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G. Love and Special Sauce

Revolution Hall, Thursday

Well, take a look at that: G. Love and Special Sauce are still around! Not that we should be surprised—so are Puddle of Mudd. But we digress. . . . After busting onto the alternative-music scene in 1994 with his lazy, hazy, blues-rap tunes (remember, this was ’94; the market was wide-open), Love, born Garrett Dutton III, and his boys found favor with the jam scene. The band toured extensively through the 1990s and into the new millennium, making pals with one Jack Johnson along the way (they recorded the then-unknown Johnson’s “Rodeo Clowns” in 1999); Johnson returned the favor by signing the band to his Brushfire label. And, of course, they’re still touring; they’ll play Troy tonight (Thursday) with guests the Wood Brothers. (Jan. 24, 8 PM, $20, 425 River St., Troy, 274-0553)

Billy Childs Jazz-Chamber Ensemble

Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Friday

Pianist-arranger-composer Billy Childs has built himself a pretty nice resume, including two 2005 Grammy wins (for Best Arrangement Accompanying a Vocalist, and for Best Instrumental Composition) and a few more nominations in 2006. If the Grammy wins don’t serve as a tip-off to what kind of jazz Childs and his group bring to the table, try this: Childs released four solo discs for the Windham Hill label; he’s also arranged and orchestrated records for Dianne Reeves and Chris Botti. So don’t look for any envelopes to be pushed when the ensemble (featuring drummer Antonio Sanchez) play the Troy Music Hall this week, but do expect every note to go down smoothly. (Jan. 25, 8 PM, $24-27, 30 2nd St., Troy, 273-0038)

Chris Smither

WAMC Performing Arts Studio, Friday

Four decades. That’s 40 years. 480 months. 14,610 days. More than 350,000 hours. A long freaking time. We present these figures in the knowledge that Chris Smither has been performing for roughly that length of time, and yet he’s barely a blip on the music radar. Unfortunate, as Smither has been a consistently engaging recording artist and live performer the entire time (minus an 11-or-12-year break, during which he was “basically drunk”). Still, he’s considered a monster within the folk scene, and his excellent guitar playing has only gotten more excellent with time. See for yourself tomorrow (Friday) when Chris Smither plays the Linda. (Jan. 25, 8 PM, $25, 339 Central Ave., Albany, 465-5233 ext. 4)

Hellyeah, Machine Head, Nonpoint

Northern Lights, Friday

The bar for the term “super-group” has dropped pretty low; pretty much any bunch of B-rate metal dudes can get together these days and be deemed “super” on their relative merits. Case in point: Hellyeah, tagged as such in press materials despite their actual makeup (one member of Mudvayne, one from Nothingface, two from Damageplan). We’ll give them Vinnie Paul, the former Pantera (and Damageplan) drummer, and Chad Gray, the Mudvayne vocalist, because people seem to like that band, but the other guys? Coattails, brah. Anyway, the stuff we’ve heard from this band is actually kinda alright, so we’ll shut up now. Sharing the bill on what has been dubbed the More Balls, More Volume tour are Cali-based hard-rockers Machine Head, who just received their first Grammy nomination (!), and Florida-based Nonpoint, who celebrate their 10th anniversary this year (!!). Bury Your Dead will open. (Jan. 25, 7 PM, $23, 1208 Route 146, Clifton Park, 371-0012)

Bill Charlap and Sandy Stewart

The Egg, Sunday

The Egg’s month-long celebration of all things Gershwin, the Living Legacy concert series, wraps up with this show on Sunday evening. Pianist Bill Charlap, whose album George Gershwin: The American Soul won raves for its insight and sensitivity, will start things out with a solo performance; then he’ll be joined by his mom, singer Sandy Stewart, who will “croon” in what The New York Times recently (Jan. 17) described as a “quiet womanly alto with scuffed velvet edges.” Critic Stephen Holden was writing about the duo’s current run at the Algonquin Hotel in New York City, an engagement that ends the day before the Egg gig. Holden is a notoriously picky cabaret critic (what he wrote about Anita O’Day on her last go-round at the Rainbow Room was, to put it mildly, cruel), so his praise for their fifth annual stand in the Oak Room is worth considering: “Each year their collaboration deepens intensity and insight. . . . Their communication is so finely tuned, you hold your breath and hang on every note and vocal inflection.” Sounds promising, yes? (Jan. 27, 7 PM, $24, Empire State Plaza, Albany, 473-1845)


Ani DiFranco

Ani DiFranco

Palace Theatre, Tuesday

The Righteous Babe from Buffalo herself returns with the kind of intimate, expressive, muscular singing and playing her devoted audience has come to expect—nay, rely on. Or, as the folks at the Palace suggested, “With DiFranco, what you see and hear is what you get.” She recently released a double-disc retrospective of the best of her influential oeuvre, in case anyone needs to catch up. Also on the bill is Anaïs Mitchell, who is touring in support of her album, The Brightness. Mitchell is also the author of a “folk opera,” Hadestown (based on that there Greek mythology), so ponder that. (Jan. 29, 8 PM, $37, 19 Clinton Ave., Albany, 465-3334)

 


Also Noted

Local-music Web site Crumbs.net celebrates the first Crumbs Night Out at the WAMC Performing Arts Studio tonight (Thursday); Phoebe Henry, Sean Rowe, and Rich Ortiz are scheduled to perform (7 PM, $10, 465-5233 ext. 4). . . . It’s a birthday party for Heather of Zahnarzt and Amazing Plaid, and a benefit for CDFI, at Valentine’s tomorrow (Friday); the Luxury Flats, Complicated Shirt and Suzy Wong and the Honkeys are among those on the bill (8 PM, $5, 432-6572). . . . Upstairs at Valentine’s on Friday, it’s another Buckley Family Benefit (see last week’s Rough Mix for more about this); Small Axe, Pirate School and Maggie Mayday will perform (8 PM, $10, 432-6572). . . . Catch a little of everything—everything folk, that is—at the Old Songs Sampler Concert this Saturday; Ramblin Jug Stompers, Kate McDonnell and the Hilltop Ramblers are among the acts scheduled to drop in on the Old Songs in Voorheesville (8 PM, $17, $5 children, 765-2815). . . . Area jazzer Mark Baptiste releases his debut CD, In These Hills, with a performance at Yours nightclub in Schenectady this Saturday (8 PM, $5, 370-9865). . . . The Blind Boys of Alabama, on tour in support of their new Down In New Orleans album, play Bearsville Theatre in Woodstock on Saturday (8 PM, $33-48, 845-679-7303). . . . Northern Lights hosts a benefit for Christian Cail, a toddler who was badly burned last fall, on Sunday; the Cringe and Blackcat Elliot are among the scheduled performers (5 PM, $10, 371-0012).


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