Ben Nichols in concert tonight at the CALS Ron Robinson Theater

ben_nichols2Fans of gritty alt-country band Lucero may flock to the Central Arkansas Library System’s (CALS) Ron Robinson Theater, 100 River Market Ave., to see the band’s front man Ben Nichols perform for the Arkansas Sounds concert series on Friday, August 29, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20, general admission, and available at and Butler Center Galleries, 401 President Clinton Ave. The Ron Robinson Theater’s entrance may be accessed from the Main Library’s parking lot, 100 Rock Street.

Singer, songwriter, and guitarist Ben Nichols has earned critical praise for his emotive, whiskey-soaked vocals. The Austinist has described him as “a blistering diesel train of a singer and a songwriter of rare versatility.” During breaks from Lucero, Nichols has recorded acoustic-based material, including an EP featuring Nichols on acoustic guitar, Rick Steff (of Cat Power) on accordion and piano, and Todd Been (of Glossary) on pedal steel and electric guitar. This EP, The Last Pale Light in the West, comprises songs based on characters and situations from Cormac McCarthy’s novel, Blood Meridian.
This concert is presented by Arkansas Sounds, a project of the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies focusing on Arkansas music and musicians both past and present. For more information, call 501-918-3033 or visit


First Annual Arkansas Sounds


Headliners for the Arkansas Sounds Music Festival will be Lucero, a country-punk rock band fronted by Little Rock native Ben Nichols; southern rock band Black Oak Arkansas; and rock and roll pioneers Sleepy LaBeef and Sonny Burgess (appearing with his band the Legendary Pacers). Arkansas Sounds is hosted by the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, a department of the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS), and will be held September 28-29, 2012, in the Riverfest Amphitheatre and the River Market Pavilions. Admission is free.

The Festival will feature a tribute to two Arkansas artists who died this year, Levon Helm and Michael Burks-featuring and hosted by Amy Garland Angel. Additional acts include the Cate Brothers Band, Runaway Planet, Rodney Block and the Real Music Lovers, Tyrannosaurus Chicken, the Salty Dogs, and Velvet Kente.

Focusing on Arkansas music and musicians both past and present, the Festival will also work to get musicians and songwriters involved in local schools, create songwriting workshops for kids and adults, and host related performances and events throughout the state.