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Music roundup for Jan. 30, 2014

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Kareesa Wilson
January 30, 2014

Tommy Ensemble Cabaret at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 31, Promenade Hall, Overture Center for the Arts, 201 State St., Madison. Tickets: $25. Call 608-258-4141.

The Tommy Ensemble is talented youth at their best. A program sponsored by Madison's Overture Center, the ensemble is comprised of 18 high schoolers from around the state selected by audition for their exceptional talent and star quality. It grew out of the popular Tommy Awards, a regional competition for the area's best high school musical theater shows and actors. The Tommys' popularity gave Overture officials the idea to make it a permanent outreach program. "We wanted to give students a chance to train with their peers," said Tim Sauers, vice president of programming for Overture Center. The cabaret show is a new venture for the group. It will feature Broadway standards sung to an audience in a more intimate and informal setting.

Saving Abel at 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 31, The Back Bar, 1901 Beloit Ave., Janesville. Tickets: $15-$25. Visit thebackbar.com.

This Abel needs no saving. The Mississippi rock group Saving Abel is 10 years old and going strong. Frontman Jason Null named the band after the biblical character Abel who was killed by his brother Cain. Null and Jared Weeks started collaborating writing songs together in their small hometown where they were discovered by ZZ Top producer Skidd Mills. The two eventually assembled a band adding bassist Eric Tayler, guitar player Scott Bartlett, and drummer Blake Dixon. The group's break-out hit single "Addicted" off their 2008 debut album rose to No. 2 on Billboard's rock charts. The album went gold and Saving Abel became stars. Since then the band has toured extensively and released three more albums.

Blackberry Smoke at 9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 31, Majestic Theatre, 115 King St., Madison. With The Delta Saints. Tickets: $20-$22. Call 608-255-0901.

Blackberry Smoke brings some heat to Southern rock. The Atlanta-based group's been lauded for their hipster-friendly brand of country rock. Ten years ago Blackberry Smoke released its debut album, "Bad Luck Ain't No Crime." The follow-up, "Little Piece of Dixie," generated a lot of buzz and charted the Top 50 hit "Pretty Little Lie." They band has toured with the Zac Brown Band, ZZ Top and Lynrd Skynrd. The band's lineup includes frontman Charlie Starr, bassist Richard Turner, drummer Brit Turner, guitarists Paul Jackson, and Brandon Still on keyboards.

Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 1, Stoughton Opera House, 381 E. Main St., Stoughton. Tickets: $40. Call 608-877-4400.

Marty Stuart is a country music legend. The 55-year-old crooner is known for bringing country back in a big way. He plays traditional country like it's going out of style and injects a healthy dose of rock and honky tonk attitude. Stuart's career skyrocketed during the 1990s with hit songs like "Tempted" and "The Whiskey Ain't Workin". His career began as a teenager playing with Lester Flatt. He joined Johnny Cash's backup band in the early 1980s and released his debut album "With a Little Help From My Friends."

Other albums followed but it wasn't until the release of his 1989 album "Hillbilly Rock" that Stuart became a star. Two successful collaborations with fellow singer Travis Tritt solidified Stuart's standing as a solo artist and songwriter. He founded Superlatone Records eight years ago to focus on releasing southern gospel and traditional country music.



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