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Music roundup: Vassar, Pickler to share stage at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino on Dec. 1

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By Bill Livick/Special to The Gazette
Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Yelawolf, 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 1, The Rave, 2401 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee. For tickets, call 414-342-7283.

Though he hails from Alabama, hip-hop artist Yelawolf spent much of his youth in Nashville and on the road with his mother and her touring-musician boyfriends. That explains, in part, his wide range of musical influences that include Foghat, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Little Feat and 10,000 Maniacs.

Later, after discovering hip-hop, Yelawolf counted Run-DMC, the Beastie Boys and N.W.A. as major influences. Even later, his key influence became heavy metal music.

In addition to diverse rock and rap influences, Yelawolf has said in interviews he was inspired by country music stars such as Alabama and Dwight Yoakam.

Yelawolf began rapping around 2005 and released a handful of homemade recordings until 2011, when he signed a recording contract with Eminem's Shady Records. There he released his major-label debut album, “Radioactive,” in November 2011. The album debuted at No. 27 on the Billboard 200 chart.

Yelawolf released a sequel to his breakthrough mixtape “Trunk Muzik” called “Trunk Muzik Returns” in 2013 and his second album, “Love Story,” in 2015. Last month, he released his third studio CD, “Trial by Fire,” which he self-produced.

Yelawolf, whose father is a member of the Cherokee Nation, has said his background and upbringing have made him feel as though he was always “outside the crowd” and imbued him with experiences and insights that he shares through his music.

Phil Vassar and Kellie Pickler, 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 1, Potawatomi Hotel & Casino, Northern Lights Theater, 1721 W. Canal St., Milwaukee. For tickets, call Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000.

Country music singer-songwriter Phil Vassar is teaming with fellow country artist Kellie Pickler on a national Christmas tour that brings will bring them to the Northern Lights Theater.

In honor of the tour, the duo are releasing a Christmas single called “The Naughty List,” written by Phil and Juliana Songs.

Vassar began his recording career in the late 1990s and has collaborated in writing songs with a host of artists that includes Tim McGraw and Alan Jackson. In 1999, Vassar was named Country Songwriter of the Year by the American Society of Songwriters, Composers and Publishers.

He has released eight studio albums and a greatest hits collection. He released his latest album, “American Soul,” in 2016.

Pickler is a former “American Idol” contestant who has released four albums since her 2006 debut, “Small Town Girl.” She has toured with Taylor Swift, Brad Paisley and Rascal Flatts, and she and Derek Hough were the winners of the 16th season of “Dancing with the Stars.”

Last year, Pickler was inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame.

Ho Ho Joe and the Stanton Holiday Show, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2, Stoughton Opera House, 381 E. Main St., Stoughton. Tickets: $17. Call 608-877-4400.

It's going to be a holiday show unlike any you've seen. Ho Ho Joe and the Stanton Holiday Show features multi-instrumentalist Joe Craven, who fills the stage with found objects from nature, junkyards and thrift stores and turns them into musical instruments.

Craven, who's also a music educator, is considered a musical madman in the best sense of the term, and he is known for drawing audience members into the act. Beyond his ingenuity and creativity, Craven also is a skilled musician who performed with David Grisman for 17 years and Alison Brown for seven years. He also has collaborated and shared the stage with the late French violinist Stephane Grappelli, Grateful Dead founder Jerry Garcia, and other notable musicians such as David Lindley and Howard Levy.

Craven is known for mastering any instrument—and anything else—with strings attached: violin, mandolin, tin can, bedpan, cookie tin, tenor guitar/banjo, mouth bow, canjoe, cuatro, berimbau, balalaika and more. He was named the 2009 Folk Alliance Far-West Performer of the Year, and has emceed variety shows from coast to coast.

Brian Regan, 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2, The Riverside Theater, 116 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee. For tickets, call 414-286-3663.

Comedian Brian Regan is best known for his self-deprecating humor, as well as sarcasm and quirky observations on life and the human condition. His material centers on everyday events, and he's known as a “clean” comedian because he steers clear of profane language and sexuality.

Instead, Regan relies on body language and facial expressions to give his stand-up routine a physical element. He says his greatest influences are Steve Martin, the Smothers Brothers and Johnny Carson.

Regan has released three CDs and four DVDs of his comedy, and in September 2015 recorded his first-ever live special on Comedy Central. He released his first CD in 1997, and earlier this year signed a contract with Netflix to release two stand-up comedy specials.

Regan also has appeared on television and in films nearly two dozen times. His last major TV appearance came in 2015 with “Brian Regan: Live from Radio City Music Hall.”



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