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Steep Canyon Rangers

Caffe Lena, Thursday

You’d think it might be hard to make your mark in the field of bluegrass (music) these days, but the Steep Canyon Rangers have made it look pretty easy. They were picked as Emerging Artist of the Year in 2006 by the International Bluegrass Music Association, pretty much the authority on all things picked and grinned. The title track from their latest Rebel Records release, One Dime at a Time, topped the Bluegrass Unlimited National Bluegrass Survey. And in October, they made their debut at the Grand Ole Opry. So far, it’s all been up, up, up for the Rangers; see a band at the top of their game—and the world—when they play Caffe Lena this evening. (Feb. 12, 7 PM, $18, 47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs, 583-0022)

Jane Monheit

The Egg, Saturday

Grammy-nominated jazz-pop song-stress Jane Monheit will provide a fitting Valentine’s Day performance for those craving more than just another stale rendition of L-O-V-E. Over the past eight years Monheit has established herself as a singer of standards with a hint of sex appeal and Brazilian jazz. Her recently released The Lovers, the Dreamers and Me includes versions of more modern fare like Fiona Apple’s “Slow Like Honey” and Corinne Bailey Rae’s “Like a Star.” What stands out most about Monheit, though, aren’t her song choices, but emotionally driven performances that draw out new meaning to old favorites, the clarity and strength of her voice adding depth to the sweetness of the songs she performs. Think chocolate-covered cherries, not conversation hearts. (Feb. 14, 8 PM, $28, Empire State Plaza Concourse, Albany, 473-1845)

Kori Withers

Mass MoCA, Saturday

“Does it run in the family?” That is undoubtedly the question on most music fans’ minds when they first encounter the name Kori Withers. It’s certainly a valid concern, for Kori’s dad, Bill, was the man behind such effortlessly soulful and timeless tunes as “Ain’t No Sunshine” and “Lean on Me.” You can all relax: Kori is, much like her old man, a deeply talented singer, songwriter, and performer, though her piano- and guitar-accompanied folk-soul might also recall one of the elder Withers’ peers, Roberta Flack. This is all to say that if you’re into something smooth, sweet, and substantial, Saturday’s show should not disappoint. (Feb. 14, 8 PM, $18, $10 students, 1040 Mass MoCA Way, North Adams, Mass., 413-662-2111)

The Valentine’s Spectacular

Proctors Theatre, Sunday

Before the days of Facebook super poke, speed dating, and standing outside a girl’s house with boombox raised high a la John Cusack, courting a crush involved flowers, chocolate, and sweet four-part harmonies. Call us old-fashioned, but nothing says “wanna neck?” like a couple bars of “Earth Angel.” For all those romantics who feel the same, you can cruise dad’s Chevrolet over to Proctors to catch Little Anthony and the Imperials, Lou Christie, the Teenagers, the Shangri-Las, and the Bronx Wanderers—that is, before heading up to Make-Out Point. All that doo-wop should get your honey nice and ready for you to give her your pin. (Feb. 15, 2 PM, 432 State St., Schenectady, $34.75-$49.75, 346-6204)


Owl

Owl

Savannah’s, Wednesday

The Capital Region has produced its fair share of renowned musicians, but only one (as far as we know) auditioned for Metallica. Bassist Chris Wyse, longtime bassist for hard-rock stalwart the Cult, has been a major player on the national scene for some time, but he hadn’t fronted his own project until now. Owl reunites Wyse with his high-school classmate/bandmate, Dan Dinsmore, whom area music fans will recognize as the drummer for the Clay People. The band, rounded out by guitarist Jason Achilles, released their debut record last week; it’s an intoxicating blend of Alice in Chains-style goth-edged heaviness and prog-rock virtuosity, topped by Wyse’s surprisingly palatable vocals. The band make their area debut with a free show Wednesday night. (Feb. 18, 8 PM, free, 1 S. Pearl St., Albany, 426-9647)


Also Noted

Young and Divine

The Linda has two history-themed shows this week: Tonight (Thursday), the Gospel Train will present “Lincoln and Liberty”; in celebration of our 16th President’s 200th birthday, the duo will present a family-friendly evening of historical music and commentary—in costume, no less (8 PM, $10, 465-5233 ext. 4). . . . Tomorrow (Friday), Johnny Rabb, Jim Haggerty, Pete Vambaco, and John and Graham Tichy will look back 50 years to Feb. 3, 1959—the Day the Music Died—in a celebration of the music of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper (8 PM, $20, 465-5233 ext. 4). . . . Friday at 51 3rd Street in Troy, catch the lo-fi noise grooves of Miami Ice Machine, the debut of Hudson band Cave Weddings, and a duo set from Scientific Maps (9:30 PM, $5, 271-1798). . . . Sing for your supper Friday at Revolution Hall at the Capital District Karaoke Stars Competition, a benefit for the Literacy Volunteers of Rensselaer County; there’ll be a judged competition for prizes, as well as an open round for those of you with less-than- American Idol ambitions (5:30 PM, $5, $13 to participate, 274-0553). . . . Really free: Saturday at the Sanctuary for Independent Media, free-jazz percussionist William Hooker will improvise a soundtrack to Oscar Micheaux’s 1920 silent film The Symbol of the Unconquered (8 PM, $10, 272-2390). . . . Wisconsin’s Lucas Cates Band play Jillian’s Saturday night, in support of their new album, All The Pieces (11 PM, $5, 432-1997). . . . Who spreads the spirit of love and affection better than Ed Hamell? Lots of people, but Hamell on Trial will still play Red Square on Saturday (8 PM, $12, 465-0444). . . .Bluesman Guy Davis plays a free concert at Berkshire Community College this Tuesday afternoon (12:15 PM, free, 413-499-4660). . . . Wednesday, heavy-touring local act Young and Divine play a homecoming show at Valentine’s with guests Last Minute Letter (6 PM, $12, 432-6572).


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