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Rik Emmett, Mike Campese
Northern Lights, Friday

Since leaving the Canadian rock band Triumph in 1988, singer- songwriter-guitarist Rik Emmett has released 10 solo albums ranging in style from jazz to classical to pop. His first solo album, Absolutely (released in 1990) went gold; but by the mid-’90s, he became frustrated with poor support from his label, and, inspired by the likes of Ani DiFranco and Loreena McKennit, Emmett created Open House Records. Enjoying his new creative freedom, Emmett released the first installment of his guitar trilogy Ten Invitations From the Mistress of Mr. E on his new label in 1996. Swing Shift, featuring jazz and swing beats, and Raw Quartet, full of blues and rock, followed, completing the trilogy and revealing to fans and critics alike that there was more to Emmett than the guitar histrionics of arena rock. His new collection, Good Faith, will be released this summer. Emmett will perform a combination of the new and the old, including some Triumph songs for the fans, tomorrow (Friday) at Northern Lights. Area axman Mike Campese will open the show. (June 20, 7:30 PM, $14, $12 advance, 371-0012)

Concert for Democracy
Christ Church, Friday

To get an idea where folksinger David Rovics is coming from, just check out some of the folks with whom he has shared stages: Howard Zinn, Michael Moore, Desmond Tutu, Ralph Nader and Susan Sarandon. Oh, and he has performed with other musicians, too—like Pete Seeger and Billy Bragg. If you haven’t guessed, Rovics is a folksinger of the activist variety, who performs regularly at protests, rallies, festivals, schools and political events, where he gets to sing about such issues as the economy, the environment, labor, globalization and U.S. foreign policy. Rovics’ ideals dovetail with those of the Capital District chapter of the Alliance for Democracy, which will host Rovics tomorrow (Friday) at a benefit concert to support its coalition-building efforts at Christ Church in Troy. Saratoga Springs-based activist-folksinger Terri Roben will open. (June 20, 7:30 PM, $10 suggested contribution, 583-4326)

The Dead, Steve Winwood
Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Friday

It seems like the remaining members of the Dead feel that they must make up for the absence of the late, great Jerry Garcia by inviting as many musicians as possible to perform with them on their Summer Getaway tour. When the Dead (now comprising Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh and Bob Weir) stop by SPAC tomorrow night, they’ll be joined by fellow musicians Jimmy Herring, Joan Osborne, Jeff Chimenti and Rob Barraco. The band are recording CDs of most of their shows and selling them when the shows are over, so eventually you’ll be able to purchase the exact concert you heard, and enjoy the experience over and over and over. The Dead will play tomorrow (Friday) night at SPAC; Steve Winwood opens. (June 20, 5:30 PM, $52.50, $37.50, 476-1000)

Meshell Ndegeocello
Iron Horse Music Hall, Northampton, Mass., Saturday

Bassist-singer-songwriter Meshell Ndegeocello has had critical success since she first stepped on the music scene back in the early ’90s, though commercial success has pretty much eluded her throughout her career. She was the first female artist signed to Madonna’s Maverick label, and her debut solo disc, Plantation Lullabies, garnered the artist three Grammy nominations and spawned the hit single “If That’s Your Boyfriend (He Wasn’t Last Night).” Then her infamous duet in 1994 with John Mellencamp of Van Morrison’s “Wild Nights” became a huge hit, gaining the artist further attention. Ndegeocello went on to record three more albums and a dozen soundtrack cuts, and through the years she’s racked up seven Grammy nominations. You can check her out yourself at the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, Mass., on Saturday. (June 21, 7 and 9:30 PM, $20, 800-The-TICK)


DIANA DARBY

Diana Darby, Jason Martin
51 3rd Street, Troy, Tuesday

We were hipped to Diana Darby by an insider who told us that she was “kind of cross between CatPower and Anne Sexton,” and if ever a heartstring thrummed . . . Unlikely as the combo may seem, Darby’s latest disc, Fantasia Ball, delivers: She weds a low-key, indie-rock sonic understatement (the album was home recorded on a four-track) with a confessional poet’s raw sensitivity. Nonpoetic types be consoled, though: Darby’s influences aren’t all found on the library shelves. She performs a cover of the Stones’ “Blue Turns to Grey,” and her version of Kris Kristofferson’s “Jesus Was a Capricorn” (found on the Nothing to Lose tribute album, among the likes of Richard Buckner, Calexico and Grandaddy) was called a “revelation” by the SF Weekly. Also on the bill is Jason Martin, who will coax reel-to-reel machines into performing beyond the range of their normal specs. (June 24, 9 PM, $3, 270-5119)

 also noted
ROBERT RICH

Local popsters Blackcat Elliot will play a CD-release show at Valentine’s on Friday, with the Extras and Rob Skane opening; each and every paying customer will receive a copy of their CD Threads Tearing From the Inside [see Listen Here, page 26] (9 PM, $8, 432-6572). . . . Punk-revival band the Beautiful Mistake will play Valentine’s on Friday, with Fallout Boy, This Time Tomorrow, Jean Grey (formerly Always Is not Forever) and Marty McFly (8 PM, $10, 432-6572). . . . Santana will play SPAC on Sunday as part of his Shaman world tour, and Carlos has announced that he’ll donate all proceeds to Artists for a New South Africa, with funds specifically going to South African nonprofit agencies working to fight AIDS there; Afro-pop diva Angelique Kidjo will open the show (7:30 PM, $38-$68, $22 lawn, 476-1000). . . . Area poet-artist AC Everson presents Friends and Favorites, a Night of Words and Music on Monday at the newish downtown venue New Age Cabaret (in Nipper’s neck of the woods); the evening is packed with talented area poets and musicians, including Mary Panza, MotherJudge, Mitch Elrod, Don Levy, Albie, Pat Covert, Kevin Maul, Kristen Day, Arber Hillbillies, Steve Candlen, Blaise Thomas, Rich Marshall and the debut of Idi Annine and the Mamas (8 PM, $3, 436-3465). . . . James Taylor returns to kick off Tanglewood’s 2003 season with a concert in the Koussevitzky Music Shed on Tuesday. Pop music at the venerable summer venue continues next week, with Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra performing Rhythm Is Our Business (June 27). Then Garrison Keilor’s A Prairie Home Companion will be broadcast live from the Music Shed for the fourth year (June 28); choreographer Mark Morris joins cellist Yo-Yo Ma for a program of music and dance (June 29-30); and the Supremes starring Mary Wilson and the Spinners will play Tanglewood’s Fourth of July festivities (Taylor: 7 PM, $28-$85, $19 lawn, 888-266-1200). . . . Ambient sound sculptor Robert Rich, who is also one-half of the atmospheric duo Amoeba, will stop in to Troy’s Arts Center of the Capital Region on Wednesday as part of his nationwide tour following his recent release Temple of the Invisible. Though Rich creates music that is difficult to categorize, and he’s done so on more than two dozen albums, he’s known as a pioneer of the ambient, dark-ambient, tribal and trance genres (7:30 PM, $8, 273-0552).


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