Arkansas bands with original music and dreams of getting those songs heard by clubgoers around the state and perhaps beyond are once again encouraged to send in their entries for the Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase, scheduled to begin in late January at Sticky Fingerz.

Last year marked the long-running Showcase’s first association with Sticky Fingerz, the restaurant and club created by Chris King and Suzon Awbrey. Hence, our advertising staff came up with the slogan “One Sticky Showcase.” Somehow, we expect the Sticky adjective to be involved again this year.


The 2006 Showcase also marked our first association with KKPT-FM, 94.1 The Point, with midday jock Jeff Allen serving as co-host of the event.

Deadline for entering the Showcase is Jan. 12. The entry form has been running in these pages since before Thanksgiving and will continue through Jan. 11, including an entry form to be found in the Jan. 5 Native’s Guide, which we publish in place of a regular issue at the beginning of every year. Entry forms can be found at Sticky Fingerz and Rumba/Revolution, on the Sticky Fingerz and Arkansas Times websites (,, and by calling 375-2985.


All bands in any style of music and of any age are eligible. We suggest that solo acoustic acts consider performing as a band because performance and crowd response figure into the competition, though songwriting and the quality of the songs still are the higher-weighted areas in the judges’ scoring.

But we’re not nixing solo acts. Last year, Chris Henry stood alone and wowed crowds on two nights with his dazzling finger-style playing and his rock-style songs, enough to finish a mere point shy of the 2006 winner, the bluegrass-influenced Hannah Blaylock and Eden’s Edge of Russellville.


Last year’s finalists also ranged from the country rock of Riverbilly to the spaced-out rock of The Munks to the jam rock of Jonesboro’s Starroy.

There’s no cost to enter, and the finalists will be paid for performing. The winner receives an assortment of prizes, including music equipment, recording time, a photo shoot and a guaranteed spot in the Riverfest lineup. All five finalists last year received cases of Red Bull. But perhaps the biggest payoff for all the entries is the attention from playing the Showcase, which in turn leads to more gigs around the area.

Bands must be from Arkansas and must play 30 minutes on stage, but the entries (preferably on CD) only need to include enough music to give the initial selection panel something to rate against the other entries.

Semifinalists will be chosen by a panel of music lovers led by Chris King and myself along with an out-of-state band, and the field will be announced in the Jan. 18 issue, with the contest beginning Jan. 25.


The finals are planned for early March at the Revolution Room. The date is still up in the air.

Though age is not limited for band entry, note that Sticky Fingerz has had to become a 21-and-up club because of the city’s smoking ordinance, and no one under 21 will be allowed in the audience.

For more information, call me at 375-2985.

The Oxford American-sponsored premiere of Joey Lauren Adams’ film “Come Early Morning” drew between 400 and 500 people to the Market Street Cinema on Dec. 14. Included in that group were Adams, the writer and director, and one of the co-stars, Diane Ladd, along with local actress Candyce Hinkle, who plays a grandmother of Ashley Judd’s character Lucy.

Seeing the film on the big screen made a greater impression than watching it a few nights earlier on the little screen with a VHS screener tape. I was struck even more by the great music Adams placed throughout the film, the right song always coming at the right time, such as Billy Joe Shaver’s “Lump of Coal” at the end, which aptly summed up Judd’s Lucy, a real diamond in the rough.

Judd should get some acknowledgement from the awards groups for a great performance as a 30-something woman trying to understand herself and find love, both within her family and in her relationships with men. There are no easy answers in real life, which Adams artfully shows on the screen. There is no happy solution in “Come Early Morning,” but rather we see a nice slice of someone’s life, when that life is shaken up some.

Adams and a good many of the folks at the premiere then reconvened at the Cornerstone Pub for an after-party. There was Joey Lauren, bellying up to the bar just like us regular folk, hugging friends, patiently standing with strangers for pictures, and partying with everyone until they said we had to go home.

Proceeds from the $50 tickets to the premiere and party went to the Oxford American’s Literary Project. And speaking of the OA, you really should pick up a copy of the magazine’s music issue and its accompanying CD, which is an homage to New Orleans and its musicians.

You could always count on the old KEZQ and its successor, K-LOVE, to broadcast 48 hours of holiday music starting Christmas Eve. Now, it’s holiday music all the time, especially at KURB-FM, B-98, which devotes its weekends to “White Christmas” and other favorites, and which has its nighttime DJ, Dalilah, dedicating soft Christmas favorites to listeners from 7 p.m. to midnight.


Which brings me to this: the Christmas music drinking game. If you’re compelled to drink in excess during the season, what better way than to coordinate your drinking with holiday music. Every time you hear Bing Crosby and “White Christmas” or Nat King Cole and “The Christmas Song,” slug some spiked eggnog. For “Happy Holidays,” “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” and any other of your holiday favorites, have a Butterschnapps shot. For “Jingle Bell Rock,” a shot of Hot Damn! For Brenda Lee and “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” shoot some tequila, preferably the expensive kind. For any Karen Carpenter Christmas song, a shot of Beefeater gin. For John Lennon’s “Happy Xmas (War Is Over),” down a shot of Jaegermeister. For Paul McCartney’s “A Wonderful Christmas Time,” come up with the silliest, most potent shot you can think of, and sip it; you’ll need it. (See how much these guys needed each other?) For George Michael’s “This Christmas,” you’re allowed to hurl.

Happy holidays. E-mail: