I’m back in town and getting back into the swing of things. Taking a look at this week’s concerts, here are the ones that pop out at me.
Bill Frisell is simply one of the most stylish, most versatile guitar players around. As an in-demand sideman, he has collaborated with everyone from John Zorn to Elvis Costello. Frisell comes to Largo on April 13, playing with pianist Jason Moran and drummer Kenny Wolleson.
Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs (which is basically her sidekick, multi-instrumentalist Lawyer Dave) light up Spaceland on April 14. While British-born Golightly started up her career in the UK band, Thee Headcoastees, she now lives in rural Georgia, a fitting location for her lively hillbilly noir music.
Lady Antebellum had a breakout year last year, topping country charts and coming up winners at the CMAs and the Grammys with their easy to enjoy country rock sound. Just two years ago they had a sold out showcase at the Mint and now they will be packing them in at the Wiltern on April 15.
April 15 will be a special night at Club Nokia as the Specials come to town for the band’s first American tour in almost 30 years. The Two-Tone pioneers were a popular new wave/ska band on both sides of the Atlantic in the late ‘70s and early 80s with tunes like “A Message to You, Rudy” and “Ghosttown.” This reunited UK outfit features all of the original members except for songwriter/keyboardist Jerry Dammers.
April 15 also finds the legendary Buffy Sainte-Marie playing the Bootleg Theatre. One of the stars of the Sixties folk scene, Sainte-Marie has not only had a successful musical career but also has been a vocal political activist.
The following night is another night for folk music lovers, as the Guthrie Family Rides Again into UCLA’s Royce Hall. This show, which ranks at my “show-of-the-week,” features family patriarch Arlo Guthrie along with his son Abe and daughters Cathy, Annie and Sarah Lee. Sarah Lee and her husband Johnny Irion (who also is part of the “family band”) have put out a number of excellent Americana albums both together and separately, and she also released a fine children’s music CD last year (continuing in her family’s footsteps there too).
On 4/16 you can also find singer-songwriter Mason Reed hosting an evening of music at Santa Monica’s Enterprise Fish Company. Reed has an engaging rough-hewn sound – there’s a Steve Earle growl in his vocals – as he displays on his new EP You Can’t Come Back From Heaven, which follows an Americana route with some rockier sidetrips.
Long-time Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler needs little introduction, but his opening act, Pieta Brown, deserves some attention. The daughter of folk singer Greg Brown, Pieta has fashioned her own sound, drawing upon country, folk, blues and rock, over the past 8 years. Brown, who typically tours with acclaimed guitarist (and now husband) Bo Ramsey, has a new disc One and All out on Red House. They have shows at the Pantages April 16-17.
When Steve Forbert, who plays McCabe’s on April 17, burst onto the New York City music scene during the late ‘70s New Wave era he was heralded as a new “Bob Dylan” – and even scored a hit with “Romeo’s Tune.” He weathered the “Dylan” tag and persevered, turning out a number of Southern-vibe folk music over the years.