding onstage presence. He has opened shows for headlining household names Lady Antebellum, The Band Perry, Eric Church, Dierks Bentley, Charlie Daniels Band, Blake Shelton, Billy Currington and Pat Green. That’s pretty lofty company for the kid born in Wichita, Kansas who grew up in nearby Clearwater immersed in the music of Tom Petty, Elton John, Alan Jackson, Garth Brooks, The Wallflowers, Nirvana, the Foo Fighters and Stone Temple Pilots.
“If it sounded good to me, I would listen to it,” Mize said about his eclectic musical tastes. “I am a song guy. There is no bias. I like it all.” His arms-open-wide philosophy extends into family, naturally. Mize, who is married to country singer-songwriter Jill Martin and has a 2-year-old son Lincoln, slowly soaked himself in the history of his great uncle Billy Mize. The elder Mize, now 84, is considered a pioneer in the Bakersfield country sound that emerged in California and was popularized by Buck Owens and Merle Haggard. Mize didn’t learn of his revered kin until he was in his early 20s. “When I found out about him I really researched the Bakersfield sound. Buck Owens was in Billy’s band. He also got Merle Haggard recognized. He was a behind-the-scenes guy.”
Logan Mize, however, is not only behind a microphone; he’s also in front of the cameras. In characteristically every man fashion he’s getting priceless VIP attention.
(Friday) 7:30 pm - 10:00 pm
Divots Event Center
4300 WEST NORFOLK AVE NORFOLK, NE