It’s the last month of summer, and country/traditional music is heating up as top-tier acts roll in from Asheville and Nashville. Mainstream stars bring chart-topping hits, while Americana artists offer singer-songwriter perspectives on life and love in an age of uncertainty.
Among the most original artists to hit Nashville in the past 15 years, Dierks Bentley blends a bluegrass ethos with traditional country sentiments. Sixteen number one hits include “What Was I thinkin’?,” “Somewhere On a Beach,” and “Free and Easy (Down the Road I Go).” Bentley is accompanied on his “Mountain High” tour by Brothers Osborne and LANCO.
Since earning IBMA’s Momentum Award in 2013, Asheville’s Town Mountain has continued its upward surge. Behind the brilliant fiddling of Chapel Hill native, Bobby Britt, and Robert Greer’s emotive vocals, Town Mountain has developed an avid festival following as well as appearances on the Grand Ole Opry. Their current tour features songs form their acclaimed CD, “Southern Crescent,” and “New Freedom Blues,” scheduled for release in October.
The details: Aug. 10, 8 pm. Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro. $12-$15. catscradle.com/events or 919-967-9053
The “Father of Newgrass Music,” Sam Bush is that and more. The Bowling Green, Kentucky native is among the elite members of acoustic music. Allied with such pioneering artists as Bela Fleck, Jerry Douglas, Mark O’Connor, and Bryan Sutton, Bush has served as band leader for Emmylou Harris. Hank and Pattie Duo are scheduled to open.
The details: Aug. 11, 8 pm, Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro. $30 and up. catscradle.com/events or 919-967-9053
With apologies to Loretta Lynn: When you’re listening to Elizabeth Cook, you’re listening to country. The Florida native has had more than her share of hard knocks, and she shares her bruises in original songs delivered with intimacy, humor, and sass. She’s exposed the challenges of a woman making it in the man’s world of country music in “Sometimes it Takes Balls to be a Woman.” She’s been showcased on “Late Show with David Letterman,” Grand Ole Opry, and NPR, and received rave reviews from “No Depression” and “The New York Times.”
The details: Aug. 26, 8 pm. Motorco, Durham. $15 and up. 919-901-0875 or motorcomusic.com