On his latest wild and woolly, rockin' and twangin' slab, Free State Serenade, former BR5-49 co-leader Chuck Mead conspires with His Grassy Knoll Boys to unearth the heart of prairie darkness that is his native Kansas. Although based in Nashville for two decades, Mead couldn't resist taking up some of the genuine, harrowing tales of his home state, including UFO encounters, Quantrill's Raiders' bloody Civil War skirmishes, the murders of Mead's childhood schoolmate and the farm family that Truman Capote wrote about in In Cold Blood. Laced with dark humor and fueled by the Boys' raucous waves of honky tonk, rockabilly, western swing, Bakersfield country, and Appalachian-streaked primal rock 'n' roll, the tunes are grim only in their details, coming across like a Coen Brothers version of Kansas noir. Minnesota's own ace country throwbacks, the Cactus Blossoms, open.
Wed., April 30, 7:30 p.m., 2014