Jukebox: Blues, non-blues at Egg this weekend

Chicagoans blow in to pay tribute to Stones
Guitarist Ronnie Baker Brooks has been among the shifting band of musicians in the group Chicago Plays the Stones.
Guitarist Ronnie Baker Brooks has been among the shifting band of musicians in the group Chicago Plays the Stones.

Categories: Entertainment

Last week was loud with the blues. This week adds specifically non-blues guitar heroics.

The Rolling Stones started when Mick Jagger saw Keith Richards toting a Muddy Waters album on a London train. When they visited Chess Records, the shrine of the Chicago blues that inspired them, they found Waters painting the ceiling.

The Stones reached back to that weathered, old-school blues authenticity on their “Blue & Lonesome” album (2016), and Chicagoans return the favor Friday at The Egg (Empire State Plaza, Albany) in Chicago Plays the Stones.

First they made a roaring, spirited album. In fact, Mick and Keith joined in on “Chicago Plays the Stones,” a 12-tune romp through just about every great straight-blues number the Stones ever made. Then they hit the road with a shifting band that at The Egg on Friday will likely feature Ronnie Baker Brooks, Jimmy Burns and Bob Margolin, guitars; Johnny Iguana, piano; Vincent Bucher, Billy Branch and Omar Coleman, harmonicas; Felton Crews, bass; and Kenny “Beedy-Eyes” Smith, drums. 8 p.m. $29.50. 518-473-1845 www.theegg

While almost every rock guitarist based his style on the blues, Richard Thompson generated unlikely innovative guitar power from British folk. Almost no one plays like him. After years of mostly solo shows, Thompson returns to The Egg on Saturday with an electric trio: Michael Jerome, drums; Taras Prodaniuk, bass.

Last week in Washington, D.C., ex-Schenectadian friend Matt Bradley saw Thompson and band. “Introducing ‘Meet On The Ledge,’ before he named the song, he introduced it as something released in 1968 and got cheers,” Matt emailed me, reporting that Thompson asked the crowd: “You were listening in 1968?” He then joked, “Don’t die!” about this fan base shrinking. Thompson also played new songs from “13 Rivers,” mourning a breakup and celebrating a new relationship (and move to New Jersey, reported the New Yorker). The Sisters of Slide open: Hudson Valley blues- and country-style slide guitar giants Rory Block (Chatham) and Cindy Cashdollar (Woodstock). 8 p.m. $55, $45


Opening for singer-songwriter David Wilcox Saturday at WAMC’s The Linda (339 Central Ave., Albany), Lonesome Val and the Lonesome Units are the big news for fans of our ’80s heroes. This time, Lonesome Val Hayes will sing songs from her New York City solo years, with Units/Fear of Strangers pals Todd Nelson, guitar; Steve Cohen, bass; and Al Kash, drums. Her solo albums “Lonesome Val” and “NYC” won Musician Magazine’s Best Unsigned Band contest and plaudits from Elvis Costello, Mark Knopfler and others; expect Units/FoS faves, too.

Headliner Wilcox brings new songs from his 21st album “The View from the Edge,” funded by fans whose loyalty persuaded him to break a four-year silence. “I had kind of given up on making records,” he said recently, noting he makes his living onstage, but fans spurred his songwriting. 8 p.m. $25 advance, $30 door. 518-465-5233 www.wamcarts.org


As ongoing ballot recounts cast a troubling light on election integrity, Old Songs (37 S. Main St., Voorheesville) hasn’t forgotten that women didn’t get the vote until 1920. On Saturday, “Forward Into Light” collects suffragist songs in a rousing two-act all-star revue assembled by Andy Spence and featuring women singer songwriters Toby Stover, Terry Leonino, Peggy Lynn and Annie Rosen; plus menfolk Dan Duggan, George Wilson and Greg Artzner in moral and musical support. Subtitled “The American Women’s Suffrage Movement in New York State in Song & Story,” the show tells a stirring tale of struggle and progress. 7:30 p.m. adults $25, $12 for ages 13–18; $5 for 12 and under. 518-765-2815 www.oldsongs.org


Three songs in on election night at the Van Dyck, leader Keith Pray took an alto solo WAY outside, giving everybody permission to stretch. Tenor player Brian Patneaude glanced at Pray’s fireworks, arched an eyebrow and then HE went way outside, too. Then so did everybody in Pray’s 17-piece Big Soul Ensemble on a news-tense night when we needed spirited sounds.

Opening with “Walkin’ The Dog,” they simmered quietly, then did the “trumpet ambush” — two-notes at full-blast. Folks not expecting this about jumped out of their chairs, including the dozen or so Siena students of my friend John Michael Caldaro’s Physics of Music course. Billy Strayhorn’s “Upper Manhattan Medical Group” soothed with a cozy piano trio interlude until muted trombones conjured a spooky metallic haze. In “Elements,” Yuko Kishimoto’s interesting changes launched Pray, Patneaude and other soloists, while “West Hill Shout” jumped big, an all-in, spirited boogaloo strut. Kishimoto’s “Caricia” went lyrical and Latin, with muted trumpets. In a medley, “The Journey” lay down smooth, syncopated swing; then “In Search of the Yeti” explored a relaxed bossa at first with a bass/drums launch, then a tuba solo and tuba/piano trio dialogue and outside piano coda. “Reunion” was off-kilter bebop, with Steve Lambert’s best trumpet break of the show and hot Travis Malone trombone. Patneaude’s tenor solo faced down that bracing challenge Pray often builds into his arrangements: he cues in a whole section, so the soloist must sink or swim. Patneaude surfed. “Goin’ Home” honored recently deceased saxophonist Big Joe Vellano, ending the first set.

In 100-plus Troy Savings Bank Music Hall shows since the ’70s, I never felt the floor shake as the Wood Brothers rocked it Thursday. Defying expectations their guitar-bass-percussion blues format might predict, the trio built subtle, strong, soulful music in waves that thrilled the sold-out audience. “Not as Strange as it Seems” opened to lift us gently; Jano Rix brought his drums into the mix for the first time next in “Two Places.” Thereafter they played at two levels: bluesy conviction and bold experimentation whose sheer smarts and drive dazzled and soothed.

Bearded and long-haired as a Mormon prophet, Oliver Wood dedicated the stirring new “River Takes the Town” to hurricane victims, flowing from quiet mournfulness to soaring renewal optimism. Rix’s drums went all Levon in “Blue and Green,” and they echoed The Band even more closely in their own “Luckiest Man” and cover of “Ophelia” at encore time. Oliver warned “Watch out, clappers!” early in the rhythmically tricky “One More Day,” but the beat went even more outside in “Big Boss Man,” one of few straight blues, as Chris Wood swapped his acoustic bass for a Hofner electric (you know, the Paul McCartney bass) and later played it with a slide in the bluesy waiting-on-a-train yearner “Where My Baby Might Be.” This followed a steaming romp through Tom Petty’s “You Wreck Me,” rockingest tune all night, and that totally wrecked any lingering decorum in the place.

Nicole Atkins’ big voice didn’t need so much reverb wrapped around it early in an opening set that improved as the sound clarified. Usually band-backed, she played solo in “country versions of my songs,” well-crafted tunes rendered abstract in their late verses by a resonant wordless croon. Missing the high notes in her own “A Little Crazy” somehow freed her to pack “Brokedown Luck” with more emotion than she’d shone before, and she finished strong with Roy Orbison’s epic “Crying.” She joined the Wood Brothers in a sweet “Angel Band,” sounding both strong and, yeah, angelic.


Caffe Lena (47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs) rocks more than usual this weekend as Beaucoup Blue (dad David Mowry, son Adrian Mowry) plays blues Thursday (7 p.m. $16 advance, $18 door, $9 students and children), big-guitar-and-pompadour rockabilly hero Mark Gamsjager brings his Lustre Kings in on Saturday (8 p.m. $20, $22, $11), and the Travelin’ McCourys (sons of Del Ronnie McCoury, mandolin, and Rob McCoury, banjo, with Jason Carter, fiddle; and Alan Bartram, bass) rev the bluegrass Sunday, driving at times into Grateful Dead territory (3 AND 7 p.m. $40, $45, $35).

For global/stylistic balance, the Caffe presents the Stelios Petrakis Quartet Friday. Making Mediterranean world music from Crete on acoustic instruments plucked, bowed and whistled, they cast a compelling, exotic spell. (8 p.m. $22, $25, $12.50). 518-583-0022 www.caffelena.org


One-man rock band Hamell on Trial continues his monthlong residency at the Low Beat (335 Central Ave., Albany) Wednesday. A powerhouse, a megaphone, a profound jokester and humor-rich philosopher, Hamell makes music beyond unique. 7 p.m. $10. 518-432-6572 www.thelowbeat.com


The Dark Star Orchestra, a Grateful Dead tribute band of rigorous but rollicking fidelity, recreates a particular Albany Dead show Saturday at the Palace Theatre (19 Clinton Ave. at North Pearl Street, Albany). 8 p.m. $35 advance, $38.50 Saturday. 800-745-3000 www.palacealbany.org

Local funksters Beau Sasser’s Escape Plan pay tribute to the late, great Aretha Franklin tonight at Parish Public House (338 Broadway, Albany). 9 p.m. $10. 518-465-0444 www.parishpublichouse.com

“The Voice” contestant/local hero Mariah Formica sings at Cohoes Music Hall (58 Remsen St.) Friday. Opener TBA. 7:30 p.m. $10. 518-953-0630 www.thecohoesmusichall.org


Latin jazz trumpeter Ray Vega guests with area jazz all-stars Bopitude Saturday at the Van Dyck (237 Union St., Schenectady).

Led by drummer Michael Benedict, Bopitude features Brian Patneaude, tenor sax; Keith Pray, alto sax; David Gleason, piano; and Mike Lawrence, bass.

Patneaude and Gleason play in Pray’s Big Soul Ensemble, while Lawrence plays in Gleason’s Art D’Echo Trio.
South Bronx native Vega boasts rich and varied experience in Latin jazz and salsa bands in New York and elsewhere, including bands of Tito Puente, Ray Barretto, Mongo Sanataria and Mario Bauza. As a leader, Vega’s live and recorded output also spans bebop, orchestral-scale jazz, modal jazz in the Miles Davis/Gil Evans tradition and classical styles. He is also a respected music educator with numerous university residencies and workshops, and performances in Albany Public Schools and at SUNY Schenectady County Community College. 8 p.m. $20. 518- 348-7999 www.vandycklounge.com


Continuing after the recent death of founder-keyboardist and lead singer Joe Miller, area country-rock stalwarts Overture have regrouped to play Miller’s original songs and classic country-rock covers Saturday at Jupiter Hall (Lucky Strike Social, 12 Crossgates Mall Road, Guilderland). For 35 years. Miller led brothers Glenn, bass, and Roy, drums, plus guitarist Julian Porter, opening for Marshall Tucker Band, the Outlaws and playing area TV shows and telethons. The two surviving Miller brothers have resolved to continue playing their late brother’s tunes, adding singer Chris Lindor and guitarist Tom Gruett. Joe Miller’s perfectionist reluctance to record focuses his band’s legacy on the stage. 9 p.m. $10.  518-556-3350 www.jupiterhallalbany.com


Thursday, alt-tat-jazz-etc. trio the Ballroom Thieves play the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall (30 Second St.) in a presentation by the Massry Center at The College of Saint Rose. Making rousing songs spanning polite chamber folk to crashing rock, the Ballroom Thieves are “Callie” Peters, cello; Martin Earley, guitar; and Devin Mauch, percussion. They all sing. So does opener Odetta Hartman. 8 p.m. $25. 518-273-0038 www.troymusichall.org

Art Garfunkel needs no introduction: Stream “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and you get it. Garfunkel sings Friday at the Hall (30 Second St.) in a (long!) career retrospective he calls “In Close Up.” Easing out from behind Paul Simon’s sizable shadow, Garfunkel has quietly written and sung an impressive body of solo work. His ninth solo album, “Everything Waits To be Noticed” (2002) with Buddy Mondlock and Maia Sharp, is one of the best albums of the 2000s. 8 p.m. $68.50, $58.50, $48.50, $38.50

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