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The Linda, Thursday

What do you get when you mix blue grass, Finnish and Norwegian tradition, and the wife of Norse god Odin? You get Frigg—no, not the dirty word. Frigg is the chief of the goddesses and Odin’s missus. Though the instrumentation reads like any old square-dancin’ troupe (guitar, dobro, double bass, fiddles galore), Frigg injects Kaustinen (Finland) and Nord-Trondelag (Norway) culture into their energetic live shows. Throw in a dash of Celtic and Americana, and you get a band “full of fresh ideas and taking the next leap forward for Finnish fiddle music.” Frigg will cap a two-night stay at the Linda (following their Wednesday appearance on “Dancing on the Air”) tonight (Thursday). Bring your dancing shoes. (Oct. 9, 8 PM, $23, 339 Central Ave., Albany, 465-5233 ext. 4)


EMPAC, Friday

Pshew! EMPAC has been open one weekend and we’re already feeling spoiled. These guys do not mess around. They may have pulled out the stops for a free Cecil Taylor show on Sunday, but the free free-jazz just keeps flowing this weekend with “rising stars” Fieldwork. Seriously, two out of three of the group’s members have recently received the above designation by the Downbeat magazine international critic’s poll. The fact that pianist Vijay Iyer is being heralded as Taylor’s torch-bearer is no accident. See, EMPAC is officially an academic institution, so don’t feel guilty about all this indulgence: It’s educational. You should call ahead on this one, by the way—reservations were pretty tight as of press time. (Oct. 10, 9 and 10:30 PM, free, 110 8th St., Troy, 276-4135)

The Black Crowes, Howlin Rain

Palace Theatre, Saturday

Arena-blues-rock scene-setters the Black Crowes bring their Southern-rock sound back to the Capital Region this week, touring on the strength of their first album in seven years, Warpaint. Their powerful, churning sound comes straight from of the amplifiers of ’70s rock gods, with the passion and wailing guitar solos reminiscent of bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd, Creedence Clearwater Revival and the Band. Often called “revivalists,” the Atlanta natives have the swagger, the style, and laid-back, whiskey-swigging credibility to not only inherit the sound, but to make it something all their own. Opening are San Francisco’s Howlin’ Rain. Blending straight-up rock & roll with psychedelic jam-band sensibility and vocals reminiscent of Free/Bad Company howler Paul Rodgers, they fit in much better on this ticket than nearly any other band could. Jerry would be proud. (Oct. 11, 8 PM, $42, 19 Clinton Ave, Albany, 465-3334)

Musée Mécanique

Valentine’s, Saturday

If you’re a fan of subtle, elegant, yet fully modern folk-pop, you’ll enjoy Hold This Ghost, the fine debut from Oregon’s Musée Mécanique. The disc was produced by Tucker Martine, the man behind the board for recent projects from the Decemberists, Laura Veirs, and Sufjan Stevens. The music hews largely toward the sound of the latter, though less quirky and with a darker edge; at times, you’ll also notice shades of late Portlander Elliott Smith, which is a mighty fine thing indeed. Musée Mécanique will bring the beauty to the Valentine’s stage this weekend with help from Albany’s own arbiters of modern folk-pop—and the only other band in recent memory to record a singing saw—Sgt. Dunbar and the Hobo Banned. (Oct. 11, 9 PM, $5, 17 New Scotland Ave., Albany, 432-6572)

Cormac McCarthy

Caffe Lena, Wednesday

Would you believe there are two Cormac McCarthys? For real, there are! There’s the Cormac McCarthy from Rhode Island, the one who writes all the graphically violent books—the guy whose No Country for Old Men was turned into an Oscar-winning picture last year, and who is regarded as one of the great 20th-century American novelists. And then there’s the Cormac McCarthy from Maine, the one who sings folk songs, the one who has a hyphen in his Web address. The latter will appear at Caffe Lena this Wednesday. Seth Rogovoy, writing for the Boston Phoenix, said of McCarthy, “The next time he comes within 100 miles, you must go hear him.” We’re pretty sure Lena’s is safely within that radius. (Oct. 15, 7 PM, $12, 47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs, 583-0022)

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