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Rock Plaza Central

Rock Plaza Central

Valentine’s, Thursday

O, Canada, you have given us so much wonderful music. Bryan Adams. Barenaked Ladies. Nickelback. Need we go on? Sure we do—despite the fact that the biggest acts out of the country to the north happen to make us want to gouge our eyes out, Canada actually does have much to offer. Take, for instance, Toronto’s Rock Plaza Central, whose third release Are We Not Horses (Yep Roc) is a delightful slice of kitchen-sink-and-all indie-pop ripped from the Elephant 6 playbook. We were about to compare them to the Capital Region’s own Sgt. Dunbar and the Hobo Banned, but as it turns out, the two bands share the stage this evening, so you can check our math for yourself. My Friend Peter and Margan and the Red Lions are also on the bill. (July 19, 8 PM, $5, 17 New Scotland Ave., Albany, 432-6572)

Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival

Rothvoss Farm, Thursday-Sunday

The annual Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival celebrates its 31st year this weekend, with a schedule that includes all manner of acoustic, bluegrass and folk acts. This may be the festival’s biggest year yet, with Nickel Creek (on their farewell tour) and Uncle Earl headlining Friday, and a Saturday lineup that includes Marty Stuart and the Fabulous Superlatives, the Waybacks, and the Greencards. Of course there’s plenty more to take in—dozens of musical acts are scheduled over four days, along with a dedicated dance stage and kids’ events. (July 19-22, times and prices vary, Ancramdale, 888-946-8495, grey

Sarah Pedinotti CD-release show

The Parting Glass, Friday

Sarah Pedinotti would like to serve notice that she is not not not just a jazz vocalist. That fact should be reinforced with the release of her new City Bird disc, which will be the subject of Friday’s release show. She claims to be “more of a natural rock musician than a jazz one” and she might be right: The first few tracks from City Bird find the 23-year-old singer spreading her wings (sorry) and expanding her breezy, light-fare sound to include elements of Americana (check the banjo-propelled title track) and ’70s soul-rock. Call in advance if you want to hit up Friday’s show—we hear Pedinotti is quite popular in Saratoga. (July 20, 9 PM, $10, 40-42 Lake Ave., Saratoga Springs, 583-1916)

Erin McKeown

Club Helsinki, Sunday

“What do you do after you’ve made three critically acclaimed albums that explore nearly every genre of popular music? What do you do after you’ve learned how to play all the instruments yourself? If you’re Erin McKeown you make . . . a work so original no one but McKeown could be responsible.” Sure, McKeown’s Web site seems a little self-obsessed, but she has earned her bragging rights twice-over: She has recorded five studio albums, plays an average of 200 shows a year, and has toured with artists such as Ani DiFranco and the Indigo Girls. Her newest release, Sing You Sinners, features McKeown’s unique take on “not-so-standard” American jazz standards. The Boston Globe swoons, “[S]he succeeds brilliantly. As with all truly great guitarists, the wonder is less in her chops than in her choices.” (July 22, 8 PM, $15, 284 Main St., Great Barrington, Mass., 413-528-3394)

Meat Loaf

Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Sunday

We couldn’t think of anything to say about Meat Loaf that hasn’t already been said. But then we noticed that the songs on his latest disc, Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose, were composed by the holy trinity of schlock: Jim Steinman (the man responsible for Loaf’s first two Bat records), Desmond Child (who cowrote “Livin’ La Vida Loca” and “Livin’ on a Prayer”) and queen of the power ballad, Diane Warren. The three writers were responsible for the most predictable treacle of the last three decades; their combined, uh, talents are perfectly suited for the Bat franchise. So go enjoy the show, but remember, y’all—it’s not karaoke night. The Loaf can handle “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” just fine on his own. (July 22, 8 PM, $20-$56.50, Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga Springs, 587-3330)

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, the Kamikaze Hearts

Washington Park, Monday

Bonnie Raitt called them “one of the most soulful new bands around.” The music of Vermont’s Grace Potter and the Nocturnals reverberates the sound of Southern blues and gospel funk rock with a refreshing edge. Their first three albums won a lot of attention thanks to 24-year old singer Potter’s fluid tones, provoking lyrics and unwavering reign on the Hammond B-3 organ. Joining Potter and her soul mates at the latest installment of the free Monday Nights in the Park concert series are Capital Region homeboys the Kamikaze Hearts. Their self-proclaimed “upstate porch rock” supposedly comes from a fusion of musical inspirations, including the Mountain Goats and Black Sabbath, which we here at Metroland believe should make for a pretty wide-ranging fan base. (July 23, 7 PM, free, Washington Park, Albany, 434-3861)

Also Noted

It’s a busy week for music in and around the Capital Region, starting tonight (Thursday) with R&B night at Alive at Five in Albany’s Riverfront Park: Charlie Thomas’ Drifters, Dr. K’s Motown Revue, and Body & Soul featuring Jill Hughes are all scheduled to perform (5 PM, free, 434-2032). . . . Also tonight, catch the debut of Swamp Baby, featuring former members of knotworking (among others), at the Amrose + Sable Gallery in Albany’s Center Square (7:30 PM, free, 607-437-6977). . . . Guiltless Cult and Scientific Maps will break in the “Garage Bands in the Garage” series at the Washington Avenue branch of Albany Public Library tomorrow (Friday, 6 PM, free, 427-4313). . . . The Guthrie Center in Great Barrington, Mass., welcomes acclaimed folk singer Tracy Grammer on Friday (8 PM, $16, 413-528-1955). . . . Also on Friday (and also in Great Barrington), the army that is Spottiswoode and His Enemies will take on Club Helsinki (9 PM, $15, 413-528-3394). . . . The Landis Arboretum in Esperance will host a fundraising concert on Saturday afternoon, with music by FLAME (noon, $10, 875-6935). . . . Power-poppers the Day Jobs return to live action this Saturday at Tess’ Lark Tavern; word on the street is that the reunited Lughead may also make an appearance (10 PM, $5, 463-9779). . . . ’70s hitmaker Roberta Flack performs at the Belleayre Music Festival in Highmount on Saturday (8 PM, $45-$65, 800-942-6904). . . . Tennessee-based alt-country group the Everybodyfields are at the Parting Glass on Saturday; RobinElla opens (8 PM, $10, 583-1916). . . . Finally, on Sunday, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band will bring the Bayou to the Music Haven Stage in Schenectady’s Central Park (7 PM, free, 382-5152).

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