Saturday, February 4, 2023

Judy Collins, Neko Case, Little Feat, Kenny Wayne Shepherd to play UNCW in 2023

WILMINGTON — The 2023 concert season continues to amp up in the greater Wilmington area.

Adding to the list of shows recently announced — including Carly Pearce who will play Azalea Fest and Tyler Childers heading to Live Oak Bank Pavilion next August — UNCW has announced a host of performances taking place on campus. 

READ MORE: Wanda Sykes bringing standup show to Wilmington in new year

The 500-seat Kenan Auditorium will offer a more intimate experience for concert goers. There will be blues, classic and alt-rock and old-school folk artists taking the stage. Tickets are on sale now to all shows, available here

Kenny Wayne Shepherd

Self-taught prodigal guitarist Kenny Wayne Shepherd has had over two-decades of success  bringing blues music to the masses. It started at age 7 when he watched his idol, blues-rock musician Stevie Ray Vaughan, perform a show in 1984. By 13, Shepherd had signed onto Giant Records, and a few years later at 18, secured his first-of-many top singles, “Déjà Voodoo,” on the Billboard charts. 

Ever since, he has released 10 albums — nine which went to number one on the blues charts. His second release in 1997, “Trouble Is…” has secured the longest-running album on the Billboard’s blues charts.

Nominated for five Grammys, Shepherd has won two Billboard Music Awards, two Blues Music Awards, and two Orville H. Gibson Awards, the latter of which recognizes the greatest guitarists of the world. He also has toured and played with blues and rock greats, such as Buddy Guy, BB King, The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Eagles, Bob Dylan, and Van Halen.

His 25th anniversary of the “Trouble Is Tour” stops at Kenan on Jan. 31; tickets start at $47.

Neko Case

Known for her ongoing contributions to the indie rock outfit the New Pornographers, Neko Case will bring her blend of country, folk, alt-rock and pop to Wilmington on Feb. 1. 

Case’s powerhouse voice and storytelling — described by the New York Times as a “vocal tornado” — began in her teens in Vancouver, as she performed in numerous punk bands. But it wasn’t until 2000 after she lent her vocals to the New Pornographers’ “Mass Romantic” that success followed. In 2001, it won Canada’s Juno Award for Alternative Album of the Year.

Though originally launched as a side project, with various musicians joining from different collectives, the New Pornographers continue to release music, including 2019’s eighth album, “In the Morse Code of Brake Lights.” Case has been steadfast in recording with the outfit, while also embarking on a solo career.

She has released seven studio albums, five of which cracked the U.S. indie charts, including 2009’s alternative country “Middle Cyclone” and 2013’s alternative rock “The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight, the Harder I Fight, the More I Love You” topping at number one. Both were nominated for Grammys.

In 2022, she released a retrospective album, “Wild Creatures,” featuring track commentary looking back upon the music that propelled her career.

Tickets to the Kenan Auditorium show start at $38. 

Little Feat

Sixties American rock band Little Feat — known for songs “Willin’” and “Dixie Chicken” — are touring through this spring, putting its blend of jazz, Americana, NOLA’s swamp boogie and rockabilly on full display for concert-goers.

Original founders Lowell George (once part of Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention) and Bill Payne started the band in 1969 and disbanded it a decade later. George died the same year, and in the mid-’80s Payne revived it with remaining members. 

Revered as one of the greatest rock pianists and blues musicians, Payne has toured and collaborated with the likes of Pink Floyd, Emmylou Harris, Stevie Nicks, Phil Lesh and Friends, and others. He also penned Bonnie Raitt’s title track “Takin’ My Time” on 1977’s “Sweet Forgiveness,” on which he also performed.

Little Feat has had a rotating group of players since reprising, though the lineup has always included Payne. He continues to perform on vocals and piano, with Sam Clayton on congas, vocals and percussion, Kenny Gradney on bass, Fred Tackett on guitar, mandolin, trumpet and vocals, and Tony Leone on drums.

The band has released 17 studio albums, the last including 2012’s “Rooster Rag.”

Little Feat will perform Apr. 29; tickets start at $60.

Judy Collins

Regarded for her songwriting talent that has crossed genres since the ‘60s, 83-year-old Judy Collins has released 45-plus combined studio, live, compilation, and holiday albums.

The musician got her start in Greenwich Village, New York, covering recordings by the folk era’s heavy-hitters, Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger and Leonard Cohen. Cohen — who died in 2016 — wrote “Suzanne,” which Collins first recorded in 1966. 

Like many musicians from that scene, Collins aligned with social activists of the time, including Abby Hoffman and Jerry Rubin, supporting the Chicago Seven and a woman’s right to choose. She used music to inspire change and went on to record with Stephen Stills of Crosby, Stills and Nash, and earned her first Grammy 53 years ago for the song “Both Sides Now.” Originally written by Joni Mitchell, Collins was the first to record it on her seminal record, 1967’s “Wildflowers.” “Both Sides Now” has since been hailed as one of the greatest 500 songs of all time, as rated by Rolling Stone.

Collins didn’t receive a charted single until 1975 when she covered Stephen Sondheim’s “Send In the Clowns,” written for the 1973 musical “A Little Night Music.” It went to number 36 and two years later hit number 19, where it stayed for 27 non-consecutive weeks. The song earned Collins a Grammy Award nomination for Best Pop Vocal Performance.

In 2019 Collins received her first number-one charting track, with the duet album “Winter Stories.” It was recorded with Jonas Fjeld and featured North Carolina Americana act Chatham County Line. 

She is touring in support of her latest album, “Spellbound” — dedicated to folk masters Seeger and Woody Guthrie. It’s nominated for a Grammy for Best Folk Album in 2022. 

Tickets to her June 9 show start at $54.


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Shea Carver
Shea Carver
Shea Carver is the editor in chief at Port City Daily. A UNCW alumna, Shea worked in the print media business in Wilmington for 22 years before joining the PCD team in October 2020. She specializes in arts coverage — music, film, literature, theatre — the dining scene, and can often be tapped on where to go, what to do and who to see in Wilmington. When she isn’t hanging with her pup, Shadow Wolf, tending the garden or spinning vinyl, she’s attending concerts and live theater.

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