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Chris Whitley, Darden Smith
Joyous Lake, Woodstock, Saturday

Bradley Bamberger, executive editor of Billboard magazine, picked as his no. 1 release of 2001 Bob Dylan’s Love & Theft—no news there, because, really, who didn’t? What’s more interesting is his runner-up: Chris Whitley’s Rocket House. Those of you familiar with Whitley may find it fitting that he’s nipping at Dylan’s heels, recalling the Texan’s early vacillations between intelligent and catchy Delta-infused pop Americana like that found on his debut album, 1991’s Living With the Law, and the sprawling, haunted, electric free-for-all of the follow up, Din of Ecstasy. But, those of you not yet hip to Whitley, be warned: He’s every bit as stubbornly iconoclastic as the Grand Ol’ Man of American Music himself, and the most recent release will confound as much as it pleases. Rocket House weds Whitley’s gritty, soulful, tragic blues with trip-hop beats, thick and luxurious arrangements and more than a nod to Al Green. Opening for Whitley will be Austin-based songwriter Darden Smith. (June 1, 10:30 PM, $15, 845-679-1107)

Gram Parsons Tribute
Valentine’s, Saturday

If we tell you that the alternative- country music thing was more-or-less invented by a millionaire Harvard dropout named Ingram Cecil Connor, you’d probably look askance (you know you would). But if we tell you that it was the innovation of a rebellious cat named Parsons, who cut two singles for Columbia before he was out of high school, and went on to head the International Submarine Band, joined and—some would say—improved the Byrds, quitting later on moral grounds when they toured South Africa, fostered the talents of a young Emmylou Harris, befriended the Rolling Stones and guided them spiritually in the creation of Sticky Fingers, and then overdosed on morphine and tequila in Joshua Tree National Park . . . well now, that sounds about right, don’t it? Turns out those two characters are the same guy. Gram Parsons (his stepdad’s name), was all that and then some. And on Saturday, a slew of the region’s talent will band together to give you a sampling of the then-some. On Saturday, Mike Eck, Dana Monteith, Todd Pasternack, Lo Faber, Don Bazley, John Brodeur, knotworking and others all will turn out to perform renditions of what Parsons called his “cosmic American music.” (June 1, 8 PM, 432-6572)

Dr. John and Jimmy Scott
MASS MoCA, North Adams, Mass., Saturday

New Orleans native and voodoo-funk musician Mac “Dr. John” Rebennack and renowned jazz vocalist Jimmy Scott will perform MASS MoCA’s season- opening concert on Saturday. Dr. John is responsible for hits such as “Wrong Place, Wrong Time,” “Such a Night” and “Honeydripper.” Growing up in New Orleans, Rebennack spent time at his father’s record store listening to Duke Ellington and Big Joe Turner. He began taking guitar lessons from Walter “Papoose” Nelson, guitarist for Fats Domino, which helped Rebennack find work as a session musician. In the early ’70s, Dr. John—a moniker taken from a 19th century New Orleans witch doctor—received national acclaim with the albums Gumbo and In the Right Place, and over his long solo career he has played everything from jazz to funk to African rhythms. Jimmy Scott, known for his unusually high voice caused by a hereditary hormonal deficiency that stunted his growth and prevented his voice from changing, got started in music by singing in church. His professional career began in the late ’40s when he was the featured vocalist for Lionel Hampton’s Big Band. After Scott took a 15-year-long hiatus from the industry, Sire Records president Seymour Stein heard him singing at a funeral and signed him; reinvigorated, he has released seven albums in the past 10 years. Dr. John and Jimmy Scott will grace the stage at MASS MoCA Saturday night; museum members will get a 10-percent discount on tickets. (June 1, 7 PM, $25, $20 advance tickets, 413-664-4481 ext. 8111)

blink-182, Green Day, Save the Day
Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Tuesday

There are big shows, really big shows and then there are the “You must be joking” big shows. If you’re a fan of the new(ish) punk, this show is absolutely huge. A main stage boasting blink-182, Saves the Day, and the act who arguably kick started the whole revival back in 1991, Green Day, should be more than enough to satiate your desire for bouncy three-chord snarl; add to that a second stage (the Channel 103.1 Big Day Out 2 stage) hosting some of the newer variants such as Cold, 2 Skinnee J’s, Custom and local contest winners Attic of Love, and it’s almost an embarrassment of riches. You’ll likely exhaust yourself pogoing, fist-pumping and sprinting between the old new-school and the new new-school punk. But we get the sense you won’t much mind the effort. (June 4, 3 PM, $34.50, 476-1000)

The Goo Goo Dolls, Sensefield
Palace Theatre, Wednesday

What Paul Westerberg could never figure out, the Goo Goo Dolls got down, in spades. Though the Buffalo band started out as a snotty, heavily Replacements-indebted outfit, over the years they continued to polish their sound, making a play for the mainstream and eventually winning for themselves the multiplatinum success their influences never attained. After the boom, the Dolls did what any right-thinking superstar should do: They learned to take it easy. So, it’s only now—four years after the giant Dizzy Up the Girl—that they’ve returned with an album of new material, Gutterflower. The new one picks up right where the old one left off, so much so that some critics have claimed that they sound like one lengthy work rather than two distinct albums separated by nearly half a decade. But, then again, if it ain’t broke . . . Opening for the Goo Goo Dolls will be Sensefield. (June 5, 7:30 PM, $28.50, 476-1000)

also noted

Greatdayforup have been busy at work on their upcoming LP, Ready Rock, and if you want a sneak preview of their efforts, head on down to Valentine’s tonight (Thursday) for their 18-and-up show; Tightened Fists will open (9 PM, $5, 432-6572). . . . Coal Palace Kings will saunter in to the Garden Grill tomorrow (Friday), fresh from their successful CD-release party a few weeks back (6 PM, 462-0571). . . . The Out of Control Rhythm & Blues Band continue on their yearlong celebration of 20 years together, tomorrow at the Joyous Lake Hotel in Woodstock (10:30 PM, $8, 845-679-1107). . . . The Happy Hollisters are hosting “a hypnotic, psychotropic, hectic, eclectic rave-up” tomorrow at Valentine’s, with Mike Campese and Shattered sharing the stage. The event also includes dancers of the go-go variety and an old-school psychedelic light show (8 PM, $7, 432-6572). . . . Local hard-rock trio eN~doR~PHin will play the upstairs stage at Valentine’s on Saturday (see Listen Here, page 26). . . . Bethlehem Central class of ’81 graduate William Raub lost his life in the Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center, and his classmates have established a scholarship in his honor, the Will Raub September 11th Bethlehem Central Scholarship Fund. On Saturday the classmates will hold a fund-raising event for the scholarship at the B.I.G. Arena in Delmar, with performances by the News and Scotty Mac & the Rockin’ Bonnevilles and others (7 PM, $13, $10 advance, info: 439-6106). . . . Glens Falls City Park is the location for this weekend’s Glens Falls Blues Festival, with Friday’s entertainment featuring Murali Coryell, Charlie Smith & Rob Aronstein, Mark Emanatian & Gary Piambino and Ben Murray & Siobhan Quinn. Saturday’s roster features Curtis Salgado, Professor “Louie” & the Crowmatix, Ernie Williams, Out of Control Rhythm & Blues Band, the Jones Brothers and Deja Blue (Fri: 5 PM, Sat: noon, free, 745-8792).

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