The recommended shows for this week all fall towards at the week’s end.
On Thursday, the Ruby Friedman Orchestra checks into the Hotel Café. I actually haven’t had the RFO experience yet but they have created quite the buzz in local circles with Ruby touted as quite the singer and frontperson. Come early to see Corb Lund who opens the night at 7. I saw him open a while back for Chuck Mead and the Canadian alt. country star delivered a sparkling set of modern honky tonk music. His latest, Losin’ Lately Gambler came out earlier this fall on New West Records
On Friday night, the “King of Rock & Soul, “ Solomon Burke presides at Club Nokia. Now approaching 70, Burke is not the live performer or singer that he once was, Burke is more than just a living legend – which would be reason enough to see him. During the last decade, his career has experienced an artistic renaissance as he put out a string of acclaimed albums, produced by the likes of Joe Henry and Buddy Miller, that found him putting his indelible vocal stamp on a wide range of material (from Bruce Springsteen to Dolly Parton) - and he’ll hopefully have his throne out on the Nokia stage too.
The weekend McCabe’s hosts a doubleheader of terrific double bills. Friday night the 20th the guitar shop/club welcomes a pair of feisty female singer/songwriters, Erin McKeown. McKeown’s beguiling new album, Hundreds of Lions, finds her expanding her musical territory. While her last effort, Sing You Sinner, found her mining the 20s and 30s, this one explores various pop music style of the 50s and 60s, all conveyed through McKeown’s always expressive vocals. Jill Sobule is best known for the 1995 hit “I Kissed The Girl” – she was there first Katy Perry! However over the years, she has continued putting out sweet and bittersweet music that skirt the lines around folk and pop. She raised funds for her current disc, the Golden State-themed California Years, through appealing to her loyal fans and that earned her press too (although the album is quite worthy of attention too)
On Sunday night the 22nd, it’s a night for those who like their bluegrass with a twist as Crooked Still and King Wilkie take the stage there. Based in the Northeast, Crooked Still comes to L.A. for the first time with this gig but the band has been creating engaging acoustic music for the past several years. Their most recent studio outing, Still Crooked, mixes originals and covers to create a beautiful take on Americana music. King Wilkie started off as a mostly traditionally minded bluegrass group but they have expanded their sound to move into modern musical styles. While keeping some strains of old school bluegrass, they also weave in some laidback country-rock elements, which make them something of a front-porch Jayhawks.