Willie on my mind; Dropping acid

With late-career homeruns and a relentless "On the Road" ethos, Willie Nelson's renown has rightfully grown in recent years, saving the ripe and wrinkly 73-year-old outlaw from a quiet ride into the sunset. Even if last year's reggae record, Countryman, suggested that he may have taken one toke too many, the follow-up, a dedication to unsung songwriter Cindy Walker, displayed Nelson's keen ability as a vocalist and an unfailing ambassador of American song. On stage, Nelson's avuncular poise makes performances a convivial family affair, where he strings together sprawling medleys of joy, heartache, and signature rebellion. He performs Thursday, Aug. 31, at the Mountain Winery. Admission is $55-95; call 741-2822 or visit www.mountainwinery.com for more info. Nate Cavalieri


Sam Bush is a mandolin-picking virtuoso and a "newgrass" legend. Since the '70s, he's been forging a progressive fusion of bluegrass, country-rock, and jazz-informed improv. But I dream of enlightened talents like Bush really shaking up modern American roots music by ditching that worn-out Nashville studio sound (which mars his otherwise great new disc Laps in Seven) and hiring some underground head like psych-folk producer Glenn Donaldson. Unfortunately, that will never happen unless we all stage a mass demonstration when Bush performs Friday, Sept. 1, at the Independent at 9 p.m. Admission is $22; call 771-1422 or visit www.independentsf.com for more info. Justin F. Farrar


The group may have formed after late, lamented South Bay stoner/doom giants Sleep, but San Francisco's Acid King deserves credit for being a stalwart contributor of monolithic sounds to the local scene over the last 13 years. Anchored by founder, songwriter, and singer/guitarist Lori S. and longtime drummer Joey Osborne, the power trio refined its lumbering, hypnotic, riff magic to new heights of mudslide heaviness on last year's rumbling opus III for Small Stone Records. Get a bleeding earful of Acid King's snarling, down-tuned assault when it takes the stage with Japanese doomsayers Eternal Elysium on Friday, Sept. 1, at the Elbo Room at 8 p.m. Admission is $6-7; call 552-7788 or visit www.elbo.com for more information. Dave Pehling


Two of Southern California's longtime champions of backward-gazing '60s psyche and shoegazer rock, the Tyde and Brian Jonestown Massacre, seem like perfectly matched tourmates — but this is based more on likeminded music history references than their actual sound. The Tyde's latest, Three's Company, expands the Rademaker brothers' fascination with Brit rock through comfortable, radio-friendly arrangements. BJM, on the other hand, has stuck closely to druggy classic rock with a smattering of Eastern influences throughout the band's career. Anyone who's seen the documentary Dig! knows a bit about frontman Anton Newcombe's stability issues, and even after the film's release, a BJM show is still a crapshoot. Hopefully, the music will outshine the antics this time around. Brian Jonestown Massacre/The Tyde perform Monday, Sept. 4, and Tuesday, Sept 5, at The Independent at 9 p.m. Admission is $16; call 771-1422 or visit www.independentsf.com for more info. Jonah Flicker

 
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