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Chris Smither

Club Helsinki, Friday

Chris Smither’s that uncle you have who lives in another part of the state, may or may not have a job or a steady girlfriend, who you only see once or twice a year, but every Thanksgiving or Fourth of July he comes by the house with exotic candy, magic tricks and endless stories. At least that’s the singer’s charm—and the kind of character that might turn up in one of his songs. Smither’s been a road warrior for four decades and, as the “great blues poet” he’s often described as, he’s best experienced up-close and in-person. (Feb. 11, 9 PM, $25, 405 Columbia St., Hudson, 828-4800)

Laura Stevenson and the Cans

Laura Stevenson and the Cans

Valentine’s, Friday

Pedigree is everything in some schools of indie-rock, and Long Island’s Laura Stevenson has a strong one: Her grandfather composed the best Christmas song ever (“The Little Drummer Boy”) and her grandmother sang for the Benny Goodman Orchestra. Stevenson herself took the somewhat less traditional indie-folk route, releasing her debut, A Record, in 2007. With her band, the Cans, she’s just completed a follow-up, titled Sit Resist (due in April) which comes stocked with lush production and dreamy melodies. On Friday, Stevenson and her band will be joined by a particularly aggressive bunch: After the Fall, Iron Chic, Nightmares for a Week, and the Wessles. (Feb. 11, 7 PM, $8, 17 New Scotland Ave., Albany, 432-6572)

Dopapod

Putnam Den, Friday

Boston band Dopapod identify as an “experimental funk” act. We cross-referenced this in our musician-to-English dictionary and found that it translates to “jam band.” (Perhaps the absence of a vocalist should have been a tip.) We’re not even sure we can fully endorse this band’s behavior. On their website, the band claim to have made their recording engineers “soil . . . themselves out of every orifice” with their recent album sessions, going so far as to explain that a studio intern “dribbled shmegma [sic] out of his bellybutton.” Juvenile! Disgusting! And one of the many reasons we’re glad these guys don’t have microphones. Rest assured, their music is a lot less malicious than their prose. (Feb. 11, 9 PM, $6, 63A Putnam St., Saratoga Springs, 584-8066)

Syd Straw, Richard Buckner

Bearsville Theater, Saturday

This terrific double bill is being called the Heartwrecked Show, and if you have any familiarity with the performers involved, you know exactly why. Straw is perhaps best known as frontwoman for the Golden Palominos, but she’s also author of a strong line of solo releases that document her trials and travails in the world of romance. She brings a wild array of talent with her, dubbed the Orchestraw Plankton, including guitarist-producers Don Piper and Eric “Roscoe” Ambel, cellist Jane Scarpantoni, and bass great Sara Lee. Richard Buckner is also the author of a mostly indelible catalog; his voice is one of the most evocative instruments in all of modern music. This one’s worth the drive and then some. (Feb. 12, 9 PM, $25, 291 Tinker St., Woodstock, 845-679-4406)

John Whelan and Donna Hébert

Old Songs, Saturday

Billed as the “Irish-French Connection,” fiddler Donna Hébert brings 40 years of experience in Franco-American folk music to button-box (similar to an accordion) legend John Whelan’s mastery of the Irish musical tradition for an exploration of commonalities between the musical heritage of these two immigrant communities. Joining them will be guitarist Max Cohen and Hébert’s daughter Molly Hébert-Wilson, who sings in English, French and Gaelic. This one promises to be an evening of good music and cultural edification, not to mention an early reason to get excited for this summer’s Old Songs Festival. (Feb. 12, 8 PM, $20, 37 S. Main St., Voorheesville, 765-2815)


Also Noted
Rustic Overtones

Psychedelic, horn-fueled rock & roll is on the menu when the Rustic Overtones play Jillian’s tomorrow (Friday) night; Black Taxi open the show (8 PM, $15, 432-1997). . . . Saturday at Jillian’s, it’s one of the more unlikely tribute bands we’ve come across: Fatal Sting will pay tribute to German hard-rock legends Scorpions (8 PM, $5, 432-1997). . . . Saturday brings the return of former McKrell Sara Milonovich and her band Daisycutter to the area, for a show at Caffe Lena (8 PM, $18, 583-0022). . . . Enjoy an evening of sweet gospel music at the Blessed Hope Family Worship Center in Albany this Sunday, featuring recording artist Jonathan Nelson (4 PM, $25 donation, 257-2716). . . . Songstress Jane Monheit is back for her annual Valentine’s Day show at the Egg on Sunday (7:30 PM, $28, 473-1845). . . . The doctor is in—Dr. Dog that is. The harmonious indie-pop band play the Bearsville Theater in Woodstock on Valentine’s Monday (8 PM, $20, 845-679-4406).


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