In the locker room after Indians games, first baseman Ben Broussard and outfielder Coco Crisp spit rhymes. Crisp freestyles the lyrics; Broussard backs him with some human beatboxing, which he learned from fourth-grade classmates back home in Texas. "I busted into the guys' circle, and they laughed at me at first," recalls Broussard. "But they were like, 'Hey, man, that's pretty good.' It's just a weird talent I have."
A self-taught guitarist, Broussard also shows off his beatboxing skills on his debut album, Ben Broussard: 12 on the Road, which he'll premiere at an acoustic concert at the House of Blues on Friday. The CD gathers a dozen pop and rock originals that Broussard wrote while on the road with the Tribe last season. The songs deal with growing old and breaking up. And one of his favorites is about a childhood buddy who spends all his time getting high. "My lyrics are pretty much meat-and-potato type," he says.
But Broussard's not ready to retire his glove for a guitar pick just yet. "Music's something I'd love to do," he says. "But baseball's my bread and butter." Broussard straps on a guitar around 10:30 or so (after the Tribe takes on the Baltimore Orioles) at the House of Blues' Cambridge Room, 308 Euclid Avenue. Admission is free. Call 216-523-2583 for more information. -- Cris Glaser
Guitarist links his future to the past.
Chris Cain's latest album is called Hall of Shame. "I've been in it," laughs the former hard-partying blues guitarist, who once proclaimed, "Drink till you bleed." The now-focused Cain grew up listening to R&B greats like Ray Charles, B.B. King, and Albert King. "I like the feelings and the dynamics of their different tones and forms," he says. Hall of Shame, a tribute of sorts to his heroes, balances a mix of gritty roadhouse blues and slick juke-joint jazz. "It's a record of blues and grooves that I never got around to putting on any of my other records," he says. And nearly 20 years after his debut album snagged a load of W.C. Handy Blues Awards nominations, Cain says he still finds inspiration in his instrument. "I'm more excited now than when I first started," he says. "It took me 20 years to get here. I took it for granted. I appreciate it now." Cain plays Wilbert's (812 Huron Road) at 9:30 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $10; call 216-902-4663. -- Michael Gallucci
The Simpsons' sixth season lands on DVD.
It's only fitting that one of the greatest TV shows of all time, The Simpsons, should generate one of the greatest DVD box-set series of all time. The latest, The Simpsons: The Complete Sixth Season, just hit shelves, and like the five preceding volumes, it's loaded with enough bonus materials (deleted scenes, commercials) and special features (storyboards, audio commentary on every single episode) to make even the most trivia-spewing Comic Book Guy drool. Of course, it's the 25 shows from the stellar 1994-'95 season -- which includes classics like "Grandpa vs. Sexual Inadequacy," "Bart's Comet," and part one of the "Who Shot Mr. Burns?" cliffhanger -- that fuel this four-disc set. Cowabunga!-- Michael Gallucci
Saturday's Hotter Than July Caribbean Festival Buffet is loaded with enough spicy food to get you all hot and bothered, gastronomically speaking. Grilled jerk chicken, curried lamb and apricot, and fried red snapper with tomato sauce head the menu. It all goes down from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Mustard Seed Market & Café, 3885 West Market Street in Akron. Admission is $26.99, $11.99 for kids; call 330-666-7333. -- Michael Gallucci