CULTURE - BUZZBOX- King off the road: Bluegrass big boys back on home turf

Still hyped up after several dates in New York with living legend Ralph Stanley, local bluegrass wonders King Wilkie herald their return to Charlottesville with a show at the Jefferson Theater; it's a unique venue for the band, whose last show in town was at Starr Hill back in the fall.

"I've never even been in there before," says mandolin player Reid Burgess.

Aside from announcing that they'll be sharing the stage with Jim Waive and the Young Divorcees, the band has been rather tight-lipped about their promise of "special guests."

"We were trying to get a mariachi band, but that's not going to happen," says Burgess. "Guess it will have to be a surprise..."

A mariachi band would be a switch from their recent stage partners. In Cambridge, the band played with the David Bromberg Quartet, Peter Rowan & the Tony Rice Quartet at Harvard's Sanders Theater, and call that the highlight of their recent tour. And that's saying something considering that they graced the stage at Nashville's famous Ryman Auditorium just about two years ago.

Now Burgess predicts that they'll hunker down at home here in Charlottesville and spend the summer recording, in part because their 2005 release was a six-song EP that probably won't buy them a whole lot of time with their fans.

"It's hard to develop new songs when we're entirely on the road," he says. "We've tried to create an environment at home that's wholly conducive to creativity."

King Wilkie and Jim Waive and the Young Divorcees at the Jefferson Theater. $10, 9pm.

King Wilkie