If you’ve ever wanted to see a country singer rap or a New Orleans-style brass band tear up a pub stage, this is your lucky weekend.
The weekend kicks off with Root River Jam, a local Americana trio, at the Civic Theatre’s patio on Friday afternoon, starting at 5:30.
They’re there as part of the Civic Theatre’s patio series, a cool weekly event that takes place right outside the theater and features free music, food for sale from Johnny Mango, and beverages for all ages.
For more information about the band, check out their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/RootRiverJam.
Later in the evening, rock band Room for Gray will play the Wicked Moose starting at 8 p.m.
The trio, which consists of James Gray on vocals and bass, David Roo on guitar and vocals, and Kris Godfrey on drum and percussion, plays a straight-forward blend of rock and pop.
They cite Matchbox 20 and Bon Jovi as influences, and wear those influences on their sleeve throughout their latest album, 2009’s “The Next Step,” which is available for streaming on their website, www.roomforgray.com. “Lying,” a track from that album, is an emotional tune that treads on the rock side of their pop-rock line and showcases the hook-heavy approach the band takes to its songwriting.
Kathy’s Pub takes a break from its recent string of quality rock acts and hosts the McNasty Brass Band at 9 p.m. Friday. The band is a St. Paul brass ensemble that brings a party wherever it goes.
Made up of contemporary music students and recent grads, the crew comes complete with two trumpets, two trombones, a tenor saxophone, a sousaphone/tuba, and three percussionists. They use this arsenal of brass to play music that stretches from traditional parade and New Orleans standards to their own original compositions, which include elements of funk, rock, reggae, and hip-hop.
For more insight into their sound, head over to their website, McNastyBrassBand.com.
Speaking of blending things together, Colt Ford, who plays Whiskey Bones on Saturday night, makes his living smashing contemporary country music and hip-hop into his songs.
Ford, like Nelly and Tim McGraw before him, thinks he’s found a way to make the genre-mashing palatable, as evidenced on his fifth studio album, “Thanks For Listening,” which came out in June of this year.
On “Back,” he rhymes about country living and his childhood through the verses, then transitions into a countrified wail to continue mourning the passage of time. “Crank it Up” features Ford on all vocal fronts, even dabbling with auto-tune, while a drum machine provides the song’s spine. His Saturday show starts at 8. Colt Ford is online at www.coltford.com.
If you’re looking for more straightforward country, head back over to Kathy’s, where Duluth bluegrass outfit Black River Revue will take the stage at around 9 p.m. Their latest album, “Spring Thaw,” was released in June and features a host of songs played in traditional bluegrass style. For a listen, head over to www.blackriverrevue.com.
If rock is more your thing, make your way over to the North Star Bar, where Pastel Black, a Spinal Tap loving, hard rocking cover band, will start playing at 9 p.m.
Pastel Black covers songs by Nazareth, Led Zeppelin, the Beastie Boys, and Guns n’ Roses. Their full song list is available on their website, www.pastel-black.com.