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Leo Kottke

Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Thursday

If you visit Leo Kottke’s Web site, you’ll find a number of essays penned by the man himself. The loosely poetic writings vary in theme, lighting on the nature of sadness, the alternating aspects of gravitas and bullshit in the American executive office and the death of Kottke’s friend and mentor, guitarist John Fahey. It’s a range of emotion and tone that is mirrored in Kottke’s music, which combines the earthy, organic approach of the Delta blues with sophisticated elements of Western classical, and thoughtful introspection with a kind of laid-back wry humor. Of course, reading his essays is kind of the long way around getting to know why he’s been an icon of American guitar for more than three decades. This is the shorter way: (Feb.17, 8 PM, 7 State St., Troy, $27, $24, 273-0038)

Broadway: The Big Band Years

Proctor’s Theatre, Saturday

Oh, those kids with that awful thumping music, and their lewd gyrating dances. Why can’t they play something nice for a change? You’ve got it: On Saturday, Proctor’s Theatre hosts an evening of Broadway showstoppers taken from the musicals of the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s. Keith Levenson will conduct the Curtain Up Orchestra in a melodious romp through full-band tunes such as “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” “Singin’ in the Rain,” “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend,” “Some Enchanted Evening,” and “I Get a Kick Out of You.” No punks, no punk rock. No gangstas, no gangsta rap. Ah, finally. (Feb. 19, 8 PM, 432 State St., Schenectady, $19.50-$29.50, 476-1000)

Buddy Miller, Ollabelle

The Egg, Saturday

It will be gospel time Saturday night at the Egg, with Buddy Miller and Ollabelle. Miller is a country mainstay; his songs have been covered by the likes of Lee Ann Womack and the Dixie Chicks, and he has served as Emmylou Harris’ musical director for almost a decade. His latest disc, Universal United House of Prayer, finds Miller musing on the state of the world and its effect on the human soul. Ollabelle, who are characterized by their label, Sony, as an “egalitarian sextet,” have made quite a splash over the last year or so. The vocal group, steeped in the traditional American sounds of country, gospel, blues and bluegrass, have been featured on assorted TV shows and toured to increasing acclaim. Odd—or, maybe, not so odd—that the joyous sound of this New York City-based “choir” was, initially, a reaction to the events of Sept. 11. Out of tragedy, as they say. (Feb. 19, 8 PM, $22, Empire State Plaza, Albany, 473-1845)

 

Colin Meloy of the Decemberists

Iron Horse Music Hall, Sunday

The new Decemberists album Picaresque doesn’t hit stores until next month, so why is lead Decemberist Colin Meloy taking to the streets now? Because besides his troubadourian storytelling and catchy pop melodicism, Meloy has a bit of a maudlin streak he’d like to share with his audience. He recently recorded a limited-edition EP called Colin Meloy Sings Morrissey, a six-song tribute featuring a handful of somewhat obscure Moz tunes, plus the very unobscure “Everyday Is Like Sunday,” stripped down to a 12-string acoustic-guitar and vocals. It’s a gas to hear, but there’s a catch: Meloy didn’t exactly go about fulfilling his “teenage dream” the legal way—the disc isn’t officially licensed—so only 1,000 were made, and all are expected to be sold by the end of the tour, with no more to be pressed. Ever. So if you’re a Decemberists (or Morrissey) completist, you know where to be this Sunday night. (Feb. 20, 10 PM, $15, 10 Center St., Northampton, Mass.,413-584-0610)

Armor for Sleep, Recover

Saratoga Winners, Tuesday

New Jersey-based Armor for Sleep take themselves very seriously, and apparently it’s paying off. Despite declarations like, “[singer Ben] Jorgensen correlates emotional alienation to physical insignificance in the scope of the cosmos, he sees the world of dreams as a world of escape but also of trepidation and he uses the bitter cold of winter to parallel the bitter cold of the human condition,” Armor for Sleep have found their niche in the pop-punk-emo-core-dream-rock-etc. scene. Their latest album, What to Do When You Are Dead, has received good reviews and equally good exposure. Coheadliner Recover started as a Green Day cover band in Austin—but don’t worry, they’ve grown since then. While a major-label jump temporarily hurt their credibility (doesn’t it always?), Recover continue to enjoy success as one of the strongest and most underrated sing/scream acts out there. Known for their powerful live shows, these four Texans have made fans out of previous tourmates Bad Religion, Taking Back Sunday, GlassJaw, Jimmy Eat World, and Thursday. (Feb. 22, 7 PM, $10, 1375 New Loudon Road, Latham, 783-1010)


Also Noted
los amigos invisibles

Tonight’s (Thursday) show at Valentine’s originally was supposed to feature the French-Canadian sextet Les Breastfeeders; alas, they canceled. Unfortunate, as this might have been your only chance to catch two breast-themed bands in one night. Anyway, Brent Gorton and the Tender Breasts will go on as scheduled, along with Complicated Shirt and Jamboyz filling out the bill (9 PM, $5, 432-6572). . . . Two of the area’s biggest names in pop—the Wait and the Sixfifteens—will do King’s Tavern tomorrow (Friday, 10 PM, $5, 581-7090). . . . A bit earlier Friday evening, one of the nation’s biggest names in pop—Gavin DeGraw—will play Union College; call ahead, as this one may sell out (9 PM, $15, 388-6118). . . . Chromepeeler Records head honcho Jason Ziemniak has put together a Saturday-long mélange he’s calling “20,000 Dirtbags Can’t Be Wrong”; the fun starts at the River Street Beat Shop with a free show featuring Mike Trash of the Erotics, Johnny Northrup of Thee Electric Bastards, and People on Top of the Statue of Liberty and They’re Threatening to Jump (2 PM, free, 272-0433) and continues later at Artie’s River Street Stage with the Lawn Sausages, Brevator, Thee Electric Bastards, and Lincoln Money Shot (8:30 PM, $5, 687-0064). . . . Singer-songwriter John Gorka will kick out the jams motherfolker at the Berkshire Museum on Saturday (8 PM, $15-21, 413-443-7171). . . . Tom Rush will do the same at the WAMC Performing Arts Studio on Saturday (8 PM, $22, 465-5233). . . . Also on Saturday, hard-rockers Shinedown will head up a bill featuring Theory of a Deadman and No Address at Northern Lights (7:30 PM, $15, 371-0012). . . . Finally, Luaka Bop recording artists Los Amigos Invisibles will heat up the Iron Horse on Wednesday (8:30 PM, $15, 413-584-0610).


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