*Local pianist/singer/songwriter Matt Munhall will celebrate the release of his fourth album, 700 Miles, with a Friday, Nov. 22, gig in the Lincoln Theatre.
A host of top-notch central Ohio musicians will join Munhall for the gig, some of whom played on the record, which was recorded in Nashville -- a first for Munhall.
"I had some pretty good feelings about the songs, and through that time some of my perspective and goals changed," he told The Beat. "I decided it was time to reach a little higher."
Guitarist extraordinaire Charlie Sexton is one of the featured players on 700 Miles, which was produced by well-known producer Brad Jones. Munhall funded the recording via a Kickstarter campaign.
"I've been fortunate to make a living playing music for 10 years," Munhall said. "I'm grateful, but four nights a week in bars gets old. I hope that by the time my son is in kindergarten, I'll be down to two nights a week. I can't do the 'aw, shucks' routine any more."
That said, "If I had to be in bars for the rest of my life, so be it. That's the gift I was given."
In the meantime, Munhall will play his smart and layered tunes, delivered by his warm and engaging voice, on stage at the Lincoln.
"I'm really excited," he said.
*Congratulations to Bobbi Tussey, winner of Groove U's "1 Take Wonder" contest for high school students.
Groove U's portable recording studio traveled the state last summer, recording young performing songwriters in "one take." Finalists performed live at Groove U earlier this month.
Tatie McKinney and John Tucker tied for second place.
Videos for all contestants can be seen on Groove U's YouTube page.
*In other "contest" news, the Columbus Blues Alliance's 17th annual Blues for Tots Charity Concert and Auction, set for Nov. 24 at Roadhouse 66 Bar & Grill in Worthington, will feature the winners of this year's CBA Blues Challenge.
The event raises funds for the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program. Admission is $10 or $5 with a new, unwrapped toy. Visit columbusblues.com for details.
*Next week's The Beat will feature our annual Holiday Show Preview, so here's a quick-hit, advance-notice Fab Five for the week of Nov. 28-Dec. 5:
* Sensitive and smooth guitar man John Mayer plays Nationwide Arena Tuesday, Dec. 3. Phillip Phillips and his beating heart opens. Tickets are $69.50/$49.50. Visit nationwidearena.com.
* Dig newgrass masters The Infamous Stringdusters, with Paper Bird, at the Newport Music Hall Wednesday, Dec. 4. Tickets are $18.50/$22. Visit promowestlive.com.
* Another entry in the throwback, jazz/R&B band-with-a-woman-singer category, Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas play The Basement Wednesday, Dec. 4. Tickets are $10/$12. Visit promowestlive.com.
* Literate and moving Cincinnati-area husband-and-wife duo Over the Rhine plays the Lincoln Theatre Thursday, Dec. 5. Matt the Electrician opens. Tickets are $28.50. Visit capa.com.
* Alt-metal outfit Gemini Syndrome hits town Thursday, Dec. 5, at east side haunt Xclusive. Tickets are $10. Visit ticketmaster.com.