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Sharon McNally and Hot Sauce

Critics love alt-country/blues singer-songwriter Sharon McNally. The New York Times: “She has the voice: bruised, smoky and ornery, right at home where country and soul meet.” The Calgary Sun: “McNally gives the gift of believability to all she sings.” The Austin Chronicle: “McNally’s sound bears a timelessness that’s truly uncommon.”

Though Long Island born, McNally sounds like a native of the places she’s most recently called home, New Orleans and northern Mississippi. Her latest album, Coldwater, is a collaboration with the band she’s bringing to the area, Hot Sauce; the result is a potent distillation of delta blues and “outlaw” music.

Sharon McNally and Hot Sauce will perform tonight (Thursday, Aug. 19) at 8 PM at Valentine’s (17 New Scotland Ave., Albany). Restys will open. Admission is $7. Call 432-6572 for info. McNally and Sauce will then perform tomorrow (Friday, Aug. 20) at 9 PM at Club Helsinki (405 Columbia St., Hudson). Tickets are $15. For info, call 828-4800.


Bard Music Festival

Have we mentioned that we’re pretty excited about this year’s Bard Music Festival, and its focus on Viennese composer Alban Berg? Indeed we have.

Tomorrow (Friday), there is a 7:30 PM concert in the Fisher Center’s Sosnoff Theater featuring the Bard Festival Chamber Players performing works that reflect the musical tumult at the dawn of the 20th century, from Berg’s own Four Songs to Ravel’s aural chronicle of the old order crashing down, La Valse. Tickets are $20-$45.

Saturday, the fun begins at 10 AM with a program of Viennese popular music and contemporary operetta in Olin Hall. Arthur Sullivan and Franz Lehar will be represented alongside Franz Schreker and Berg; tickets are $30. At 1:30 PM, also in Olin Hall, the focus is on the “new music” of the 1920s. The eclectic selections (Eisler, Korngold) will also include the adagio of Berg’s sublime Kammerkonzert and some of Gershwin’s jazz-influenced piano music; tickets are $35. The evening concert in the Sosnoff (at 8 PM) will feature the American Symphony Orchestra and Bard Festival Chorale performing Berg’s Die Wein (The Wine) and Franz Schmidt’s Das Buch mit sieben Siegeln; tickets are $25-$55.

There are two concerts Sunday. At 1:30 PM in Olin Hall, chamber players and singers will perform works by Berg, and the significantly less-well-known Schoeck, Krenek and Hartmann; tickets are $35. And at 5:30 PM in the Sosnoff, the ASO and Bard Festival Chorale end things with a bang: Berg’s magnificent Lulu Suite and excerpts from Wozzeck; Kurt Weill’s one-act opera Royal Palace, written two years before the Threepenny Opera; and Hindemith’s Sancta Susanna.

Bard Music Festival will continue Friday (Aug. 20) through Sunday (Aug. 22) at Bard College (Annandale-on-Hudson). In addition to the concerts, there are panel discussions each day. To order tickets, call (845) 758-7900.


The Memory Show

Barrington Stage Company’s developmental Musical Theatre Lab celebrates its fifth season this year, and already the lab has produced five world-premieres and four workshops. If that wasn’t an impressive enough feat in itself, those productions have consistently received critical acclaim, including top-10 nods in the Boston Globe and Ye Olde Metroland.

The Memory Show, the latest musical that’s been nurtured into a world-premiere production at the lab, opens this week. Penned by Zach Redler and Sara Cooper, The Memory Show explores the comlicated relationship between a woman recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and her estranged daughter who returns home to care for her. “As the mother starts forgetting the present,” says BSC, “her daughter begins remembering the past.”

The two-person comic tragedy stars award-winning Broadway veterans Catherine Cox and Leslie Kritzer. There are, of course, no guarantees, but the Musical Theater Lab’s brief track record makes this ticket a reasonably safe bet.

The Memory Show opens for preview at Barrington Stage Company’s Stage 2 (Pittsfield VFW, 36 Linden St., Pittsfield, Mass.) on Wednesday (Aug. 18) at 7 PM and runs through Aug. 29; opening night is Sunday, Aug. 22. Tickets range from $15 to $45. $20 senior matinee tickets, pay what you can ages 35 and under. For more info, call (413) 236-8888.

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