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Crooked Still

The Egg, Friday

As much as we tend to think it lazy to use “alternative” to modify a preexisting music genre at this point in time, Crooked Still certainly fit the bill of an “alternative bluegrass” band. The Boston group have all the hallmarks of an old-time string band—fiddle, banjo, upright bass—but they add a cello to the already rich mix. All told, Crooked Still hew closer to the Nickel Creek definition of bluegrass (read: pop) than, say, the Del McCoury Band, but we’ll give them a pass because of singer Aoife O’Donovan, whose voice is one of the loveliest things you’ll hear in so-called traditional music. (Jan. 8, 8 PM, $24, Empire State Plaza, Albany, 473-1845)

The Nightlife CD Release

Valentine’s, Saturday

Ever wonder why Quintessence offers free valet parking? It’s because shows like this tend to bury that block of New Scotland Avenue with enough kids, cars, and trailer-tugging tour vans that no self-respecting dinner party would dare brave the melee without curbside service. Albany hardcore outfit the Nightlife celebrate the release of Silicone Sentries and Digital Dogs on Saturday night, but just to make sure the room’s warm, the floor’s wet and the sidewalk is smoky, they’re bringing a fleet of Warped-worthy bands with them. The Viking, Restless Streets, Rick Whispers, and Of Gods and Destroyers will all help make this one a metal/progressive/rock affair. (Jan. 9, 7 PM, $12, 17 New Scotland Ave., Albany, 432-6572)

Rock for Reading

Red Square, Saturday

No, no. It’s not a contradiction. Just because “rocking” often involves loud rooms, large crowds and altered states, and “reading” involves, well, the opposite, that doesn’t mean one can’t benefit the other (although we’ve yet to see a read-a-thon benefitting a music venue). Rock for Reading is the Junior League of Albany’s benefit for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, a project delivering books to preschool kids. On the bill are rockabilly band the Stynals, the Foy Brothers, and the Bent Rail Blues Band. Comedian Donnell Ellis will take the stage between sets. (Jan. 9, 7:30 PM, $10, 338 Broadway, Albany, 465-0444)

Brown Bird

Brown Bird

Madison Grille, Saturday

New England quintet Brown Bird play folk music. Now, erase that image from your head—the one of children sitting cross-legged and singing “This Land Is Your Land.” Yes, songwriter David Lamb and his cohorts also specialize in things like melody and harmony. But the group titled their latest release The Devil Dancing for good reason: Their music mixes the insistent stomp of American mountain music with the insistent stomp of gypsy music for a sound that just begs to be, well, stomped to. This is traditional music, in that it celebrates the fine human tradition of getting loose. Find out if the floorboards at the Madison Grille are ready for this kind of action on Saturday. (Jan. 9, 8 PM, $5, 331 Madison Ave., Albany, 434-1938)




Project/Object featuring Ike Willis and Ray White

Revolution Hall, Saturday

Even a hardened fan will tell you that the late Frank Zappa’s music is an acquired taste. The guy was a pioneer—he threw stylistic constraints out the window long before he even had peers—but he undercut his musical advances with many a poopy joke. Still, some of his best recordings are borderline alchemical, thanks to the amazing musicians he employed. The ongoing mission of Project/Object is to bring these recordings to the live stage, played by some of those very musicians. The current incarnation, fronted by two Zappa alumni—singer-guitarists Ike Willis and Ray White—will bring everything from “Dancin’ Fool” to “Titties and Beer” to life in Troy this weekend. Timbre Coup open. (Jan. 9, 8 PM, $22, 425 River St., Troy, 274-0553)

Also Noted
Jim Gaudet and the Railroad Boys

Tonight (Thursday) at the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, Mass., it’s a tribute to Tom Petty, and a benefit for the Northampton Red Cross, featuring Ray Mason, Spouse, and just about every other musician in Western Massachusetts; check for the lineup (7 PM, $13, 413-586-8686). . . . It’s an evening of original rock tonight at Jillian’s with the Blisterz, the Ashbury and PNC (7 PM, free, 423-1997). . . . A fine triple bill of local music is at Savannah’s tomorrow (Friday), with the Brian Kaplan Band, Juice Junkees, and Psychobilly (9 PM, $5, 426-9647). . . . Saturday, Jim Gaudet and the Railroad Boys take their act a few stops north on the imaginary commuter line, to the Ale House in Troy (9 PM, $5, 272-9740). . . . It’s about that time again: Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams set up their imaginary big top at the Eighth Step at Proctors on Saturday (7:30 PM, $26, 346-6204). . . . Also Saturday, the ever-multitasking duo Sirsy return to Tess’ Lark Tavern (10 PM, $5, 463-9779). . . . Sunday night marks the return of Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion to Caffe Lena (7 PM, $18, 583-0022). . . . Central New York quartet the Instruments Band will make a Monday-night stop at Valentine’s, where they’ll be joined by Matthew Loiacono, Matt Durfee, and Que Caro (8 PM, $5-$7, 432-6572). . . . Burlington, Vt.’s Zack Dupont and Saratoga-via-Nashville songwriter Kelly Zullo play the Emerging Artist Breakout Series at Caffe Lena to close the Metroland week on Wednedsay (7 PM, $5, 583-0022).

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