• A founding father of the roots-punk alternative-country scene with Jason & The Scorchers, Jason Ringenberg takes up a political picket in his new solo album, Empire Builders, due this coming Tuesday on the Yep Roc imprint.

Most performers would kill for one of Kris Kristofferson's careers. But he has three of them: as a great country songwriter, a musical performer of no small repute, and a successful actor. This man has been in a musical group with Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, and Waylon Jennings, and as an actor has worked with Martin Scorsese, John Sayles, Sam Peckinpah, and Tim Burton.

• Two new CD projects are raising funds to promote peace. Last week a re-make of the 1960s hit "Wake Up Everybody" by Harold Melvin & The Bluenotes was released as a single, featuring an all-star line-up of Faith Evans, Missy Elliott, Jamie Foxx, Jaheim, and Nate Dogg.
One thing that's certain about RIBCO is that metal doesn't play there. Well, that sentence is about to become obsolete, as the resurrection of the "Homegrown" local-music showcase at RIBCO features a new edge. The event's goal is to give an opportunity to bands that normally wouldn't be able to play the RIBCO stage.
Like a refreshing summer rain in the Clinch Mountains of Virginia, a new tribute CD to a national legacy has swept me deep in piney-woods bliss. From the electrifying intonation of Elvis Presley's voice and Johnny Cash's bass profundo, to the taste of butter, salt, and pepper over yellow corn grits, some things just blast straight down one's chain of American DNA, regardless of where you call home.
Superjoint Ritual could just be the strangest metal band in the world. For one thing, it's the now-full-time project of Pantera frontman Philip Anselmo, the "chosen one" of what seemed like a dozen side projects he participated in over the past few years.
• With an overflowing crush of CD releases in the next two months, new artists and new albums will have to fight for the back-to-school dollar against a host of exciting, expanded CD re- issues. Honored as the best rock album of the 1980s by the editors of Rolling Stone, The Clash's London Calling from 1979 was a life-changing experience for many, in a magical time when these godfathers of punk walked away from the mangled production of 1978's Give 'Em Enough Rope and said: Why not a double album then, and a triple-album set next (in 1980)? Due next month on Epic's Legacy label, the bonus material is to die for, with demos from the era recently discovered by guitarist Mick Jones, rare photos, and new writings reflecting on this 25th-anniversary edition.

The Carmody boys didn't plan to get into the bar business when they bought the building at 1815 Second Avenue in Rock Island. The family - patriarch John and his sons Dan and Jerry - wanted to renovate the building and lease it out, but when two tenants fell through, they opened the Rock Island Brewing Company in 1979.

Forming the band The Metrolites was just "something to do," said the band's leader, Scott Morschhauser. Oh, how things change in less than two years. The story of the Quad Cities best (if only) surf spy noir spaghetti-western lounge band is one of steadily increasing expectations and aspirations.
• Like Leonard Cohen channeling the ghost of Jacob Marley, this Tuesday's release of Bubblegum by the whiskey-throated Mark Lanegan is an early contender for my top 10 of the year. Mesmerizing as the voice of Seattle's Screaming Trees, and as the sorcerer of a handful of haunted solo albums in the 1990s, Lanegan's lonesome pine comes from one who's walked the walk of addiction, with each breath like a sandy step along an endless beach toward redemption, Judgment Day, or whatever comes next.