Music Box: Blistering Big Head Todd Park Mohr plays at Rams Head On Stage

Todd Park Mohr is also known as Big Head Todd. The thing is, I can't remember much about his head due to the fact that his fingers are the focus of his Stevie Ray type Stratocaster licks. The guy is an absolute monster on the guitar, when he's not filling fanatically on sax and keys, too.

Don't miss a night of blistering and bluesy guitar riffs as Big Head Todd Park Mohr plays a solo show at Rams Head On Stage in Annapolis this Friday (8 p.m.).

One of the silkiest voices in all of rock and soul music is that of Boz Scaggs who performs on Friday night at the Warner Theatre in Washington (8 p.m.). You might be most familiar with his disco era soul music from the smash hit album "Silk Degrees" ("Low Down," "Lido Shuffle," "We're All Alone").

But Boz goes way back to the late sixties as a member of the Steve Miller Band and as a solo artist performing an unforgettable version of the Fenton Robinson classic "Loan Me A Dime" with Duane Allman on guitar and the famed Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section in the house.

He's back in the studio and harkening back to those soulful and rootsy times, working with producer-drummer Steve Jordan (Keith Richards, John Mayer). The result is an album near and dear to his heart titled "Memphis," Boz's first studio release in five years. The album, which features many soul classics, was recorded in the same Royal Studios that Al Green recorded many of his earthshaking classics with legendary producer Willie Mitchell.

Boz has been on the road of late reliving classic soul with fellow superstars Donald Fagan (Steely Dan) and Michael McDonald (Doobie Brothers, Steely Dan) in a two off-band they call the Dukes of September (formerly the New York Rock & Soul Review). The man has a beautiful voice and is an incredible guitar player to boot!

Other shows this Friday night include Old Blue and 10 other acts at Rams Head Live! in Baltimore (7 p.m.), while jazz pianist Cyrus Chestnut performs his blues and gospel inflected magic at Montpelier Arts Center in Laurel (8 p.m.), and Neil Sedaka lights up the Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda (8 p.m.). Sedaka was a teen heartthrob in the 1950s with gummy tunes such as "Calendar Girl," "Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen," "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do" and "Bad Blood" (with Elton John) over a career spanning more than 50 years.

Saturday

Jazzy crooner Tom Wopat plays a heartwarming evening of American Songbook classics and folk gems and urban country favorites at Rams Head On Stage on Saturday (8 p.m.).

Wopat is sure to have hearts throbbing, too, as ladies and gentlemen alike still remember him as television star of the his show, "The Dukes of Hazzard." More recently the film actor was featured in the Quentin Tarantino movie "Django Unchained," and he's soon to appear with Jane Seymour in the ABC television film "Lovestruck."

Also this Saturday night, Rams Head Live! presents a CD release party for Baltimore heavy rock band Carbonstone (7:30 p.m.), and Little Feat guitarists Paul Barrere and Fred Tackett play their duo set at The Hamilton in Washington (8:30 p.m.). Look for an electric show from the boys with a dance floor space up front!

Singer-songwriter Kris Delmhorst plays a CD release party in the Stoltz Listening Room at the Avalon Theatre in Easton on Saturday (9 p.m.). Kris has one of the silkiest voices out on the folk trail these days, and she's a top-shelf song crafter as well.

Sunday

There's a folk and bluegrass all ages matinee at Rams Head On Stage in Annapolis on Sunday with a killer package lineup that includes the incomparable Chatham County Line, plus Mandolin Orange and Willie Watson with Brother Clair (3 p.m. show). The Raleigh, N.C.-based band recently released their sixth album, "Tightrope," which includes story songs about World War II veterans and epic Civil War sagas intertwined with classic stringband instrumentation and arrangements.

Also this Sunday evening look for Grateful Dead cover band Dark Star Orchestra to faithfully recreate a historic Dead show using one of the psychedelic band's original set lists as primary source material at Rams Head Live! in Baltimore (8 p.m.). Rolling Stone magazine credited Dark Star Orchestra for the "fanatical attention to detail."

Dark Star Orchestra keeps the flame burning with attention to original stage positioning, vocal arrangements, and specific vintage musical equipment and instruments that reflect the period. Each performance ends with a revelation of which particular Dead show was just played.

Tuesday

Look for A.J. Croce (son of Jim) to perform his rolling piano blues and jazz at Rams Head On Stage on Tuesday (8 p.m.). His latest opus is titled "Twelve Tales" and includes the participation of some legendary record producers, including Jack Clement from Nashville (Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis ay Sun Records), Allen Toussaint from New Orleans (Dr. John, Paul McCartney, The Meters), Mitchell Froom (Crowded House, Los Lobos), and Tony Berg (Fiona Apple, Bob Dylan), to name a few.

Wednesday

Grammy-nominated Syleena Johnson appears at Rams Head On Stage on Wednesday (8 p.m.) to perform songs she's recorded with Kanye West, Busta Rhymes, Common and R. Kelly, among others. She's featured on TV One's music program "R&B Divas." This is the daughter of unsung blues and Memphis soul singer Sly Johnson whose Hi Records version of "Take Me To the River" predated the hit version by Al Green and was every bit as good.

Thursday, May 22

Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues performs solo at Rams Head On Stage next Thursday night (8 p.m.). His voice is legend since writing and singing the timeless, orchestra accentuated hit song "Nights In White Satin" (from "Days of Future Past") way back in 1967.

The Moody Blues went on to release a string of hit concept albums all driven by Hayward's compositions, including "Tuesday Afternoon," "Voices In The Sky," "Question," and so many more. His is truly one of rock music's great and most recognizable voices!

The world's favorite trumpeter Chris Botti returns to the region for a command performance in the Kennedy Center's Concert Hall in D.C. next Thursday night (8p.m.). Botti's string of perennial Grammy-winning albums certainly touched a mainstream nerve with their steamy love songs and monumental genre bending collaborations.

"When I Fall In Love," "To Love Again," "Italia" and the CD-DVD "Chris Botti In Boston" established him as the world's largest selling jazz instrumentalist.

Botti's less adventurous new release, titled "Impressions," falls back on the most obvious songbook classics, such as "What A Wonderful World,""Summertime" and "Over the Rainbow." Hopefully the price of his fame won't slow down his musical vision and growth as an artist. Whatever, this guy plays is bound to be beautiful.

And the gushy Broadway-style review Celtic Woman brings their Emerald Tour to the Warner Theatre in Washington next Thursday (7 p.m.). The all-new stage production celebrates Ireland and the mystical Celtic heritage through traditional Irish anthems, pop standards and original music performed by the angelic performers of Celtic Woman.

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