No wonder Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt have sold out their concert at The Egg (Empire State Plaza, Albany) on Saturday: They were the strongest performers in the wonderful Songwriters Tour in 2006 at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall. Everybody was good, at least, singing in round-robin “guitar-pull” fashion, then together.
In the songs and singing, it was pretty much a toss-up. Fellow Texans Joe Ely and Guy Clark took everyone on dusty, high-plains epics; one rocking and one wry, respectively. Lovett, like Clark, worked the folk end of country, and brought some blues in his pickup. Hiatt rocked, poignantly and with wit.
Both Lovett and Hiatt also brought major extras to the stage: Lovett was an engaging, warm and witty host, and Hiatt played the hottest guitar solos. No wonder they sold out — they deserved to.
UNDERWOOD AND TURNER
Will Carrie Underwood bring her new Grammy Award to the Times Union Center on Tuesday? Last Sunday’s win for Best Female Country Vocal Performance for “Before He Cheats” (also Best Country Song winner for writers Josh Kear and Chris Tompkins) follows her wins last year as Best New Artist as well as for Best Female Country Vocal Performance.
Winning on “American Idol” is the peak for some artists, but Underwood’s fourth-season win was a launching pad. She’s sold 11 million albums, won fistfuls of awards and even been tabloid-linked to several stars.
In addition to two albums full of hits, she sang classic pop, rock and country songs on her “American Idol” rock ride — so she won’t run out of tunes on Tuesday at the Times Union Center (51 S. Pearl St., Albany).
wJosh Turner opens, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $55, $45 and $35, available at the box office and at select Price Chopper outlets, by phone at 1-800-30-EVENT and online at www.timesunioncenter-albany.com.
Next Thursday, Matchbox Twenty takes over the Times Union Center, working their surprise comeback hard and apparently having fun. Singer Rob Thomas has rejoined his bandmates Paul Doucette, Kyle Cook and Brian Yale, though Adam Gaynor left while the band was on hiatus as Thomas launched his Grammy-winning solo career.
When they regrouped to finish a planned greatest hits album and surprised themselves by collaborating on new songs to create “Exile on Mainstream,” they were also reborn as a performing outfit, with guest multi-instrumentalist Matt Beck and drummer Ryan MacMillan (of the Push Stars) fleshing out the sound.
To their credit, Matchbox Twenty always brings terrific opening acts; this time it’s Alanis Morissette and Mute Math. Last time Morissette played here, she opened for the Rolling Stones — and she held her own. Show time is 7 p.m. Tickets are $74.50, $54.50 and $34.50.
The 2nd Annual Valentine’s Soul Jam brings four top singing groups to the Palace Theatre (19 Clinton Ave. at S. Pearl St., Albany) at 8 tonight.
Anyone who’s watched any of the doo-wop or soul-oldies shows on PBS knows that veteran vocal groups can generally still sing and enthusiastically sell their classic tunes. Tonight, the line up is the Stylistics (“Betcha By Golly Wow,” “You Make Me Feel Brand New”), Harold Melvin’s Blue Notes (“If You Don’t Know Me By Now,” “Bad Luck [Part 1]”), the Emotions (“The Best of My Love,” “Boogie Wonderland”), and the Delfonics (“La-La [Means I Love You],” “Didn’t I [Blow Your Mind This Time]”).
Singers come and go in these long-lived groups, but they are strong on continuity and vocal quality. For example, the Blue Notes had their biggest hits when Teddy Pendergrass sang lead and leader Harold Melvin is now deceased, but the current lineup has sung together since 1990. Tickets are $42.50, $37.50 and $32.50. Phone 465-4663 or visit www.palacealbany.com.
The Dance Flurry offers plenty to make your feet happy this weekend, with more than 700 performers in seven major venues. The Flurry is also a feast for listeners. The stages will be full of local acts and visitors from out of town, notably the Louisiana imports Jesse Lege (at WAMC last week) and Willis Prudhomme and the great young Celtic combo from Montreal Genticorum.
For the first time in its 21 years, now there’s a CD of music from the Flurry — 14 mostly old-timey performances from last year’s Flurry. “Sounds of the Flurry!” may get your toes to tapping, but it’s a guaranteed treat for the ears. Visit www.danceflurry.org for more information, or see today’s cover story for Wendy Liberatore’s preview.