Along with Freedy Johnston and Mates of State, Chuck Mead may well be known as the one who got away from Lawrence's music scene. Mead's band, the Homestead Grays, brought the roots-rock to Larryville in the late '80s, before he bolted to Nashville and formed BR549. That group was too damn country even for Nashville, but they filled up enough tip jars to become darlings of the old-timey revival that was sweeping the No Depression nation. Now that the 549 crew is on hiatus, Mead is readying a solo debut that he promises will stretch the boundaries of the hillbilly and honky-tonk sounds he's known for. He's likely to connect with a host of old friends and music partners during his New Year's Eve soirée in his old stamping grounds.