Roots rock sensation Dave Alvin is best known for his work as guitarist for the Blasters in the early 1980s. Alvin has since released several critically acclaimed solo albums, including the gritty, hard-edged Romeo's Escape (1987) and Public Domain: Songs From the Wild Land (2000), a collection of traditional folk and blues songs interpreted in Alvin's unique fashion.
In the meantime, Alvin's tune Long White Cadillac was a huge hit - for country star Dwight Yoakam. This year, Alvin released the stirring Ashgrove, a set of haunting blues and rock tunes.
Opener Deborah Coleman is a guitarist who plays blues rock. Coleman's 2004 release, What About Love?, finds her going in a smoother, more R&B direction, showcasing her supple voice and formidable playing. Coleman's cover of the Everly Brothers' When Will I Be Loved? signifies her intentions to please the adult contemporary crowd. But watch out. Coleman's still foot-stomping and sizzling on Lie No Better, a Delbert McClinton tune, and the original Bad Boy.
Dave Alvin and the Guilty Men perform with Deborah Coleman and the Thrillseekers at 8 p.m. Friday at the A La Carte Pavilion, 4050 Dana Shores Drive, Tampa. $20 advance, $25 at the door. (813) 238-8001.
Christian rock at Orlando theme parks
If you enjoy Christian rock, consider trekking to Disney World for its 22nd annual Night of Joy weekend, featuring some of the genre's most popular performers.
Or check out the Rock the Universe festival at Universal Studios on Friday and Saturday for the rest of the biggest names in contemporary Christian music.
NIGHT OF JOY AT DISNEY WORLD: Today through Saturday, 24 artists will perform on stages throughout the park; they include Michael W. Smith, Jars Of Clay, Stephen Curtis Chapman, Kirk Franklin, Third Day and Jaci Velasquez.
The performances start as early as 7:30 p.m. and continue to near midnight. One-, two- and three-night tickets are available; they are $36.95 for one night, $59.95 for two nights, $79.95 for three. 407 934-7639; www.disneyworld.com/nightofjoy Tickets are also available at Family Christian Stores.
ROCK THE UNIVERSE AT UNIVERSAL STUDIOS: The two-day event features 24 acts, including Mercy Me, Audio Adrenaline, TobyMac and Casting Crowns, as well as an interactive Peace & Worship stage where guests can sing along with their favorite artists.
Performances begin at 4 p.m. and last until the park closes each day. Tickets are $36.95 for one day, $59.95 for two days. Day-of-event tickets are $41.95. Purchase in advance at www.rocktheuniverse.com or call toll-free 1-866-788-4636.
Van Halen's worlds are worlds apart
Van Halen recently released The Best Of Both Worlds, a career-spanning greatest hits collection that includes tunes sung by both of the legendary band's singers, original front guy David Lee Roth and his replacement, Sammy Hagar.
Man, don't you miss Diamond Dave? There was something magical about the original Van Halen lineup. Roth had the spandex, the leg kicks and splits, the attitude. Roth was like Sinatra gone California party boy. When Roth sang sexy lyrics and he licked his fingers or let his tongue dart out ever so slyly, it was bawdy and cute. Roth was camping it up, being a rock star as much as playing the part of a rock star.
When Hagar sticks his tongue out, it's just gross. Hagar is like a frat boy to Roth's theater major, with an ego the size of the arena he was born to perform in.
The songs from the Roth era are the band's best: Running With the Devil, Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love, Everybody Wants Some, Jamie's Cryin', my goodness, all the monster hits off the 1984 album: Jump, Panama, Hot For Teacher.
Alas, it's not a perfect world.
Tonight you get Van Hagar. With Sammy singing Dave's songs. And all the weak latter-day Hagar hits: Why Can't This Be Love?, Love Walks In, Finish What Ya Started.
Van Halen performs at 8 tonight at the St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa. $46.75-$86.75.