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Kenny Rogers
Proctor’s Theatre, Thursday

He’s one of the most recognizable figures in pop culture, and for a number of good reasons. There’s that perfectly gravelly voice, that infallibly groomed beard, those songs that you hate yourself for loving, and let’s not forget the chicken—oh, the chicken. Really, how many other country singers can you name that have their own chain of fried-chicken joints? Another sign that this guy is a bona-fide superstar: He has released no less than 15 hits collections, of which the most recent—this year’s 42 Ultimate Hits, which spans all the way back to his 1969 hit with the First Edition, “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)”—debuted inside the Billboard top 40. He recently threw down a hilarious cameo spot on the season premiere of Reno 911! and he’s back on tour to promote his 61st(!) album, Back to the Well. Catch the inimitable Kenny Rogers tonight at Schenectady’s historic Proctor’s Theatre. (June 17, 8 PM, $40.50-$55.50, 436-6204)

Grand Champeen
Valentine’s, Friday

Like a bat out of Texas, Austin-based rockers Grand Champeen’s first LP, Battle Cry for Help, perked the ears of quite a few Uncle Tupelo-lovin’ types; Splendid went so far as to ordain it a “minor classic.” Their second and latest LP, The One That Brought You, has been racking up comparisons to early Soul Asylum, early Replacements, and early Superchunk since its release last fall on the tiny Glurp label, which tells us one thing: They sure do sound young and scruffy (that’s “scruffy” as in “slept too late and didn’t have time to shave”). They’ll take the downstairs stage at Valentine’s on Friday night as part of the club’s Americana Music Club series. The Empire State Troopers (featuring members of Small Axe and the Wasted) open; the Letdowns close. (June 18, 9 PM, $5, 432-6572)

Jesse Malin, Squad Five-O
Iron Horse Music Hall, Northampton, Mass., Saturday

Compared to his singing days with NYC glam-punk scorchers D- Generation, Jesse Malin’s solo career finds him growing into a softer, subtler rock. First heard on 2002’s The Fine Art of Self-Destruction, Malin’s new “postpunk” direction is just that; not off-rhythm, punky knee-jerkers, but postpunk, literally what comes next. Malin’s songs sound like the old punk settled down, affected by a life of diverse listening that’s produced a smart, well-schooled songwriter. But as his hair suggests (sculpted in perfect Johnny Thunders fashion), Malin is still ready to rock, and early listens to his new album, The Heat, affirm it. Though The Heat will officially hit stores on June 29, it’s been released on iTunes if you can’t stand the wait. After an opening set from glammy power-poppers Squad Five-O, Malin will perform with full band in tow, so be sure to wear your rock shoes. (June 19, 9:30 PM, $13; $10 advance, 413-584-0610)

Rickie Lee Jones
The Egg, Sunday

Off the top of your head you can probably name a handful of male musicians who are famed more for their artistic integrity and idiosyncracy than for their commericial success: Tom Waits, Vic Chesnut, John Darnielle, Nick Cave, Chuck E. Weiss, and so on. For whatever reason, however, female musicians of similarly respected cult status are fewer and further between—marketplace pressures and societal expectations for the quirky chanteuse seem to allow little flexibility. On Sunday, one of the exceptions proving the rule—the fairy godmother (along with Joni Mitchell) of stick-to-your-guns songwriting—plays the Egg. Since 1979, Rickie Lee Jones has been wowing the critics with her unmistakeable blend of R&B, jazz, Tin Pan Alley—the gamut of authentic American styles. And on her most recent disc, 2003’s The Evening of My Best Day, she tackles some authentic American subject matter. Check out the track “Tell Somebody (Repeal the Patriot Act)” by way of example. (June 20, 7:30 PM, $28, 473-1845)

Willie the Moak and Friends
Caffe Lena, Sunday

For this Father’s Day, Willie the Moak wants you to cut the tie and take your dad to Caffe Lena for a Father’s Day CD release party. Willie’s unique percussive guitar style comes from years of playing drums in rock bands; if his songwriting style and funky rhythms don’t have dad dancing in the aisles, the free CD for all fathers in attendance might get his attention. Joining Willie for this performance are friends from his newest recording project: Kevin Maul, self-proclaimed “Dobro wizard”; Chuck D’Aloia, whom dads might recognize as the composer for the Albany River Rats’ theme song “Ratitude”; and on bass, Tony Markellis of the famed Trey Anastasio band. (June 20, 7 PM, $12, 583-0022)

Also Noted

Sol y Canto (Sun and Song), a bilingual and multicultural Latin music ensemble, will present a variety of acoustic Afro-Latin songs and rhythms at the West Kortright Centre in East Meredith tomorrow (Friday, 7:30 PM, $8-$17, 607-278-5454). . . . British Steel—that’s right, the Judas Priest tribute band—are back at Saratoga Winners on Friday, and we have a feeling there will be leather involved; also involved will be Queen of Spade (you might have once known them as China White) and Untamed (7:30 PM, $8, 783-1010). . . . The day has finally come, folks: Phish are officially calling it quits, and they’ll bid the Capital Region adieu with two shows at Saratoga Performing Arts Center (Friday and Saturday), but you’ll have to hope for a miracle—tickets have long since sold out (7:30 PM, $42.50, 476-1000). . . . Saratoga’s Blues Noir will celebrate the release of their second CD, Noircisissm, with a good old- fashioned CD release party at the Lark Tavern on Saturday (10 PM, $3, 463-9779). . . . Also on Saturday, the Brian Patneaude Quintet will perform in DeJohn’s newly opened third-floor music lounge; this one-time-only-ensemble will feature Patneaude’s usual cohorts George Muscatello and Ryan Lukas, along with special guests Dave Payette and Eric Hamell (9 PM, free, 436-5660). . . . Emo? Pop-punk? Screamo? We’re not sure what to call it anymore (although we’d be happy to see the term “emo” go the way of the dodo), but the High Socks, Kitty Little, Struction, and Madeline Ferguson will play a Sunday evening show at the next-best-thing to your friend’s basement, Valentine’s (7 PM, $5, 432-6572). . . . Alright, we’ll say it, but we don’t have to like it: Eric Clapton is playing at the Pepsi Arena on Wednesday. There, we said it. (7:30 PM, $46-$81, 476-1000).

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