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Chick Corea and Béla Fleck

proctor’s theatre, Thursday

Forget that creepy jingle from “Deliverance”—Béla Fleck is the modern sound of banjo. And Fleck has now teamed up with world-renowned jazz pianist Chick Corea to celebrate The Enchantment, their first collaborative album, with a national tour. Fleck contributed six new compositions to the collaboration; Corea, four. Another highlight: a new take on the standard “Brazil.” Combinations this original come along as often as a mix tape of Boyz II Men and Nirvana (hey, it was a phase), and we’re thinking this will be an even bigger hit with the public, at least talent-wise. Fleck and Corea, whose combined musical efforts have produced a total of 20 Grammy award wins, will unleash their “front porch-meets-Symphony Hall” sound at Proctor’s Theatre tonight. (June 14, 8 PM, $19.75-$49.75, 432 State St., Schenectady, 346-6204)

The Ruling Party

Skyline, Friday

Here are a few reasons why the Ruling Party are a pop quintet worth your attention: Singer Jen Sencion has a strong, radio-friendly voice that sounds more than a bit like Kelly Clarkson’s (in case we haven’t already made it crystal clear, we love us some Kelly), and unlike way too many band-fronting females, she doesn’t play acoustic guitar. The songs from the Ruling Party’s 2006 debut EP are expertly detailed pop confections, from the ’80s teen-flick-soundtracky “Young” to the moody piano ballad “Read Your Mind.” And the band is a bunch of seasoned pros, including Australian-born bassist Steve Mostyn (who also holds down the bottom end for one Miss Alicia Keys) and Churchills guitarist Ron Haney. So, pop out with the Ruling Party this Friday at the Skyline; area pop-rockers the Crayons open. (June 15, 8 PM, $5, 4-6 Sheridan Ave., Albany, 472-8150)

Hick’ry Hawkins

Valentine’s, Friday

Don’t hold it against us, but we’re a bit old-school with our tastes in country-music singers. Their sideburns should be bushy; they should wear giant white cowboy hats because they’re genuinely afraid of the sun, not to hide their bald spot; they should only sing about fucking, fighting, drinking and driving, preferably more than one at a time; and they damn well better hail from south of the Mason-Dixon line. Charlotte, North Carolina’s Hick’ry Hawkins comes up all-aces on our capsule country checklist—for extra credit, he even has a song about his trailer. Hawkins and his honky-tonkin’ band roll into town this week for the ongoing Americana music series at Valentine’s, with Big Frank and the Bargain Bingers opening. (June 15, 9 PM, $5, 17 New Scotland Ave., Albany, 432-6572)

Gustafer Yellowgold

MASS MoCA, Saturday

Songwriter-illustrator Morgan Taylor is really onto something here. A successful sound engineer in his adopted hometown of New York City, Dayton, Ohio native Taylor has toured and performed with adult-oriented acts like the Autumn Defense and Joseph Arthur. But his most notable success to date has been with Gustafer Yellowgold, a multimedia project in which he matches his unapologetically Beatlesque pop songs with illustrations of the titular Yellowgold, a pointy-headed, yellow fellow who relocated to Minnesota—from the sun, for some reason—and counts among his friends such unusual characters as Forrest Applecrumbie (a flightless Pterodatctyl), an Eel named Slim, and a pet Dragon named Asparagus. It’s all very much kid-friendly, strikingly psychedelic, and extremely cool. Taylor will bring his imaginary friends to life at MASS MoCA this Saturday morning. (June 16, 11 AM, $5, 87 Marshall St., North Adams, Mass., 413-662-2111)

Eli Reed

Eli “Paperboy” Reed & the True Loves

Tess’ Lark Tavern, Sunday

Every so often an artist comes along who re-creates the sound of an era to a, well, frightening degree. Eli “Paperboy” Reed and his band, the seven-piece True Loves (who came along in 2005), take listeners back to the halcyon days of Atlantic Records. “The Ahmet-era Atlantic R&B idioms are right on,” sayeth Death Cab for Cutie’s Chris Walla—and he sayeth correctly. The band’s sound is pure Otis Redding/Wilson Pickett/1967-’68-era Aretha. Reed’s singing is a soulful blue-eyed croon on the ballads, and a muscular blue-eyed shout on the harder-edged R&B numbers. Their new single, “The Satisfier,” is a treat; look for it soon on iTunes. Even better, hear it for yourself Sunday night at the Lark. Bryan Thomas opens. (June 17, 8 PM, $3, 453 Madison Ave., Albany, 463-9779)

Fair to Midland

Valentine’s, Monday

With System of a Down on indefinite hiatus, Serj Tankian is free to flit about and sign all kinds of weird-ass bands to his Serjical Strike label, the latest of which is Texas’ Fair to Midland. Granted, on first listen, they don’t sound all that weird-ass: Promoted as some kind of prog-metal revolutionaries, Fair to Midland call to mind nothing more groundbreaking than Incubus or, well, System of a Down on their debut single “Dance of the Manatee.” But give it, and their Fables From a Mayfly disc, a bit more time and you’ll hear the Rush, the (good) Tool, even a little Dream Theater. That is to say, Fair to Midland are a lot more interesting than your average alt-metal-radio icons—despite the awful name. (June 18, 7:30 PM, $5, 17 New Scotland Ave., Albany, 432-6572)

Also Noted

The Guilderland Performing Arts Center, in Guilderland’s Tawasentha Park, kicks off its 2007 live-music season tonight (Thursday) with percussion-driven New York City band Mecca Bodega (7:30 PM, free, 456-3150). . . . Our boss is going to be so pissed that he’s out of town: Tonight (Thursday), Revolution Hall presents the New Wave Rave tour, featuring bands imitating Depeche Mode (Blasphemous Rumours) and the Cure (the Cured, natch)—and it’s an all-ages show to boot (8 PM, $12, 274-0553). . . . It doesn’t get any more original on Friday, when Rev Hall welcomes Sinister Urge, a tribute to Rob Zombie and White Zombie (9 PM, $10, 274-0553). . . . Sounds from all over the world collide this Friday, when HuDost and Inciendo shake the stage at Club Helsinki in Great Barrington, Mass. (9 PM, $15, 413-528-3394). . . . Calamine, the band responsible for the indie-pop-tastic theme song from Adult Swim’s Sealab 2021, is back in action; they’ll play the Elevens in Northampton, Mass., this Saturday night (7 PM, $5, 413-586-9155). . . . Whispery Portland, Ore.-based folk duo Horse Feathers play a free show ($5 donations are encouraged) this Monday at 83 3rd Street in Troy (site of the Great Art Swap events); our area’s own Katie Haverly opens the amplification-free show (8 PM, $5 donation, . . . Also Monday, guitarist David Malachowski, now recovered from a heart ailment that had him hospitalized last December, will sit in with the Ramblin’ Jug Stompers for their monthly appearance at Tess’ Lark Tavern; songwriter Jill Stevenson will also join them (7 PM, free, 463-9779).

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