Veteran artists playing here this week echo Woodstock.
Let’s start with Arlo Guthrie. He played the Woodstock festival on Aug. 15, 1969, the day I turned 23. He returns to the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall (30 Second St., Troy) tonight, and will probably sing some of those same six songs he did at Woodstock; better and deeper, too.
He tells tales, tall and otherwise, from a life of singing and travel and writing. Last week he blogged: “When I was young I wrote in stone. Through middle age I wrote on paper and now I enjoy writing on water. That’s all that’s really changed. One day I will write upon the wind . . .” $42, $36, $32, $25. 7:30 p.m. 273-0038 www.troymusichall.org
Also tonight, guitarist Happy Traum, a long-time Woodstock resident, teams up with jug-band pioneer Jim Kweskin at Caffe Lena (47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs), where Arlo did or didn’t sing “Alice’s Restaurant” for the first time.
Mentored by blues masters, Traum has worked with Bob Dylan, members of The Band and many more, while Kweskin was instrumental (pun noted) in playing pop and jazz tunes, old-timey-guitar style.
Last year, Kweskin headed a reunion of the influential jug band that bore his name in the 1960s including both Maria and Geoff Muldaur. 7 p.m. $22 advance; $24 door. 583-0022 www.caffelena.org
On Friday, ex-members of The Band add Woodstock friends and neighbors, teaming up as The Weight, to play the music of The Band at the Massry Center at the College of Saint Rose (1002 Madison Ave., Albany).
Guitarist Jim Weider (who replaced Robbie Robertson when The Band reunited years after The Last Waltz) and drummer Randy Ciarlante both played in the last (1990s) version of The Band. They recruited keyboard player Brian Mitchell and bassist Byron Isaacs, both from the Levon Helm Band, plus Marty Grebb, keyboardist and saxophone player with the Fabulous Rhinestones and session and touring player with Bonnie Raitt, Rosanne Cash, Rick Danko and Richard Manuel of The Band.
Weider, Ciarlante, Mitchell, Isaacs, and Grebb are The Weight.
Troy born troubadour Sean Rowe of the vast voice and super songs opens the 7:30 p.m. show. Rowe has been playing house concerts, singing fine fresh tunes from “Madman,” his superb new third album. $25, students $15. 337-4871 www.massrycenter.org
Gov’t Mule are honorary Woodstock-ers: They host Mountain Jam not far away at Hunter Mountain. They return to the Palace Theatre (19 Clinton Ave. at N. Pearl St., Albany) on Friday on their “20 Years Strong” Tour.
In 1994, guitarist Warren Haynes and bassist Allen Woody formed a power trio with drummer Matt Abst during a hiatus from the Allman Brothers. Friday’s Palace show comes just weeks after Haynes played on the last-ever Allmans shows at the Beacon in New York.
Gov’t Mule is Haynes and Abst with keyboardist Danny Louis and bassist Jorgen Carlsson. 8 p.m. $45, $40, $35. 800-745-3000 www.palacealbany.com
The Dark Star Orchestra echoes Grateful Dead shows and the Dead played Woodstock, so that counts, right? Major Deadheads may manage to identify which Dead show the DSO is jamming on Saturday at the Palace; but everybody should have a fine time dancing the Funky-Orang-Utan, the Propeller-On-Fire, the Rolling-Can-Of-Soup or the Happy-Whatever. 7:30 p.m. $33.50
Miller at Proctors
The Steve Miller Band didn’t play Woodstock, but they did play the Monterey Pop Festival two years earlier in 1967. Five months after playing SPAC with Journey and Tower of Power, the Steve Miller Band returns to play Proctors Main Stage (432 State St., Schenectady) at 8 p.m. on Sunday.
Miller’s many hits — 40 million albums sold — may overshadow his skills as blues-inspired guitarist and bandleader who always brings a top crew, these days featuring keyboardist Joe Wooten of the Wooten Brothers. 8 p.m. $100, $70, $60, $45, $20. 346-6204 www.proctors.org
Neighbors the Low Beat (335 Central Ave., Albany) and Pauly’s Hotel (337 Central Ave.) team up again in a Homelessness and Hunger Outreach benefit show on Friday.
Bring $10 and a can of food to either bar and see area bands in both, including Beaked Whale, Secret Release, the Blitz, the Grassroots Rebels, the Mysteios and others. 7 p.m. www.thelowbeat.com, www.paulyshotel.com
Folk trio The Stray Birds bring new songs from their “Best Medicine” album (their third) to Caffe Lena next Wednesday. They shot the video for the title track in Schenectady, mostly on Jay Street, featuring the Re-Collector used record store and proprietor Kurt. www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYApe_KN7qw.
Formed in Pennsylvania Dutch country two albums and many tours ago, the Stray Birds are singer-multi-instrumentalist Maya de Vitry, stringed-things player Oliver Craven and bassist-banjoist Charles Muench. Australian singer-songwriter Jordie Lane opens the 7 p.m. show $16 advance; $18 door, children & students $9
Former local rock singer-songwriter Stephen Clair (who led Glaze here) returns on Saturday to play a twin bill with still-local Bryan Thomas at Steamer No. 10 Theatre (500 Western Ave., Albany).
Like Sean Rowe, these guys boast national-caliber talent. Now based in Beacon, Clair founded and leads the Beacon Music Factory; he’ll bring the Millionaires to Albany: drummer Todd Giudice and bassist Christopher Peifer. Thomas usually plays solo, but in his videos he magically becomes a band. $13 advance, $15 door. 438-5503 www.steamer10theatre.org
Chris Smither usually plays solo here, too; but he brings his band the Motivators to Club Helsinki on Friday: drummer Billy Conway (Treat Her Right, and Morphine), multi-instrumentalist David Goodrich (Groovasaurus) and harmonica player Jimmy Fitting. Milton opens. 9 p.m. $30. 828-4800 www.helsinkihudson.com
Vacationer (singer-bassist Kenny Vasoli with Grant Wheeler and Matthew Young from Body Language) play The Hollow (79 N. Pearl St., Albany) with St. Lucia (Jean-Philip Grobler) on Saturday. Show time 9 p.m., doors at 8. $10.27 advance, door $12. 426-8550 www.thehollowalbany.com
A Place For Jazz finished last Friday with Bria Skonberg, but two other top jazzwomen play this week.
Powerhouse pianist Hiromi brings her trio project (bassist Anthony Jackson and drummer Steve Smith) to The Egg at 8 p.m. on Friday. She’s played sensational gigs here at the Van Dyck and Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival. $39.50. 473-1845 www.theegg.org
Pianist-composer Myra Melford duets with clarinetist Ben Goldberg on Sunday at the Sanctuary for Independent Media (3361 6th Ave., Troy). Guggenheim fellow Melford plays with many bands, but this duo may be her purest expression. 7 p.m. $15. 272-2390 www.MediaSanctuary.org
Reach Gazette Columnist Michael Hochanadel at [email protected]