First Friday saw the first night for Club Zydeco, a new food and jazz spot in downtown Raleigh across from Yancy’s and next to Big Ed’s. As the name suggests, the music has a New Orleans flair.

As far as rock and folk goes, stay tuned for word about the re-opening of a club in the Martin Street space. Details and acts are being nailed down, but word is that a reopening could happen as early as mid-January.

Merlefest organizers are looking for submissions for the annual Chris Austin Songwriting Contest. The deadline is March 4 and finalists will perform at Merlefest on April 28 with songwriters at the festival judging. The entry fee is $25 a tune. Visit songwritingcontest.htm for details on how to send in your materials. Finalist get a four-day pass to the festival and a crack at a lot of gear and prizes. Past winner include Tift Merritt, Darrell Scott and Gilliam Welch.

PineCone shows
Next month PineCone’s sponsoring a night of mandolin mayhem with master of the mandolin Mike Marshall and Nickel Creek’s Chris Thile at the Progress Energy Center’s A.J. Fletcher Theater on Thursday, Jan. 12. The show starts at 8 p.m.

A few days earlier, PineCone resumes its Music of the Carolinas concert series at the N.C. Museum of History with Cesar Oviedo’s Latin American Combo. The Sunday, Jan. 8 show starts at 3 p.m. in the museum’s Daniels Auditorium.

Sing Along with Jim Rambler
Jim Watson’s Cave Christmas shows are probably one of the most sentimental gatherings of current, novice and retired barflies and musicians in the Triangle. Even if you’re not into the caroling thing, it’s worth a drop-in. This is the show’s 20th anniversary and Watson, who passes out sheet music so you can fa-la-la-low along, plans a second show in Hillsborough. The Cave show is Thursday, Dec. 22 starting around 9 p.m. and the Hillsborough show, at the Lodge Hall on King Street, is the next night starting at 8 p.m.