December isn’t traditionally known for its awesome music jams, but the month is off to a surprisingly robust start. By robust we mean Ghostland Observatory, Willie Nelson, Los Lobos, Los Lonely Boys … We’re sorry, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, but we’d rather direct our $27-$68 to any one or combination of these artists before shelling it out for your AT&T Center show (December 4, for those who really, really love that “Wizards in Winter” song, attcenter.com).
There’s also a lot more lower-key offerings going on this weekend. Normally Sound and Fury is too scared of Yankees and I-35 to recommend venturing further north than Gruene Hall for a show, but we’ll drive the extra 10 minutes to see Michael Martin Murphey in San Marcos (Saturday, December 4, LBJ Student Center Ballroom, Texas State University, 601 University Drive, encoreseries.txstate.edu). The original cosmic cowboy has the unique distinction of writing songs for the Monkees and Kenny Rogers and palling around with Austin’s outlaw country set in the ’70s. Nearly two decades ago, Murphey became entranced by the Cowboy Christmas Ball, an event in tiny Anson, Texas, featuring period costumes, dances, and music dating back to 1885. Murphey’s long-running show models itself after the Anson event, complete with waltzes, mazurkas, and other fancy-pants dances.
Closer to home, the stars magically align for a kick-ass, local girl-power Americana trifecta this weekend. Terri Hendrix and Lloyd Maines return to the Carver on Friday, December 3. The hometown singer-songwriter teams up with the Bulverde resident, country music producer extraordinaire, and multi-instrumentalist (and father of Dixie Chicks’ Natalie Maines) for an intimate evening at the Little Carver Civic Center (226 N. Hackberry, thecarver.org). The next evening, the Melissa Ludwig Band celebrates its album release at Casbeer’s with Nico(lette) Good and Noelle Hampton (1150 S. Alamo, casbeers.com). Rounding out the weekend, country cantante Stephanie Urbina Jones spends Sunday afternoon at the Cove (606 W. Cypress, thecove.us) hosting a Tex-Mex-travaganza with a jalapeno-eating contest, mariachi band, folklorico dancers, and more as part of her monthly Texicana Sunday series.
Last but not least, Sala Diaz (517 Stieren, search “Sala Diaz” on facebook.com) hosts conceptual concerts on Wednesday and Friday this week. For “A Day Without,” local indie pop powerhouse Buttercup tears the gallery apart, with curator Hills Snyder’s blessing (8-10 p.m. Wednesday). On “A Day With,” man with a (rap) plan Bryson Brooks, a visual artist with a predilection for booty jams, performs (8:30-10 p.m. Friday). In your face, Trans-Siberian.