In early 1998, The Mavericks opened for (bigger star, lesser talent) Tim McGraw at the Pepsi Arena and stole the show. They broke up in 2004 after six albums, a Grammy, 14 hits — “What a Crying Shame” was the biggest — and big-time tours. They reformed last year for “In Time” and hit the road, playing The Egg (Empire State Plaza, Albany) tonight.
One of few country acts that swings as much as it rocks, The Mavs are a great band fronted by a tremendous singer: Cuban-born Raul Malo, who made fine solo albums during their hiatus. 7:30 p.m. $58, $38. 473-1845 www.theegg.org
Ray LaMontagne has stayed hot since his fifth album, “Supernova” (produced by Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach), hit the charts hard: No. 1 on Spotify out of the box and Entertainment Weekly’s Must list. New Englander LaMontagne returns to the Palace Theatre (19 Clinton Ave. at N. Pearl St., Albany) on Sunday; the Belle Brigade opens. 7:30 p.m. $59.50, $49.50, $35. 800-745-3000 www.palacealbany.com
Troubadours Lucy Kaplansky and Richard Shindell team up on Friday at The Egg without Dar Williams, their sometime bandmate in Cry Cry Cry, which toured for years and recorded an album of covers the year The Mavs last played here.
Subtract Dar Williams from that trio and add Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams for this twin-bill; they call it the Pine Hill Project. Campbell toured with Bob Dylan for years, then led Levon Helm’s bands, expertly playing anything with strings and bringing in wife Teresa Williams, who sings as well as Campbell plays.
Former psychologist Kaplansky writes with great emotional precision and economy; Shindell sings in a great voice, portraying the characters in his story songs. 8 p.m. $28.
Another new-ish folk crew sings on Saturday at Old Songs (37 S. Main St., Voorheesville): Brother Sun, comprising the harmonizing troubadours Greg Greenway, Pat Wictor and Joe Jencks. Like Kaplansky and Shindell, they’re headline-level talents, singing together in friendship, fun and a fresh sound. 8 p.m. $23, children $5. 765-2815 www.oldsongs.org
The Battlefield Band plays Scottish traditional music on Sunday at the Eighth Step at Proctors GE Theatre (432 State St., Schenectady). Formed in 1969, the quartet features all replacement members as of 2010, when Alan Reid, the last remaining founder, departed.
Like their long-tenured Irish counterparts the Chieftains, the Battlefield Band plays with consistent sound and spirit, on bagpipes, stringed things, bass, bodhran and whistles. They sounded great on “Prairie Home Companion” last weekend. 7:30 p.m. $26 advance, $30 on Sunday, front and center $40. 434-1703 www.8thstep.org
Long and Mars
British-born, New York-based Bobby Long plays here often, at festivals, opening and headlining; he returns to WAMC’s The Linda (339 Central Ave., Albany) on Friday.
Long impresses as writer and singer, with increasingly Americana-oriented songs and nearly as much voice as Shindell. Long just crowd-funded his new (ninth) album. Our own hypnotic Maryleigh Roohan opens. 8 p.m. $17. 465-5233 ext. 4 www.wamcarts.org
Mississippi-born Charlie Mars takes over at The Linda on Saturday, armed with fresh tunes from “The Money,” his seventh release since 1997. Mars’ tunes glide on drones and grooves that evoke the blues — he’s entitled as a deep southerner — but they always serve the words. He sings in a breathy, soft, low-pressure voice that lets the words carry the song. Carson McHone opens. 8 p.m. $18.
Bria Skonberg plays the last show of the season at A Place for Jazz on Friday (1221 Wendell Ave., Schenectady). An elegant double-threat, the singer-trumpeter won Downbeat’s 2013 Rising Star and Jazz Journalists Association Up and Coming Star awards.
In addition to her own three solo albums — “Into Our Own” hit this May — Skonberg boasts the kind of sideperson credits only top players earn, including Wycliffe Gordon’s “Hello Pops” tribute to Louis Armstrong. On Friday, Skonberg plays and sings with Evan Arntzen, reeds; Dalton Ridenhour, piano; Sean Cronin, bass; and Darrian Douglas, drums. $15. 393-4011 www.aplaceforjazz.org
In a comeback even longer in the making than The Mavericks’, the New Eden Jazz Quartet reunites on Friday at the Seed of Abraham Church (436 Franklin St., Schenectady).
They went on hiatus in 2002 when reed player Rich Lamanna developed dystonia, switching from sax to electronic wind instrument (EWI) to silence. Lamanna has recovered his sax-playing chops and teams up once again with pianist Dan Dobek, bassist Paul Othon and drummer Chris Garabedian.
Among them, these mostly Berklee-trained players have 10 CDs or more of material, so they won’t lack for tunes, including Dobek’s solo compositions, bebop, fusion, R&B and swing. (See Jeff Wilkin’s interview with Dobek on Page D6.)
New Eden performs at 7:30 p.m. donations welcome. 355-5759
Try to imagine two players less alike than cool, reserved, barefooted pianist George Winston and trombonist-singer Glen David Andrews who can sweat through his suit in about two songs and sometimes dives into the audience.
Winston plays his “Winter Show” including Vince Guaraldi “Peanuts” tunes, Harlem stride romps and funky New Orleans numbers on Sunday at The Egg. Winston’s 13 albums include those flavors plus seasonal favorites and impressionistic nature portrayals and albums that benefit Gulf Coast relief. 7:30 p.m. $29.50
Andrews brings his funky, fiery band to the Parish Public House (388 Broadway, Albany) on Tuesday — probably the fiercest New Orleans sounds heard here since his cousin Trombone Shorty left town. $15. 465-0444 www.parishpublichouse.com
Reach Gazette Columnist Michael Hochanadel at [email protected]