I recently saw one of my favorite young contemporary blues artists at Knuckleheads in Kansas City. It was my first time there, but not my last time. Two great acts are coming to Knuckleheads that slightly adventurous music fans should check out. The best part is, that tickets to these shows in one of Knucklehead's cozy rooms or garage are affordable.

First, is singer-songwriter James McMurtry. I've been a fan of McMurtry since John Mellencamp helped him get his start as co-producer on McMurtry's debut album "Too Long In The Wasteland". I first heard him on the soundtrack to the forgettable John Mellencamp film "Falling For Grace" where he teamed with Mellencamp, John Prine, Joe Ely, and Dwight Yoakam as part of the supergroup called Buzzin' Cousins.

If you're looking for a Mellencamp clone you'll probably be disappointed. Sure, "Too Long In The Wasteland" is very Mellencampish, but even as early as Candyland McMurtry was finding his distinct voice and through the past couple of decades found his sound.

If you enjoy autobiographical tales and stories about characters from all walks of life mixed with wry, literate observations about the world you'll dig McMurtry. The McMurtry show is worth checking out if you enjoy Mellencamp, Joe Ely, John Prine, and Texas singer-songwriters.

The second is British singer-songwriter Graham Parker. I first saw Parker at Taste of Chicago in 1988. He was scheduled to perform between Timbuck 3 and The Robert Cray Band. I didn't know anything about Parker and was planning to get some lunch during his set and my buddy Bill told me I should hang for his performance.

That was memorable, and life-changing 30 years later, when that good concert experience paid off and I wound up finally checking out his records "The Mona Lisa's Sister" and "Squeezing Out Sparks". I went all in on Graham Parker.

While Parker may not be rocking as hard as he did on Sparks or Mona Lisa, it's apparent he's still writing and performing snappy songs with great melodies and vocals that just invite you to listen to what he's singing.


James McMurtry plays Knuckleheads on Thursday night, April 11, 2024, with special guest Betty Soo. Tickets are only $25 and those under 21 will be admitted with an adult guardian.

Graham Parker plays Knuckleheads on Thursday night, April 25, 2024. Tickets are only $24 and those under 21 will be admitted with an adult guardian.

As for Knuckleheads. The venue and its three performance spaces, nestled in an industrial part of Kansas City, is a great place to kick back, enjoy a few brews, or a couple of shots, and enjoy live music from local, regional, and national artists in a very laidback casual intimate setting.

48 Artists You Want To See At The 2024 Missouri State Fair!

I recently asked you on the Kix 105.7 and Mix 92.3 Facebook page what artists you'd like to see play the Missouri State Fair in 2024. Here's what you told me.

Gallery Credit: Rob Creighton

101 Hilarious Rock Tour Rider Requests

From the understandable to the outrageous.

More From Mix 92.3