On Saturday, Manhattan Transfer sings at Skidmore’s Zankel Music Center (815 N. Broadway, Saratoga Springs), launching a new series sponsored by Stewart’s and the Dake family. With 30 albums and a mantel-ful of Grammys since 1971, the jazz vocal quartet is the brainchild of the late, great Tim Hauser, who was born in Troy and once said, “This is the classiest toilet we’ve ever played” onstage at J.B. Scotts. After Hauser died (2014),
Trist Curless from m-pact replaced him, joining Alan Paul, Cheryl Bentyne and Janis Siegel. 8 p.m. $55, $45. 580-5321 www.skidmore.edu/zankel
Dwight Yoakam sang alt-country before anyone knew what to call it. Sad as country, exuberant as rock, it was anything but ambivalent because Yoakam invested himself as completely in its meaning as in its twangy/tough sound. Kentucky-born, Ohio-raised, he made his mark in L.A. as musician — selling more than 25 million albums, winning two Grammys — and actor on large and small screens, including two roles opposite Billy Bob Thornton. Yoakam has covered tunes by Queen, Elvis Presley, the Clash, the Grateful Dead, Buck Owens and others, but also writes about as well as anybody armed with an acoustic guitar and big baritone.
His latest — “Swimmin’ Pools, Movie Stars … ” puts bluegrass and Bakersfield honky-tonk country into a blender and serves it in a tall glass with salt on the rim and a cold beer chaser. A few weeks back, he played Carnegie Hall in a big-stars tribute to Jimmy Webb; in early 2002, he played our then-Pepsi Arena. 8:30 p.m. $99.50, $74.50, $59.50. 473-1845 www.theegg.org
Slaid Cleaves sings Saturday at WAMC’s The Linda (339 Central Ave., Albany). After rocking in Maine bands, he busked in Ireland, then moved to Austin as a solo singer-songwriter who sometimes plays with a band. He started releasing cassettes in 1990, makes CDs now; “Still Fighting the War” hit in 2013, so he likely has fresh tunes. 8 p.m. $22. 465-5233 ext. 4 www.wamcarts.org
OK, guitars now.
David Bromberg, our most entertaining virtuoso, brings his quintet to the Cohoes Music Hall (58 Remsen St.) on Friday. Bromberg plays every style from Rev. Gary Davis folk-blues fingerpicking to Skip James slide. His band follows like a trailer behind a big diesel: Mark Cosgrove, guitar and mandolin; Josh Kanusky, drums; Butch Amiot, bass; and Nate Grower, violin.
A frequent headliner and valued guest star hereabouts, Bromberg released “The Blues, the Whole Blues and Nothing But the Blues” last year; he plays the blues and everything else. 8 p.m. $52, $47, $42. 465-4663 www.palacealbany.org
This will drive guitar fans crazy: Also Friday, six-string master Adrian Belew brings his Power Trio to The Egg (Empire State Plaza, Albany). Since Frank Zappa, a tremendous player himself, discovered Belew “making good Stratocaster noises” in an Ohio bar, Belew has made good noises with the Talking Heads, David Bowie, King Crimson and his own bands. This trio is Eric Slick, drums; and Julie (his sister) Slick, bass. Saul Zonana opens. 8 p.m. $35. 473-1845 www.theegg.org
Now, voices AND guitars: Midwestern heartland rockers the BoDeans play The Egg on Saturday.
From Waukesha, Wisconsin, they formed, like so many bands, around a two-man singer-songwriter team (Beatles, Stones, etc., etc. and around the block). Co-founder Sammy Llanas left in 2011, but co-founder singer/guitarist Kurt Neumann still holds the reins, with Eric Holden, bass; Sam Hawksley, guitar; Stefano Intelisano and Bukka Allen, keyboards and accordion; and Kenny Aronoff or David Sierra, drums.
Rolling Stone readers voted them Best New American Band in 1987, same year the mockumentary “Jethrine and Da Rickshaw Riders” spoofed them. Last year, they released “Thirteen,” their 13th album, with a rootsy sound as rocking and personal as their 1986 debut — a milestone Specher Brewery in Milwaukee marked by issuing BoDeans Original Ginger Brew. 8 p.m. $29.50. 473-1845 www.theegg.org
Reach Gazette Columnist Michael Hochanadel at [email protected].