Hiatt and the Combo
We appreciate a strong work ethic, and that’s one of the many
reasons we love John Hiatt. Over 36 years he’s released 18
studio albums, including this year’s The Open Road.
That’s one hell of a cycle to maintain. To date, his longest
stretch between records was a four-year span, 30 years
ago. Makes us feel like a bunch of slackers, honestly.
His sticktuitiveness has also brought him to the Capital Region
more times than we can count, including a number of free concerts.
The open road leads Hiatt and his band to Albany again this
week, though you’ll have to pay this time around. (March
4, 7:30 PM, $34.50, Empire State Plaza, Albany, 473-1845)
Ellis and Double-Wide
If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that there
ought to be more sousaphones in contemporary music. Thankfully,
jazz saxophonist John Ellis also agrees. For his New Orleans-oriented
solo band, Double-Wide, the longtime Charlie Hunter and John
Patitucci collaborator has hired Matt Perrine to hold down
the low end on that strange and sizable relative of the tuba.
The addition is for more than toots and giggles, though, as
these guys groove something fierce, but they’ve certainly
got a sense of humor about themselves, too. Their new album,
Puppet Mischief, is a playful homage to NOLA greats
like Professor Longhair, featuring plenty of trombone and
harmonica. (March 4, 8 PM, $12, 388 Broadway, Albany, 465-0444)
In which we take the banner of this section very seriously.
Should you take note of the Blasters at Valentine’s on Friday?
Uh . . . yeah. Founded in 1979 by the Alvin brothers,
the Blasters quickly gained a reputation and a die-hard following
in L.A.’s punk-influenced rock scene. The band’s respect for
the variety of American roots music showed in their top-notch
songwriting; and their belief in such forms as communal and
celebratory experiences in the furor of their live shows.
Alongside the likes of X and the Gun Club, the Blasters helped
lay the groundwork for what would later be called alt-country.
(And help kick-start the careers of tourmates Los Lobos and
Dwight Yoakam, specifically.) Tomorrow (Friday), it’s the
near-original lineup (guitarist Keith Wyatt is holding down
guitar duties for Dave Alvin). So, this is a chance to see
one of the few American institutions that fairly deserves
the term “rip-roarin’.” (March 5, 8 PM, $17, 17 New Scotland
Eighth Step, Saturday
If you were Richie Havens, you’d wear the rings too. The original
king of bling still sports rings on each of his fingers, because,
well, why wouldn’t he? Much about Havens remains as you remember
it from his iconic festival- opening performance at Woodstock
some 41 years ago. His beard has grayed, but his voice is
still rich, perfectly recognizable and seemingly untouched
by time; his open-tuned guitar style just as percussive and
unique. Havens’ latest solo release came in 2008 (Nobody
Left to Crown), but he recently collaborated with the
Preservation Hall Jazz Band for a track on their new Preservation
compilation, which hit stores last month. To call Havens an
American treasure wouldn’t be superlative. (March 6, 7:30
PM, $28-$35, GE Theatre at Proctors, 432 State St., Schenectady,
They’ve been a third-wave garage revival act, a rip-snort
bar band, and an Oasis knockoff, and that was just on their
first album. They also became the butt of a million jokes—most
notoriously, a Pitchfork review of their second album was
simply an embedded video of a chimpanzee peeing in its own
mouth. Very funny, but let’s be honest: Why would a multimillion-selling
rock band care about the opinions of a bunch of territory-marking
moustache-groomers? No matter what your opinion on the band’s
music, there’s no escaping “Are You Gonna Be My Girl,” a song
that remains positively ubiquitous seven years after its release.
Last laugh: Jet. (March 6, 7 PM, $16, 1208 Route 146, Clifton
Sollee, Daniel Martin Moore
Kentuckians Ben Sollee and Daniel Martin Moore’s musical biographies
are nearly interchangeable, each garnering a wave of praise
in recent years for surprise debuts of simple folk material,
but what brings them together on Tuesday is a shared concern
for one of their home state’s most destructive practices:
mountaintop removal coal mining. The two teamed up with fellow
Kentuckian Jim James (My Morning Jacket) for Dear Companion,
an album exploring the issue and the Appalachian people it
affects. A portion of the proceeds from the show will help
fund Appalachian Voices, a group committed to ending mountaintop
removal. (March 9, 8 PM, $16, 339 Central Ave., Albany,
Celtic music will be plentiful in the coming weeks,
but you’re probably not going to see another German
Irish band—Cara will play at Old Songs
tomorrow (Friday, 8 PM, $20, 765-2815). . . .
New York progressive jam band U-Melt celebrate
the release of their new album, Perfect World,
at Jillian’s on Friday; Timbre Coup open
(10 PM, $13, 432-1997). . . . Alabama-via-New
York City (via Catskill) roots-rockers George
Kilby Jr. and the Road Dogs play locally twice
this week: at Franklin’s Tower on Friday (9 PM,
431-1920) and the Ale House on Wednesday (9 PM,
free, 272-9740). . . . Brown Bird, the
Charlie Watts Riots, Pony in the Pancake,
and the Landlines play a show presented
by Hello Pretty City at Valentine’s on Saturday;
be sure to catch it, because these only happen
about once every five years (8 PM, $8, 432-6572).
. . . The sounds of modern rock get filtered through
the nimble fingers of Christopher O’Riley
on Sunday at the Egg; O’Riley’s latest release,
Out of My Hands, finds the concert pianist
performing the works of Cobain (Nirvana), Morrissey-Marr
(the Smiths), and Wright-Waters (Pink Floyd),
among others (3 PM, $20-$28, 473-1845). . . .
In Lake George on Sunday, it’s the 19th annual
Bands ’N Beans, a chili-cooking contest and music
festival featuring regional talent like Big
Medicine, Alan Payette Band, and Tequila
Mockingbirds (2 PM, $20, 668-2616). . . .
Ship up to Albany for some Celtic punk-rock on
Tuesday night, courtesy of Chicago’s Tossers;
Outernational and Honeycreeper open
(7 PM, $12, 432-6572).