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Anne Feeney, Roy Zimmerman, Evan Greer

The Eighth Step at Upstairs at 440 Theatre at Proctors, Friday

May Day! It’s the day to honor labor, and this Eighth Step show on May Day eve will celebrate labor with with song. “Agitator, hellraiser and labor singer” Anne Feeney draws on Irish music, bluegrass, pop, folk and traditional labor songs; her “Have You Been to Jail for Justice” is an anthem. Roy Zimmerman sings “funny songs about ignorance, war and greed.” Joni Mitchell said “Roy’s lyrics move beyond poetry and achieve perfection.” (We are down with anything Joni says.) Evan Greer, a founding member of the Riot-Folk! Collective, will sing his “fiercely radical” tunes. Also: $5 discounts are available for union members and students, with ID. (April 30, 7:30 PM, $22, 440 State St., Schenectady, 434-1703, 346-6204)

Jason Reeves

Revolution Hall, Friday

Iowa City native Jason Reeves has made it without really making it. For starters, he cowrote the majority of the songs for platinum-selling artist Colbie Caillat’s two albums. (Yes, even that abominable “Bubbly” song.) And he just performed his song, “Terrified,” on American Idol, as a duet with Katherine McPhee (who recorded the track for her latest album). All that before making his major-label debut, which comes later this year. To be fair, Reeves has a killer track record as an independent artist, so the move to the national stage is a natural one. Mark our words, this dude is gonna be big. Though he kind of is already. Reeves plays Revolution Hall on Friday, with local pop hero Eric Margan and his Red Lions opening. (April 30, 7 PM, $13, 425 River St., Troy, 274-0553)


The Bayou Cafe, Friday

What’s up with Pearl Street all of a sudden being the hot spot for cool U.K. imports? Next weekend brings Welsh band the Joy Formidable and on-the-cusp New Yorkers the Dig to town for a hotly anticipated double bill. But first, the Bayou welcomes Birmingham, England, dance-punks Deluka. The band already have made waves in the British music press, with NME referring to their lead single “OMFG” as a bit of “girl-charged electro-skuzz punk, akin to Ladytron snacking on the Killers for brunch.” Deluka’s U.S. domination began with a “reimagining” of the “Tik Tok,” which rendered the Ke$ha trash-pop megahit vaguely palatable. That’s viral in a way we don’t even want to think about. Hear that and more for free tomorrow (Friday). Albany’s own electro-rock troupe Love for the Masses will open. (April 30, 8 PM, free, 79 N. Pearl St., Albany, 426-8550)

Freedy Johnston

Freedy Johnston

Caffe Lena, Saturday

Eight years is a long time be tween albums, but Freedy Johnston has a good reason for his silence: He was living. He relocated a few times—to Austin, Nashville, and back to the New York City area. He got married, and divorced. In the wake of all that life comes Rain on the City, Johnston’s first album of new material since 2001’s Right Between the Promises, and his first for independent label Bar/None since the early 1990s. The good news is, living hasn’t diminished his ability to craft a near-perfect folk-pop number: “Don’t Fall in Love With a Lonely Girl” instantly stands as one of Johnston’s best, and the other 10 tracks here are up to that same high standard. If great songs are your bag, this is a smart bet. Rebecca Pronsky opens Saturday’s show. (May 1, 8 PM, $20, 47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs, 583-0022)

Iris DeMent, Bruce Robison

The Egg, Saturday

Most folk and country singers aim for a timeless quality in their craft, but Arkansas-born singer-songwriter Iris DeMent sounds quite literally from another time. Raised on gospel music, DeMent has a voice that is pure and evocative, her songcraft spare and honest. You know, the kind of thing Garrison Keillor aches for—full of fingerpicked guitars and mandolin tremolo. Dement has performed on Prairie Home Companion a number of times since her start in the early ’90s, but it was a song spot on the final episode of Northern Exposure that really helped launch her career. She’ll be joined Saturday night by Texas singer-songwriter Bruce Robison. (May 1, 7:30 PM, $24, Empire State Plaza, Albany, 473-1845)

Also Noted

Incredible Casuals

Canadian prog-metal act Protest the Hero will play Valentine’s tomorrow (Friday) night, along with last week’s Listen Here subjects, the Viking; the Architects and the Final Sleep are also on the bill (7:30 PM, $14, 432-6572). . . . Also Friday at Valentine’s, down one flight: The Erotics return to the stage after a five-month absence, to play the entirety of their forthcoming new album, Today the Devil, Tomorrow the World (8:30 PM, $7, 432-6572). . . . Seattle singer-songwriter Ian McFeron is about halfway through a 90-day solo tour of the states; he’ll be at the Muddy Cup in Albany on Saturday, accompanied by fiddler-cellist Alisa Milner (7 PM, free, 458-6120). . . . The Ahora! Latin/Jazz series continues another season with a Saturday evening performance from Grupo Los Santos at the Assembly Hall in the University at Albany Campus Center (7:30 PM, $15, $5 students and seniors, 466-9990). . . . One-man band—make that one-boy band—Never Shout Never will headline the AP Tour at Northern Lights on Saturday; the bill also features the Cab, the Summer Set and Every Avenue (6 PM, $17, 371-0012). . . . The packed week at Valentine’s continues on Saturday with a rare performance from the Incredible Casuals, the rock & roll band led by Massachusetts raconteur Chandler Travis (9 PM, $10, 432-6572). . . . We’ll stop short of previewing the entire Valentine’s schedule, but here’s one last one: Former Backsliders leader Chip Robinson teams with Kasey Anderson for an evening of roots music on Sunday (8 PM, $7, 432-6572). . . . Jose Malone’s wasn’t about to let Cinco de Mayo roll by unrecognized: Latin king Alex Torres performs at Troy’s only Mexican-Irish restaurant on Wednesday (7 PM, free, 273-2196).

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