What's up with folk and country

Maybe you remember the old Johnny Cash television program from way back. Well, Johnny and June and their friends would put on a hell of a holiday show (as you can see on the DVD re-release), and we're expecting Bobby E. Lee and the Sympathizers, who are finishing up their new album, to bring that kind of authentic life to the season of treacly and saccharine sentiment with their fourth annual Holiday Hoedown at the Ottobar on Dec. 20. Bobby and the boys will be playing with the Haint Blue and the Baltimore String Felons. We hear that it might be the String Felons' final show, so you really want to get out for that. But if you miss them, Bobby E. Lee will also be playing with the Country Devils on Jan. 25 at the 8x10.

As we approach the anniversary of Hank Williams' New Year's Day death in 1953, local honky-tonk hero Arty Hill releases two songs on a new compilation called Midnight: The Death of Hank Williams. Travis Kitchens, no musical slouch in his own right, has put together a nice video for Arty's song "Is There Something You Can Do (New Years 1953)."

And speaking of Kitchens, he's long been working on a documentary about Zane Campbell (pictured), nephew of the legendary Ola Belle Reed. The filming is done and he's editing it now and is also helping Campbell put together a record that Chris Freeland will begin recording in February, with Susan Alcorn on pedal steel, Walker Teret on bass, and Anna Roberts-Gevalt on fiddle. Some configuration of Zane's band-perhaps with his equally talented brother Hugh Campbell-will be playing at the 1919 on Friday Jan. 17.

Letitia Van Sant will be performing as part of City Paper contributor Geoffrey Himes' Root Cafe songwriter showcase at An die Musik on Jan. 26.

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