Hot Picks Aug. 29-Sept. 4: Bill Callahan, Celebrate the Sky, Pilcrow

Hot Picks Aug. 29-Sept. 4: Bill Callahan, Celebrate the Sky, Pilcrow

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MONDAY | 9.02


At a concert on a farm in Pine Plains, New York, in 2016, Bill Callahan gave a verbal nod to Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash—The Highwaymen—as he plucked the nylon strings of his guitar between songs. He mentioned the PBS special that followed the country supergroup then jumped into “One Fine Morning,” a song of his that’s almost 10 years old now. The thrum of his deep voice has elements of Cash’s—smooth, straightforward, nothing fancy but all the more haunting for it—his writing evokes that of Nelson and Jennings, sometimes cheeky, sometimes deeply intimate, somber and contemplative. Callahan has made waves for years, first under the moniker Smog, with 13 albums between 1990 and 2005. After 2005’s A River Ain’t Too Much to Love he switched to his given name, with major albums to follow. 2011’s Apocalypse and 2013’s Dream River, as well as earlier work, Dongs of Sevotion let go of Smog in name, but continued to take a hard look at the United States: Its natural beauty, bison, dogma, war. Callahan’s is not a music that blows things out of proportion. It’s simple, and not in the negative sense, simple as in distilled, boiled down, lo-fi with strong country influences that tell stories and ponder farmland and the road. Callahan is currently touring in support of his most recent album Shepherd In A Sheepskin Vest, released June of this year. It’s the kind of record that asks its listener to immerse themself in it fully, hear it two, three times in a row while looking out the window as the cornfields, pine trees and highways of America rush by. Bill Callahan will perform at The Coconino Center for the Arts, 2300 N. Fort Valley Road, on Monday, Sept. 2. The show begins at 8 p.m. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit



More than 20 handmade kites of all shapes and sizes currently decorate the second floor of Northern Arizona University’s Riles Gallery as part of the exhibit Celebrate the Sky. Designed and stitched by NAU College of Arts and Letters advisor Randy Shannon, kites range from elaborate bugs and sharks to large, colorful rectangles that span entire walls. Several kites reference Asian or Native American designs and the largest hangs over the gallery at 13 feet wide and 23 feet long. There will be an opening reception for the colorful exhibit on Thursday, Aug. 29, at 4 p.m. at the Riles Gallery, 317 W. Tormey Dr., on NAU’s north campus. For more information, visit



However you feel about progressive-rock daddies Tool, you have to admit they’ve reached peak cult fandom. Think about it: The band releases an album about as frequently as the planets align and yet they’ve managed to maintain millions of fans the world over, many of which wear T-shirts featuring phallic hardware with the word “tool” on it. It’s genius. Their only four albums have sold more than 13 million copies, and their most recent effort, 10,000 Days, left fans drooling for more. About 13 years later, we’re getting our wish. Singer Maynard James Keenan confirmed the band’s new album would be titled Fear Inoculom and would be released Aug. 30. To celebrate, Flagstaff’s Green Room, 15 N. Agassiz St., in partnership with 103.7 The Eagle, is hosting a free Fear Inoculom official listening party at 4 p.m.—tonight! So what are you doing? Stop reading this and go (but pick up where you left off later).



A pilcrow (¶) signifies the separation of paragraphs. The end of one thought and the start of a new story. And of course, the guy who used to edit this paper and now works with words at KNAU, Ryan Heinsius, would find inspiration in such a nerdy symbol. With his band Pilcrow, Heinsius says his songwriting finds inspiration in history, storytelling and social commentary. “[Storytelling] communicates deeper truths. It’s about how we deal with adversity or heartbreak or joy. There’s a deeper truth communicated in the best stories. I’m not saying that I’ve achieved that,” he says with a laugh, “but that’s kind of the goal.” Not only does his Oklahoma upbringing make its way into the bluesy folk styling of Pilcrow, it also finds its way into the timbre of Heinsius’ singing. The twang in his voice is something drummer Andrew Lauher playfully calls him out on. Recently the band recruited Jeff Lusby-Breault of ENORMO|DOME fame. This Saturday, catch a special set by Pilcrow at Firecreek Coffee Co., 22 E. Route 66, with ENORMO|DOME and Sunny & the Sweet B's, which includes Brian White and some members of Viola and the Brakemen playing some more country-twang originals. Show is $8 and begins at 8 p.m.

FRI.-MON. | 8.30-9.02


Labor Day weekend is always a big deal in Flagstaff. Crowds from Phoenix flock north to escape the brutal heat and families drive in from across the state for the Coconino County Fair. The fair is maybe the major event of the year, complete with funnel cakes, turkey legs, vats of lemonade, petting zoos and, of course, dizzying and gravity-defying rides. We here at Flag Live! have a love/hate relationship with The Zipper, for example. We adore it, it’s fun, it spins you upside down. But we also hate it. It’s scary. We might throw up. We can’t make up our minds. For people who are easily nauseated, maybe stick to the Ferris wheel or the fun houses. Of course there’s much more to the fair than just its rides. Take the competition for the largest zucchini, the best tomatoes or the cutest bunnies or the music and dance acts—including Nitty Gritty Dirt Band this year. There’s something for everyone, truly. And, for those who don’t want to brave the crowds or would prefer to go to the fair at night when all the teenagers show up, use the daylight hours to visit Art in the Park, which features 100 vendors selling their work. The juried art fair is held at Wheeler Park, which fills to the brim with pottery, jewelry, watercolor, woodwork, you name it. Art in the Park runs Aug. 31-Sept. 2, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. The Coconino County Fair is Aug 30-Sept. 2. For more, visit or


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