On the Beat

Rock Picks: Johnny Irion’s U.S. Elevator plays Cat’s Cradle

Johnny Irion’s new rock-band project, U.S. Elevator, plays Friday at Cat’s Cradle Back Room in Carrboro, with The Roman Spring opening.
Johnny Irion’s new rock-band project, U.S. Elevator, plays Friday at Cat’s Cradle Back Room in Carrboro, with The Roman Spring opening.

Johnny Irion has spent most of the last decade or so in a pleasant folk-rock groove with his wife, Sarah Lee Guthrie, scion of the first family of American folk music (daughter of Arlo and granddaughter of Woody). They’ve made some very fine records together, no doubt. But if you have fond memories of Irion’s early-1990s time in the Triangle with Queen Sarah Saturday – and have a soft spot for classic Neil Young from the time before he was making polemical concept records about agrochemical companies – you should look into U.S. Elevator, Irion’s new rock-band project.

“U.S. Elevator” (RTE 8 Records) is plenty catchy and has a lot of vintage pop flourishes, but Irion is really looking to bring the rock this time, with a loose bar-band feel. U.S. Elevator will play it live Friday at Cat’s Cradle Back Room in Carrboro. Doors open at 8 p.m., The Roman Spring opens at 9 and cover is $10. See catscradle.com for details.

Other highlights

  • Also Friday, savant-like singer-songwriter Langhorne Slim is at the Cradle main room while Yonder Mt. String Band alumnus Jeff Austin plays Raleigh’s Lincoln Theatre, which has outlaw-country icon David Allan Coe on Saturday. Also Saturday, venerable R&B fireball Bettye LaVette will bring down Duke’s Baldwin Auditorium and Southern Culture on the Skids headlines Carrboro Elementary’s Back-to-SchoolRock Bash, mid-day at the Cradle.
  • Roots-music purveyor Pokey LaFarge plays the Cradle Tuesday and Cyril Neville’s supergroup Royal Southern Brotherhood plays Raleigh’s Southland Ballroom Wednesday.
  • Thursday brings roots-country singer Lee Ann Womack to Durham’s Carolina Theatre, Over the Rhine to the Carrboro Arts Center and pop diva Ariana Grande to Raleigh’s PNC Arena.
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