Guitars and more guitars — everywhere.
The best known of them couldn’t be less alike: the wry deftness, depth and detours of Richard Thompson (playing on Saturday at The Egg) and the flash and dazzle, the face-melting fireworks of Joe Satriani and Steve Morse (playing on Wednesday at the Palace).
First, let’s look at two performers whose guitars are incidental to the songs.
Josh Ritter and Sam Amidon open the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall (30 Second St., Troy) season tonight in an 8 o’clock showcase of solo troubadours. Since playing here with full band, Ritter has been hailed as one of “The 10 Most Exciting Artists Now” (Entertainment Weekly) and one of “The 100 Best Living Songwriters” (Paste), and he’s released “The Beast in Its Tracks,” tackling divorce and, as he says, “spite, remorse or happiness.” First known as a fiddler, Amidon has grown into a multi-instrumentalist/troubadour. Tickets are $29, $26 and $20; students get a $3 discount. Phone 273-0038 or visit www.troymusichall.org.
Another multi-instrumentalist, Gurf Morlix, plays Troy’s Ale House (680 River St., Troy) tonight, showcasing his own voice and songs after producing recordings for fellow Americana luminaries Ray Wylie Hubbard, Lucinda Williams and many others and after breakout shows (2010 and 2011) at Valentine’s. Morlix is packing new songs, from “Gurf Morlix Finds the Present Tense.” Show time is 8 p.m. Admission is $10. Phone 272-9740 or visit www.alehousetroy.com.
Still at the Ale House, Los Straitjackets play there at 8 p.m. Sunday. Starring big-star/homeboy Eddie Angel, Los Straitjackets are the most outrageous guitar-powered crew playing here all week. You’ll have to guess which guitarist is Angel behind leather Mexican wrestling masks, and you’ll have to guess what decade this is as their retro-future surf-rock riff waves wash over you. The Outta Sites open. Admission is $20.
Jumping back into calendar order, the Waterboys play The Egg tonight at 8, just months after a knockout show at WAMC’s The Linda in March. This time it’s a full six-piece band focused on founder Mike Scott, who, of course, plays guitar. They have new songs, from “An Appointment With Mr. Yeats.” Tickets are $49.50, $39.50 and $29.50. Phone 473-1845 or visit www.theegg.org.
The soulful voices of the Holmes Brothers, playing on Friday at the Van Dyck (237 Union St., Schenectady), get most of the attention in this long-running Gospel and R&B trio. But Wendell Holmes’ guitar, chiming like Pops Staples’ or Curtis Mayfield’s, carries much of the band’s unique feel.
Playing the cozy Van Dyck on Friday, they’ll be just a few blocks from where they headlined the Takin’ It to the Streets Festival on State Street in October 1991. They have a new album, “Feed My Soul.” their 10th since 1990. The Holmes Brothers play two shows on Friday, at 7 and 9:30 p.m. Admission is $18 in advance, $22 on Friday. Phone 348-7999 or visit www.vandycklounge.com.
Rolling Stone ranks (underrates) Richard Thompson at No. 69 on its 100 Best Guitarists list, and he returns to The Egg on Saturday as a great local favorite after numerous terrific shows here. Thompson turned to Nashville’s Buddy Miller to produce his “Electric” album, and though Miller is a guitarist himself — check his strange axes next time he hits town with Emmylou Harris, Robert Plant or Jim Lauderdale — the album treads a perfect tightrope with neither singing nor playing taking over the show. Thompson’s son Teddy opens the 8 p.m. show. Tickets are $39.50.
The next night at The Egg, Steve Hackett brings his guitar and the songs he played with Genesis from 1971 to 1977 to the stage in his Genesis Revisited tour. Hackett has dedicated himself to re-creating the punchy prog-rock of the band’s classic lineup; that is, before Peter Gabriel left and Phil Collins stepped out from behind the drums to take over the mic. Hackett has released two album-length Genesis echoes, but this is his first tour through here in years. The Steve Hackett Genesis Revisited Tour touches down at The Egg on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $38.
Joe Satriani and Steve Morse don’t make Rolling Stone’s 100 Best Guitarists list, but they bring their well-matched hyperactive playing to the Palace Theater (19 Clinton Ave., Albany) on Wednesday. While Morse first played here with southern fusion rockers the Dixie Dregs in the 1980s then played with Kansas and Deep Purple, he has more recently emulated Satriani in leading his own band. Satriani’s speed and power shine on “Unstoppable Momentum,” his 14th release. Show time is 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $78, $58, $38. Phone 800-745-3000 or visit www.palacealbany.com.
Like Steve Hackett with Genesis, Richard Barone starred in a revered and now vanished band, and like Hackett, he’s coming back, playing Valentines (17 New Scotland Ave., Albany) on Saturday.
Barone wrote most of the smart-pop songs the Hoboken combo the Bongos played up and down the East Coast, then around the world. The first band ever to play Hoboken’s fabled (and now also defunct) Maxwell’s, though under another name, the Bongos split up in 1987 leaving an unfinished album behind. Barone soon launched a solo career with “cool blue halo,” but “Phantom Train” remained on the shelf.
Now, Barone is on tour again, playing music from the Bongos catalog and his own, and toting brand new copies of the group’s seventh album, “Phantom Train,” a buried treasure.
Tim Livingston and Nick Bisanz of the Last Conspirators — hot with a new album themselves, “A Celebration of Fury” and a LarkFEST blitz — open the 7 p.m. show, then accompany Barone. Admission is $10. Phone 432-6572 or visit www.valentinesalbany.com.
The Sanctuary for Independent Media opens its new season with the Don Byron Gospel Quintet, and Nawal, playing Storyfest 2013, a free festival on Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m. in Freedom Square (101st Street where Fifth and Sixth avenues join).
A frequent visitor, clarinetist/composer Byron has lately been fusing gospel with jazz and blues. Nawal is also a fusion artist, from the Comoros Islands in the Indian Ocean, and she sings Sufi spiritual music in Shikomor, the language of her homeland. Storyfest 2013 includes a free community potluck and barbecue. The rain location is the Sanctuary for Independent Media (3361 Sixth Ave.,Troy).
Reach Gazette columnist Michael Hochanadel at email@example.com.