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Fourth Annual Dylan Birthday Celebration
Union College, Thursday

For this year’s celebration of Bob Dylan’s birthday, which will take place tonight (Thursday) at the Old Chapel on Union College’s campus, tribute will be paid Newport ’65-style. If your rock & roll history is a little lacking, that was the year Dylan nearly gave über-folkie Pete Seeger an aneurysm by plugging in and performing electric for his set at the prestigious festival. So, to recognize the raucous and rocking side of Dylan, this year’s shindig boasts local musicians similarly “plugged in, turned on and turned up.” Among the noisemakers will be Michael Eck, CountrySoulHouse (featuring Mitch Elrod), Lowthief (featuring Albie and MotherJudge), the Decadent Royals, the Coal Palace Kings, No Outlet, Four out of Five Blottos and many more. (May 22, 7:30 PM, 388-6124)

The Skatalites, Dr. Jah & the Love Prophets
Revolution Hall, Thursday

Believe it or not, ska-reggae legends the Skatalites were formed more than four decades ago. Talk about a long life span, huh? After finishing a world tour in 2002, the Skatalites are home in the States again, and staying here for their current tour. The band just released their new album, From Paris With Love, on World Village Records, and the album, which was recorded in Paris practically in just one day, is described as an effort to celebrate international unity. As can be expected, the Skatalites have changed their lineup many times throughout their existence—and they’ll change it yet again. Doreen Schaeffer, band vocalist during the world tour, is unavailable to join them for their States dates, so special guest vocalist Dion Knibb, a regular performer with the Skatalites, will step in. The tour will stop in Troy tonight (Thursday) for a performance at Revolution Hall. Dr. Jah & the Love Prophets will open. (May 22, $20, $18 advance, 9 PM, 273-2337)

Lucy Kaplansky
WAMC Performing Arts Studio, Friday

Lucy Kaplansky may be celebrated as an incisive country-folk songwriter with a voice that has been described as an “auditory delight,” but it wasn’t the career she expected to have. Kaplansky was in the middle of that late-’70s New York singer-songwriter scene with Suzanne Vega, John Gorka and her then-singing-partner, Shawn Colvin. But instead of becoming the next big thing—as many predicted—Kaplansky split the scene to pursue a doctorate in clinical psychology. Yes, it’s hard to believe, but she deserted the lucrative world of pass-the-hat coffeehouses to hang up a shingle and work in New York City hospitals. Her friends started getting record deals, however, and kept inviting her to sing backup on their discs. (The doctor was “in” when they called.) Eventually, in 1994, Colvin persuaded her to make a record—and the rest is history. Nine years and three albums later (her latest, Ten Year Night, is winning raves by the way), Kaplansky is in demand as never before. No more nights in the psych ward for her. (May 23, 8 PM, $22, 465-5233 ext. 4)

Rosanne Cash
MASS MoCA, Sunday

Rosanne Cash’s performance at MASS MoCA on Sunday will kick off two events at the North Adams., Mass., contemporary visual- and performing-arts space: the inauguration of its summer season—jam-packed with an interesting mix of performances, film screenings and fine art—and the opening of the art exhibition Yankee Remix: Artists Take on New England. Cash is an alt-country legend, and though she’s the Man in Black’s daughter, she’s successful because of her talent and not her bloodline. Cash came out with her first American recording in 1979 (she had a German release a year prior), Right or Wrong, and it featured a couple of Top 25 hits—including a duet with Bobby Bare. She hit big, though, with her sophomore effort, 1981’s Seven Year Ache—which had three No. 1 singles—and in ’88, after a handful of releases, Cash was Billboard’s Top Singles Artist. Her newest release, Rules of Travel, came out in March, and she’s joined by a slew of big names—Steve Earle, Sheryl Crow and her dad among them. (May 25, 8 PM, $32.50, $27.50, 413-662-2111)

Prick, Ethernet, I Synthesist
Valentine’s, Wednesday

Cleveland-based Kevin McMahon has been in the music biz for awile. In the early ’80s, he fronted the new-wave band Lucky Pierre (a pre-stardom Trent Reznor briefly played keys). But McMahon hit the mainstream radar in 1995 with his other project, the avant- industrial Prick. Prick’s eponymous debut (known as Communique to some) was issued by Reznor’s boutique label Nothing Records. The single “Animal” became an MTV hit at the time, and Prick toured with David Bowie and NIN. Things, as they say, fell apart, and McMahon and Prick weren’t heard from until this spring, when Prick released The Wreckard—put out on McMahon’s Lucky Pierre label and available only over the Internet (www.prickmusic.com). The album is considered a production masterpiece by critics—“McMahon takes the kind of chances in the studio that the Brian Enos and Roger Waters of the world only hint at,” says Mix magazine—and much of the music on The Wreckard actually was recorded years back, some prior to Prick’s debut. Join the already converted when Prick play Valentine’s on Wednesday. Ethernet and I Synthesist open. (May 28, 8 PM, $12, 432-6572)


CAVE CATT SAMMY

Cave Catt Sammy, the Lustre Kings
The Ale House, Wednesday

Rockabilly rings in Troy this humpday (that’s Wednesday for you kiddies and transplants), with San Antonio-based rock & rollers Cave Catt Sammy. The band began as four gawky high school mates in ’97, and miles of hard touring and a few shots in the studio (Sun Studio-style, no doubt) have refined these fine gentlemen—they’ve got to be, like, 21 now—into pure rockabilly essence. Cave Catt Sammy—fronted by singer Beau “Sammy” Sample, who is also the band’s principal songwriter—have been compared to another prodigious rockabilly ensemble, this one popular in the ’50s: the Sparkletones. Touring as much as they do (roughly 250 gigs a year), CCS practically live in their van, which takes ’em to prestigious rockabilly festivals as well as dive-bar stages. No doubt they are already familiar with show openers, area rockabilly legends the Lustre Kings—who also frequently find themselves at prestigious rockabilly festivals and dive-bar stages. (May 28, 7:30 PM, $5, 272-9740)

 also noted
SWITCHFOOT
Sublime tribute band Badfish will play the upstairs stage at Valentine’s tonight (Thursday); opening the show will be Providence band Zox, providing a mix of rock, punk and reggae—with classical violin melodies (8 PM, $8, 432-6572). . . . San Diego-bred Christian rockers Switchfoot will play upstairs at Valentine’s tomorrow (Friday), with post-grunge Australian band Something for Kate and the Working Title opening; while local noise-rockers Struction, briefly stopping home during a Northeast tour in support of their recently relased self-titled EP, will join fellow scenesters Madeline Ferguson, the Highsocks and Complicated Shirt for a show on the downstairs stage (up: 8 PM, $8, $6 advance; down: 9 PM, $5; 432-6572). . . . Retro-rockin’ power-trio Super 400 will play Troy’s Daisy Baker’s on Saturday (10 PM, $5, 266-9200). . . . Folk-jazz singer-songwriter Sheri Bauer-Mayorga, along with pianist Lincoln Mayorga and bassist Otto Gardener, will perform at the Hudson Opera House on Saturday, likely offering selections from her new CD, On the Wrong Side of the Railroad Tracks: Life at the Border, as well as some select covers and other originals (8 PM, $12, $10 members, 822-1438). . . . This month’s acoustic-artist night at the Lark Street Bookshop features relative newcomer to the scene, Brian Bassett, who’s about ready to release his Scarlet East-recorded debut, Rock and Roll (which features the skills of the Wait’s guitarist and bassist, Ryan Barnum and Mark Connor respectively, and the hardest-working area pop star, John Brodeur), along with relative oldcomer to the scene and teller of tall-grass tales, Carl Smith—formerly of Cactus Loveseat and Preying Field (7 PM, free, 465-8126).

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