Jukebox: Red Clay Ramblers and Rockapella on menu tonight

Amanda Shaw is sold out tonight at the Eighth Step, but other artists playing here this coming week
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Categories: Life & Arts

Amanda Shaw is sold out tonight at the Eighth Step, but other artists playing here this coming week will also show off deep musical roots from which good times grow.

The Troy Savings Bank Music Hall hasn’t rambled anywhere since being firmly planted on Second Street in 1875. But there will be ramblin’ a-plenty there tonight when the Red Clay Ramblers and the Ramblin Jug Stompers ramble back through musical history.

Both bands have plenty of history. Since forming in North Carolina in 1972, the Red Clay Ramblers have often changed members, including Shawn Colvin (1987-88, right after they played in Sam Shepard’s off-Broadway play “Lie of the Mind”), but always stay true to their string-band roots. All but pianist Bland Simpson and guest banjoist Rick Good are multi-instrumentalists: Jack Herrick, Clay Buckner and Chris Frank.

Our own good-time antique music band the Ramblin Jug Stompers include three current members of Blotto — banjoist Bowtie, multi-instrumentalist Wild Bill (Sgt. Blotto, Greg Haymes, G.C. Haymes) and guitarist Steven “Cousin” Clyde. Also included is Mr. Eck, a one-man, peripatetic musical history of Albany bands since the late 1970s: he played with all of them, and plays lots of things in the Stompers.

Show time is 8 p.m. Tickets are $28, $25 and $15. Phone 273-0038 or visit www.troymusichall.org.

Human instruments

Both the Red Clay Ramblers and the Ramblin’ Jug Stompers will bring enough stringed instruments to arm a music store, but Rockapella brings only the original instrument to The Egg (Empire State Plaza, Albany) tonight: the voice — tenors Scott Leonard, Kevin Wright and John K. Brown, bass George Baldi and mouth-percussionist Jeff Thacher.

Don’t hold their once-ubiquitous “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego” theme against them: These guys co-star in Spike Lee’s “Do It A Cappella” documentary and the “Happily Ever After” series starring Denzel Washington and Whoopi Goldberg.

Rockapella sings tonight at 8. Tickets are $29.50. Phone 473-1845 or visit www.theegg.org.

Family harmony

Also tonight, Sarah Lee Guthrie (Arlo’s daughter) and Johnny Irion play Caffe Lena (47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs).

Candid and crafty writers, they harmonize like Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash or Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris and play un-fancy, folkie guitar. Since opening for Iris DeMent last March at The Egg, they’ve finished a new DVD/CD set aptly titled “Folksong.” The DVD features a live show in California, and the CD has four new songs.

Show time is 8 p.m. Tickets are $16, $14 for members. Phone 583-0022 or visit www.caffelena.org,.

Zen for primates

Things will get positively weird at Caffe Lena on Saturday when Zen for Primates take over.

Singer T. Roth fronts this mostly acoustic quintet (two violins, cello, sax and electric guitar) that Tower/Pulse magazine reports “sounds like Kronos Quartet meets Led Zeppelin and Gene Pitney in a Munich beer hall where Marlene Dietrich is the barmaid.” In other words, their musical roots go everywhere.

Show time is 8 p.m. Tickets are $15, $12 for members.

On Sunday, the Caffe presents the mini-string-band duo“Banjo Dan” Hubbs and fiddler Frank Orsini. Mare Hill opens at 7 p.m. Tickets are $14, $12 for members.

Bua at Old Songs

The roots of the young American (Chicago) combo Bua are in Irish melodic dance tunes. Like the Red Clay Ramblers, these guys play lots of things: Jackie Moran plays bodhran and banjo, Chris Bain plays fiddle, Sean Gavin plays uilleann pipes and flute, Brian O’hAirt plays concertina and whistles and Brian Miller plays guitar and flute. Helping to extend this roots-music thing across the area, they play tonight at Old Songs (37 S. Main St., Voorheesville).

Show time is 8 p.m. Tickets are $20, $5 for fans 12 and under. Phone 765-2815 or visit www.oldsongs.org.

Double Davis

Acoustic bluesman Guy Davis plays Club Helsinki (284 Main St., Great Barrington, Mass.) tonight, then the Eighth Step on Saturday. The son of actors Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, Davis plays the blues for drama without losing its earthy conviction.

Tonight at 9, he’s the whole show at Club Helsinki, but he shares the Eighth Step stage on Saturday with local musicians Kim & Reggie Harris, who open at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $22 for tonight’s Club Helsinki show. Phone (413) 528-3394 or visit www.clubhelsinkiweb.com.

Tickets are $26 for his show on Saturday at the Eighth Step, where he was a smash last year. Kim & Reggie Harris seem perfect openers, adding their freedom songs and folk love songs to his new and old blues. Phone 434-1703 or 346-6204, or visit www.eighthstep.org or www.proctors.org.

Roots rock

The Doc Marshalls and Yarn — both based in New York City but playing music rooted elsewhere — play on Saturday at Red Square (388 Broadway, Albany).

Nick Beaudoing takes advantage of being a Texas-raised Cajun, leading the Doc Marshalls in bayou two-steps and dusty-plains swing.

Former Schenectadians Blake Christiana and Trevor Macarthur front Yarn, an Americana-flavored offshoot of their electric jam band Blake and the Family Dog.

Show time is 9 p.m. Tickets are $10. Phone 465-0444.

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