What doesn’t kill the legendary bar – fires, pandemic closures, ownership changes – just seems to make it stronger. After a lengthy hiatus, White Water has come back with a vengeance under Travis Hill. The calendar’s been robust, with blues jams, shows from Rachel Ammons and Bonnie Montgomery and Lightnin Malcolm and Jimbo Mathus, punk rock bills, karaoke happy hours and the farmers market every Saturday. But here’s one for the upcoming weekend: the energetic yet literate songs of Paul Chesne. Most Dwight Yoakam band members first cycled through the Paul Chesne Band – including Mitch Marine, longtime Yoakam bandleader who’s also produced Chesne – although you wouldn’t call Chesne country. He’s worked with the Webb Sisters, who were backing vocalists for Leonard Cohen and Tom Petty, but Chesne’s not much of a singer-songwriter type.
However, he draws on all this, adding in liquor, aggression, and humor – blurring the lines of genre, the lines between performer and audience, as well as the lines between the ditches. In the 1970s, they would have called it Outlaw Country, but Chesne’s bringing more than that to the table, a table on which he may also dance: “I would describe the vibe at a PCB show as a bunch of people making out, people falling on the stage, sometimes we get heckled; it’s a good time.” In notices for a 2009 show with late Little Rock conga player Joe Cripps, Chesne was described as “like Dr. Dre meets Johnny Cash.” If the through line here is extreme songcraft coupled with unpredictable performance, there are less apt comparisons.
$10. Doors open at 9 p.m. following a private function.