Packed lineup creates entertainment dilemma

It’s even worse than my recent double-vision rant: Three dynamite divas (violinist Regina Carter and
Violinist Regina Carter performed at Troy Savings Bank Music Hall Thursday, Oct. 15, 2015.
Violinist Regina Carter performed at Troy Savings Bank Music Hall Thursday, Oct. 15, 2015.

It’s even worse than my recent double-vision rant: Three dynamite divas (violinist Regina Carter and singers Maria Muldaur and Kat Edmonson) tonight; three fascinating singer-songwriters (Kinky Friedman, Craig Finn and Loreena McKennitt) on Friday; and two Latin jazz bands (Arturo O’Farrell’s and Manuel Valera’s) also Friday.


Carter dug deep into Appalachian and Cajun roots on her “Southern Comfort” album; the MacArthur Fellow brings that music tonight at 7:30 p.m. to the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall (30 Second St.). The band on the album consists of guitarists Adam Rogers and Marvin Sewell, bassists Chris Lightcap and Jesse Murphy, accordionist Will Holshouser and drummer/arranger Alvester Garnett, Carter’s husband. $29. 273-0038,

Last heard here with the Jim Kweskin Jug Band reunion, Muldaur returns with her own Red Hot Bluesiana Band (Craig Caffall, guitar; Chris Burns, keyboards and bass; and Dave Tucker, drums) to Caffe Lena (47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs) tonight at 7 p.m. with the “swamp-pop” she loves. Decades ago, Muldaur proved she can sing anything she wants to — jazz great Benny Carter even said so — but she is especially strong on bayou blues and roadhouse rock. $22 advance, $25 door, $12.50 children and students. 583-0022,

Young Texan Edmonson hits The Egg tonight with her third album, “The Big Picture,” topping both Billboard’s Heatseeker and Contemporary Jazz charts. Steeped in the Great American Songbook, Edmonson sounds totally convincing, reaching back for tunes with many miles on them before she was born. Milton opens at 7:30 p.m. $28. 473-1845,


Kinky Friedman ran for governor of Texas on the slogan “Why the hell not?” — so why the hell not see him at WAMC’s The Linda on Friday? Not so fast: singer-songwriter choices on Friday also include Craig Finn at The Hollow and Loreena McKennitt at The Egg (Empire State Plaza, Albany). Wait, it gets easier: McKennitt is sold out.

Friedman just released his first album in almost 40 years, produced by Brian Molnar, who opens on Friday. “The Loneliest Man I Ever Met” joins Friedman classics “Get Your Biscuits in the Oven (and Your Buns in the Bed)” and “They Ain’t Makin’ Jews Like Jesus Anymore.” He calls himself governor of the heart of Texas, but he really rules its funnybone. 8 p.m. $28. 465-5233 ext. 4,

Finn also sings here on Friday, at the Hollow (79 N. Pearl St., Albany) at 9 p.m. When he opened for Jason Isbell at The Egg on May 22, I reported that he “served a serious change of pace from the jump-up-and-down joys of his frontman role in the Hold Steady; performing mostly slow songs solo with sparse guitar.”

Finn’s latest, his second solo album, “Faith in the Future,” features songs scaled down from the expansive rock the Hold Steady puts on his tunes. $15 advance, $18 door. 426-8550,


Pianist Arturo O’Farrill leads his septet Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the College of Saint Rose Massry Center (1002 Western Ave., Albany) while pianist Manuel Valera and his New Cuban Express Quintet also play Friday at 7:30 p.m., at A Place for Jazz (Unitarian Universalist Society of Schenectady, 1221 Wendell Ave.).

O’Farrill is the son of Chico, and the father of trumpeter Adam and drummer Zak, who play in his new Boss Level septet band — a scaled-down, family-intensive distillation of his Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra. O’Farrill has won Grammys for two Orchestra albums: “Song for Chico” (2009) and “The Offense of the Drum” (2014). 7:30 p.m. $25, students and grads $15. 337-4871,

Valera and his New Cuban Express Quintet earned a Grammy nomination for their self-named 2013 debut album, which features Yosvany Terry, saxophone; John Benitez, bass; Tom Guarna, guitar; Eric Doob, drums; and Mauricio Herrera, percussion. 7:30 p.m. $15, students $7. 393-4011,

Williams, Cassity on tap

Troubadour Jack Williams performs on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Eighth Step at Proctors Underground (432 State St., Schenectady). On a dozen albums since 1982 (“Four Good Days” is the latest), or onstage at festivals coast to coast, Williams has impressed with songs, singing and — especially! — guitar playing. $24 advance, $26 door, $30 front and center. 434-1703 or 346-6204, or

Juilliard-trained, highly touted young jazz saxophonist Sharel Cassity plays the Van Dyck (237 Union St., Schenectady) on Saturday. A valued sideperson and leader of her own band, Cassity played with local hero/drummer Michael Benedict on “Circulation: The Music of Gary McFarland” a Downbeat Magazine Editors Pick in July. At the Van Dyck, Cassity plays with Benedict, pianist Rob Lindquist and bassist Mike Lawrence. 8 p.m. $15. 348-7999,


Got some stuff wrong. Longtime reader Steve T. tells me the J. Geils Band played the TU Center on Dec. 2, 2014, not the Palace; opening for Bob Seger and playing 30 minutes longer than the July 1975 SPAC show which ended in a riot. Muddy Waters was a no-show at SPAC.

Reach Gazette columnist Michael Hochanadel at [email protected]

Categories: Entertainment

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