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The Mill
Rexleigh Mill, Greenwich, Friday

This is one fiesta that says summer like no other. Take the day off of work and kick off your Friday near Salem tubing on the Battenkill after 11 AM. Dry off and dig out the cooler for a nice picnic lunch in the sun followed by rock in the afternoon. The show will get underway around 3 PM, featuring solo accordionist extraordinaire Harry Pyle, the precision rock of Fruitless Attempts at Glory, the supercute duo Kickstand Love, Skull Division, and Importante el Serioso. The booty movement inspired by Blue Water Tribe’s hiphop and the Mathematicians’ electro-rock warrant the drive alone. After the music’s done, folks will hunker down to watch Friday the 13th, appropriately enough, and camp out for the night. There are rumors of wiffleball and s’mores as well. Attendees are encouraged to bring along food and camping equipment, though the kids want you to leave the booze and drugs at home. For helpful directions, follow the links to the mill at www.pinkhearse.com. (Aug. 13, 11 AM, www.pinkhearse.com)

The Burns Sisters
Caffe Lena, Friday

As the saying goes, the family that plays together stays together. The three Burns Sisters—Marie, Annie and Jeannie—have been singing together professionally for 18 years. They come from a family of 14 children; the whole crew could have started their own choir. Apparently, they still like each other. They’ve recorded half a dozen albums, worked with Springsteen sidemen and operated their own record label. (All three have performed as solo artists, too.) The New York born-and-based trio have earned a solid local following with their multi-instrumental, acoustic-based approach to folk, country, rock and pop. Oh, and those harmonies—one suspects that the folks really come out for their clear-as-mountain-stream, bluegrass-derived vocal stylings. (Aug. 13, 7 PM, $16, $14, 47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs, 583-0022)

Cobble Hillbillies
Valentine’s, Friday

Comprising six guys who have roots ranging from Delmar to Israel, Cobble Hillbillies are a bluegrass outfit based in Brooklyn. The sextet have quickly made a name for themsleves as warm, energetic performers who absolutley love creating and playing their music. According to mbus.com, though the guys have been playing around Manhattan and Brooklyn for less than a year, they have become the “highest-drawing bluegrass act in the city.” That’s pretty impressive. The band are currently in the process of recording their first album, but you can listen to some roguh cuts on their Web site, www.cobblehillbil lies.com. At the show at Valentine’s tomorrow (Friday), the Cobble Hillbillies will be sandwiched between Matt Loiacono, who’ll open the show, and local indie-Americana group knotworking, who’ll headline. (Aug. 13, 9 PM, $5, 17 New Scotland Ave., Albany, 432-6572)

Hector on Stilts
Lark Tavern, Saturday

Arizona-based duo Hector on Stilts moved to Lenox, Mass., three years ago, and immediately began turning heads with their Latin-inflected folk-pop songs and posterworthy good looks, but their voices deserve the attention above all other things. The harmonies are so natural, sweet and airtight, one would think the pair had known each other their entire lives. OK, they kinda have—Jeb and Clayton Colwell are cousins, and they’ve been making music together on and off since high school. Their first album, Pretty Please, was a live, in- studio affair, capturing the Colwell boys in all their harmonic glory, with just two microphones and no overdubs. Their newer material has moved steadily toward a more “rock” sound, and shows a significant growth in their songwriting talents. To push things forward, they’ve been recording and performing with a drummer as of late; Jason Schultz of the Suggestions will play the role at Saturday’s Lark Tavern show. Area troubadour Rob Skane will open. (Aug. 14, 10 PM, $3, 463 Madison Ave., Albany, 463-7875)

Stew
MASS MoCA, North Adams, Mass., Saturday

Maybe rock & roll really is dead—or if not totally dead, moribund at least. Or maybe the increasing corporate control over the distribution of music is just choking out the good stuff and going whole hog on the lowest-common-denominator/highest-profit-margin garbage. Or maybe we’re now officially old. There’s got to be some dramatic explanation for the fact that recently we’ve become kinda excited about (gulp) cabaret. And Stew’s performance at MASS MoCA sounds right up our street: Stew got his start in L.A., working the R&B circuit and then fronting the notoriously named rock band the Negro Problem, before headed to New York for a stint as an avant-noise practitioner. Then it was off to Europe, specifically Berlin, where he joined an community of artists and squatters. Eventually he headed back to LaLa Land, where he began incorporating his varied experiences among the world’s demimonde into sung/acted dramatic narratives relating, according to The New York Times Jon Pareles, “human weaknesses and all the fascinating trouble they can cause.” (Aug. 15, 8 PM, $16, 1040 MASS MoCA Way, 413-662-2111)

Nellie McKay
Iron Horse Music Hall, Saturday; Club Helsinki, Sunday

“This record is my life,” says 19-year-old Nellie McKay (pronounced MacKaye, as in Ian, from—oh, never mind) of her critically-lauded debut album, and what a life it must have been so far. Get Away From Me, whose title slyly plays on the title of Norah Jones’ Come Away With Me, is an ambitious double album (this is not a typo) that could only have come from the mind of someone not-too-far-removed from their high school days. The versatile, eclectic youngster signed to Sony after stirring things up on Manhattan’s club circuit, mainly because her musical-trick bag holds equal amounts of Eminem and Bob Marley, Doris Day and Ella Fitzgerald. Not to mention McKay’s lyrics, which make her sound mature beyond her years one minute (“I Wanna Get Married”), vunerable and full of late-teen angst the next (“Change the World”). There are two chances to catch Nellie McKay this weekend: She’ll play the Iron Horse in Northampton on Saturday, then head an hour west to Great Barrington’s Club Helsinki on Sunday. (Iron Horse: Aug. 14, 7 PM, $15, 20 Center St., Northampton, Mass., 413-584-0610; Club Helsinki: Aug. 15, 8:30 PM, $18, 284 Main St., Great Barrington, Mass., 413-528-3394)


Also Noted

Former Throwing Muses/Breeders/Belly member Tanya Donnelly comes to the Iron Horse in Northampton, Mass., tonight (Thursday) to promote her latest release, beautysleep; Rachel Goswell (of Mojave 3) opens with songs from her solo debut, Waves Are Universal (7 PM, $15, 413-584-0610). . . . Christian trumpeter Phil Driscoll performs at the Draper Center (formerly Draper High) in Rotterdam tomorrow (Friday) night (7 PM, free, 857-5886). . . . Also on Friday, John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, perhaps England’s longest-running blues act (closing in on 40 years), will perform at the Death Star—sorry, we meant the Egg—as part of the “American Roots and Branches” concert series; Savoy Brown opens (8 PM, $24, 473-1845). . . . Same night, a little bit north, and on the other side of the river: Folk-groove trio Wide Awake will record their show in the taproom at Brown’s Brewing Co. in Troy (9 PM, free, 273-2337). . . . Gavin DeGraw, whose “I Don’t Want to Be” video has been all over MTV as of late, plays Northern Lights on Sunday, along with up-and-comers Toby Lightman and Marc Broussard (371-0012). . . . Iowa-based instumental group Marah Mar plays the Fuze Box this Monday, with a solo set by Kamikaze Heart Troy Pohl and, from what we’re told, a rare acoustic set by Enoch and Dave (from Rockets and Blue Lights); hang around afterward for indie-rock dance night (9 PM, $5, 432-4472). . . . Nostalgia never dies—just ask Thin Lizzy, whose iconic lead singer Phil Lynott has been dead for nearly 20 years; the remaining members will share the SPAC stage with Deep Purple and Joe Satriani on Tuesday (7:30 PM, $45, 476-1000). . . . Inadvertently working the nostalgia circuit themselves, Blues Traveler return to Northern Lights for a show on Tuesday night; hard-working locals Sirsy handle the opening duties (7:30 PM, $20, 371-0012).


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