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Thursday 9.25 

click to enlarge On the porch (clockwise): Sara Bell, Michael Holland, Ivan Howard and Reid Johnson.
  • On the porch (clockwise): Sara Bell, Michael Holland, Ivan Howard and Reid Johnson.

Chapel Hill
Songwriters on the Porch
UNC-Chapel Hill’s Love House & Hutchins Forum—A week after North Carolina native Ben Folds came back to campus to reunite with his old band, four of the area's premier songwriters—all with Tar Heel roots (Michael Holland is from Monroe and Ivan Howard, Fuquay-Varina)—sit on the porch to swap songs and stories about music, moods and memories in the South. You'll recognize Howard's round, slow tenor from The Rosebuds and Sara Bell's plaintive tones from Regina Hexaphone. Holland co-helmed the ridiculously overlooked Jennyanykind before making a handful of stellar, soulful solo records, and Reid Johnson leads the sepia-and-static pop band Schooner. Katherine Doss, a UNC folklore graduate who studied with William Ferris, leads the discussion, then stands back to let 'em sing. The free music starts at 4 p.m. —Grayson Currin


Durham
Pontiak
Bull City Headquarters—Sun on Sun—the debut LP from the rural Virginia trio of brothers Van, Lain and Jennings Carney—is one of my favorite records of the year: Sitting perfectly at a self-made nexus of rough, ready trio rock and expansive, open-doors atmospherics, Pontiak spins blues, country and classic rock obfuscations with personality and swagger. Listen for the way the mealy fuzz from "White Hands" launches itself into Southern rock salvation or how "Tell Me About" vacillates between carefully considered reflection and hyperactive roadhouse menace. Pontiak released a split LP with Baltimore brethren Arbouretum last year, and the band's mutual singe-and-sinew rock were perfect complements on the LP and on a joint tour they just finished. Tonight, Pontiak goes it alone, with Horseback in the opening slot. Music starts at 10 p.m. —Grayson Currin


Raleigh
Big Johnson and the Members
The Pour House—Big Johnson and the Members boils together laid-back grooves and slight yearning with a banjo and a saxophone. Structured around members of the Raleigh bluegrass band, Old Habits, the group's Mason Jar of sound is rock with a prominent twang and occasional extended solos. The quintet doesn't fuss over restrictive genres, and the interplay of lap steel and saxophone doesn't make a statement about art or authenticity as much as it says, "Hey, this is pretty cool, huh?" Vocal harmonies and good times start at 10 p.m. for $5. —Andrew Ritchey

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