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Toby Keith

Toby Keith

Times Union Center, Thursday

Here’s a special treat for you, Capital Region: You get to be among the first to see outspoken patriot Toby Keith do his thing following Obama’s inauguration. Which is a good thing, we think—the United States needs a little pick-me-up right now, and Keith’s goofball honky-tonk is pretty good medicine. And while he’s been endorsed by right-wing pundit Stephen Colbert for flag-waving songs like “We’ll Kick Your Ass Afghanistan” (or whatever it was called), Keith really falls more on the liberal side of the fence. Really! You think the conservatives would condone serving beer to horses? Of course not. Keith rolls into town—in a big-ass Ford truck, presumably—this evening. (Jan. 22, 7:30 PM, $24.75-$54.75, 51 S. Pearl St., Albany, 800-30-EVENT)



Chris Smither

The Linda, Friday

Chris Smither may well be the archetypal guy-with-a-guitar. Throughout his nearly-40-year career, Smither has dealt in nothing but the singer-songwriter bread and butter: warm, finger-picked guitar, and a bare, earnest voice. Critics love to kick that word “timeless” around when it comes to his songwriting, but the same term can be applied to a Smither show. If you caught him last year at about this time when he came through the Linda, then don’t expect the experience to be much different—some things just don’t need changing. (Jan. 23, 8 PM, $25, 339 Central Ave., Albany, 465-5233)

Johnny Winter

Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Friday

Here’s a question for which there can only be one answer: Who’s the best albino, Gibson Firebird-playing Texas bluesman ever to live? Yessir—Johnny Winter. Dude’s been around long enough that he needs little introduction, and most of you who plan to make it out to the Berkshires for this one have had your calendars marked for months. Winter’s hit the age when everyone marvels at his continuing ability to turn out the hickory-smoked licks, but the thing is that what he does is just going to get better with age. Don’t call it old-fashioned; these days the blues are one of the only things it’s safe to invest in. (Jan. 23, 8 PM, $34-$39, 14 Castle St., Great Barrington, Mass., 413-528-6415)


Roadhouse Grill, Saturday

They coulda been contenders! Jacksonville, Fla., band Blackfoot came up, much to their detriment, in the long shadow of hometown heroes Lynyrd Skynyrd. Which is too bad—they were, as some have called them, the “good Molly Hatchet,” which should have been at least good enough for a close second. But commercial success was not in the cards. While their initial run lasted only until 1984, original frontman (and original Skynyrd drummer!) Rickey Medlocke gave the band another go from 1987 to 1996. Medlocke is now the full-time guitarist for Skynyrd (once and forever, bro!); the current incarnation of Blackfoot features original members Greg T. Walker and Charlie Hargrett. Check out their tasty licks Saturday; local boys Starstruck open the show. (Jan. 24, 10 PM, $30, 27 Fuller Road, Albany, 489-3170)

The Sleeping, Emarosa

Valentine’s, Monday

Lest you think this week’s musical offerings are drawn solely from the classic-rock and country radio waves, there’s this Monday-night show to give you a dose of the here and now (and loud), though these bands have more in common with Blackfoot than you might think—namely, revolving lineups. Kentucky post-hardcore (we think that means “emo”) act Emarosa have cycled through 11 members since 2006; Long Island post-hardcore (OK, now we know it means emo) act the Sleeping are on only their sixth full-timer, but they replaced the last guy with two guys, which means they’ll be a ska band before long. What are we talking about? We don’t know either. But if you want to get your grrrr on, this is your best shot this week. Curse the Mariner, Vessels, and Astronauts share the bill. (Jan. 26, 7 PM, $12, 17 New Scotland Ave., Albany, 432-6572)

Also Noted


Tonight (Thursday), CRUMBS Night Out at the Linda stages a make-up for last month’s white-out; Scientific Maps are the musical guests, while the panel discusses selling music on the Internet—we hear it’s the wave of the future! (8 PM, free, 465-5233 ext. 4). . . . There’s a kind of melancholy that could only come from the Pioneer Valley, and it’s all over the latest Winterpills disc Central Chambers; the band will reprise those songs and others Friday at Club Helsinki in Great Barrington, Mass. (9 PM, $12, 413-528-3394). . . . Old Songs presents a sampler concert with music from Dan Berg gren, Lawson, Addie and Olin, and Hokum Hawaiians, this Saturday; proceeds benefit the 2009 Old Songs Festival (8 PM, $20, 765-2815). . . . The charitable works of the Ancient Order of Hibernians will get a financial kick in the bum this Saturday when Celtic-rock mainstays Black 47 come to the AOH Hall for a benefit concert (8:30 PM, $20, 729-4583). . . . Art rock: One-man Brooklyn band And the Wiremen will make a stop at the Spring Street Gallery in Saratoga Springs Saturday night (8 PM, $5, 583-9227). . . . Wednesday brings the first concert of the year from the Albany Sonic Arts Collective; this time around, the live improv comes courtesy of Trauma, Herons, Sleepy Demons, and Twilight of the Century (8 PM, $5, 426-3501). . . . Also Wednesday, the Keith Pray Group—whoever that might be this time out—are at Justin’s (9 PM, free, 432-1997).

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