The first week of May features several notable shows.
The wonderful Hold Steady return to town with a show at the El Rey on Wednesday 5/5. Their just released Heaven Is Whenever is their first without longtime keyboardist Franz Nicolay, so it will be interesting to see how that affects the live shows. What does hold steady is Craig Finn’s knack for ramshackle yet epic story-songs and Tad Kubler’s big guitar playing.
Thursday finds Georgia-based troubadour Ken Will Morton in town at Harvelle’s for a BMI showcase. I have always enjoyed Morton’s music – it’s gritty and witty Americana and he shifts between rockier and quieter numbers with ease. Check him out (and his new record True Grit) and see if you find yourself saying “he should be better known.”
The Hold Steady’s one-time tourmates, the Drive-By Truckers roll into the Avalon on Friday to support their big new album, The Big To-Do. DBT have established themselves over the past few years as not just one of the predominant Southern Rock bands around, but as one of the best American Rock bands around, and these road warriors certainly know how to put on a show.
Friday the legendary Peter Gabriel has a show at the Hollywood Bowl; however, I want to talk about his opening act, Ane Brun. This Norwegian songtress captured my attention a couple years back with her alluring album, A Temporary Dive. She crafts quiet but beguiling music that’s chilled but not frozen, and she is one reason that Scandinavia is such a musical hot spot these days. She has her own show at Largo on May 8.
Marcia Ball will be bringing the boogie woogie to the Mint on Saturday the 8th. The acclaimed piano player is an institution in the roots music world for her ability to dish out good-timin’ music spiced with the rollicking sounds of New Orleans, the Gulf Coast and points inbetween.
Saturday night is also went Martin Sexton headlines a shows at the House of Blues. His new disc Sugarcoating came out last month and it is a tasty showcase of his music. His very much American music draws from blues, folk, country, jazz, rock and R&B. While there’s a laidback quality to this music, it also holds an undeniable power (often forged by his smooth singing and nimble guitar picking).
Wrapping up the week on Sunday is Reckless Kelly, whose show is at the Roxy. The Texas-based band’s latest effort Somewhere In Time is something of a tribute album as it spotlights the work of “outlaw country” songwriter Pinto Bennett. However, the music still plays to the band’s strengths: hard-charging country rock.