The Jayhawks who play The Egg tonight are the same crew who opened for Matchbox 20 at the RPI Fieldhouse in 1996: Gary Louris, guitar and vocals; Karen Grotberg, keyboards; Mark Perlman, bass; Kraig Johnson, guitar and Tim O’Reagan, drums.
Led by Louris after co-founder Marc Olson left in 1995 (plus other changes), this lineup made my favorite Jayhawks albums: “Sound of Lies” (1997), “Smile” (2000) and “Rainy Day Music” (2003). After renewing their musical partnership, Louris and Olson led the Jayhawks on “Mockingbird Time” in 2011 before Olson left again.
They’re complicated; with departures, marriages and divorces, side projects (including a Louris-Olson duo show at The Egg), rehab and reconciliations. Louris’ Jayhawks make more pop-flavored music than when the earthier Olson is aboard. With reissues of those three poppy Olson-less albums recently released, these (Olson-less) Jayhawks are playing those songs for the first time in decades.
Wisconsin roots-rockers Trapper Schoepp open. 7:30 p.m. $34.50. 473-1845 www.theegg.com
Appropriately named Renaissance is even more ever-changing yet durable than the Jayhawks. Led by singer Annie Haslam, Renaissance plays The Egg on Friday, doing songs from their new album “Symphony of Light” plus classics dating back decades.
Formed in 1969 by Yardbirds survivors Keith Relf and Jim McCarthy to play a folk-classical style, Renaissance recruited members of the Nashville Teens after the original lineup split. Players came and went (32 ex-members), Haslam becoming singer and symbol. Her airy voice remains the band’s signature: Long-tenured guitarist Michael Dunford died in 2012. 8 p.m. $38
The Egg just keeps rocking, with the Johnny Winter Remembrance Concert on Saturday. Winter died in July at 70; this show features his last touring band plus guest guitarists. Winter’s band is guitarist Paul Nelson, bassist Scott Spray, drummer Tommy Curiale and singer Jay Stollman; plus guitarists Sonny Landreth, Ronnie Baker Brooks and Debbie Davies.
Before they play, there will be a showing of “Johnny Winter: Down & Dirty,” Greg Olliver’s film on the late Texas bluesman. 7 p.m. $29.50
On Wednesday, The Egg presents Lyle Lovett with his Acoustic Group, a subset of his Large Band. Playing acoustic instruments, it features some of the usual killers: drummer Russ Kunkel, bassist Victor Krauss (brother of Alison), fiddler Luke Bulla and guitar and mandolin player Keith Sewell. Inspired by fellow Texan singer-songwriters Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt, Lovett boasts one of the most consistently excellent collections of original songs anybody has ever taken on the road. 7:30 p.m. $64 $58
Any Bruce plays in the Boss’s shadow, even Bruce Hornsby, with hits in four decades. On Saturday, this Bruce plays at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall (30 Second St., Troy) working solo, without his pop group the Range, the Grateful Dead, his Noisemakers, his band with bluegrass/country star Ricky Skaggs or his jazz trio with Jack DeJohnette and Christian McBride.
Clearly, Hornsby is pretty versatile, all by himself — and dependably good. 8 p.m. $55, $42, $35, $30 — includes his new two-CD set “Solo Recordings.” 273-0038 www.troymusichall.org
Bassist, singer and songwriter Jack Bruce died last week, dashing hopes for another Cream reunion, but leaving behind other, numerous and varied musical memories.
On Dec. 6, 1980, Jack Bruce and Friends played J.B. Scott’s in downtown Albany, near today’s The Low Beat and Pauly’s Hotel. It was tremendous deluxe: Bruce singing and playing great, with drummer Billy Cobham, keyboardist David Sancious (a veteran of The Boss’s E Street Band) and guitarist Clem Clempson.
Fans focus too much on the Clapton-is-God and Ginger-Baker-is-crazy aspects of Cream, but Bruce held those guys together through forceful musical energy and intelligence. In an encore of their J.B. Scott’s show, they played Saturday Night Live weeks later, showing the world there was more to Bruce than Cream.
In addition to such seminal rock bands as Cream and Manfred Mann, Bruce played in numerous jazz groups, including the hugely influential fusion band Tony Williams Lifetime.
When Bruce joined Manfred Mann, the story goes, he didn’t rehearse at all but played perfect versions of their songs immediately because the chord progressions were obvious to him. Bruce’s greatness was obvious to everyone who heard him, in whatever band. Hearing him play an Albany rock and roll bar was almost too thrilling to stand.
My first-ever review was of Jethro Tull at Albany’s Palace Theater (19 Clinton Ave. at N. Pearl St.) in November 1972: Tull’s leader, writer, flute player and singer Ian Anderson returns there on Sunday with a new young crew in “The Best of Jethro Tull Performed by Ian Anderson.”
That title opens the door wide to tunes dating back to bluesy late-1960s albums “Benefit” and “Stand Up,” plus the ambitious 1970s epics “Aqualung” and “Thick as a Brick;” and new tunes from “Homo Erraticus,” a fractured history in song. Their Grammy for heavy metal album years back seems questionable, but Anderson’s innovations in rock flute playing and theatrics are unassailable. 7:30 p.m. $103, $68, $58, $48. 800-745-3000 www.palacealbany.com
The five singers of Rockapella don’t need instruments; they ARE instruments, producing a remarkable array of sounds including percussion. On Saturday at Proctors (432 State St., Schenectady), they’ll play/sing their latest album “Motown & More,” which pays tribute to 1960s soul. 8 p.m. $40, $20. 346-6204 www.proctors.org
Reach Gazette Columnist Michael Hochanadel at [email protected]