New York Music Daily

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Tag: country music

Trans-Global Entertainment With Accordion and Guitar in Downtown Brooklyn

Erica Mancini is an eclectically talented accordionist with a background equally informed by jazz, tango, cumbia and Americana, to name a few styles. She sings in a high, crystalline jazz voice and is a master of passing tones on the keys. Smokey Hormel was Johnny Cash’s last lead guitarist, but also has a thing for Brazilian music and jazz. The two make a good team. Playing a duo set at the little pedestrian mall where Willoughby meets Pearl Street in downtown Brooklyn on Tuesday afternoon, they treated a sunstruck lunchtime crowd to a major portion of the innumerable (some would say unlimited) styles suited to their two instruments.

Mancini sang the opening number, a torchy Brazilian tune, in Portuguese. Later on, she spun counterintuitive cascades through a couple of rustic Colombian coastal cumbia instrumentals.

Hormel was especially at home, both voicewise and fingerpicking his vintage National Steel model, on a couple of Hank Williams songs and a jaunty, bittersweet duet with Mancini on the old Lefty Frizzell country hit Cigarettes and Coffee Blues. But he also had fun with an English translation of what he called a Brazilian cowboy tune.

Mancini invited up a friend to sing fetching Carter Family-style harmonies on I’ll Fly Away and then an extended, playful version of Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen. Mancini’s version of another klezmer favorite, Comes Love, was just as wryly cheery. The two didn’t do any Romany swing, or tango, or Mexican banda music, but this was just the first set. It’s anybody’s guess how many other cultures they dipped their voices into in the next hour.

The next lunchtime show on the little plaza is Aug 17 at noon with acoustic fingerstyle delta blues guitarist Noe Socha. Mancini’s next gig is tomorrow night, Aug 13 at 8 PM at Sunny’s in Red Hook, her usual home base these days. Hormel is also at Sunny’s on Aug 18 at 8 with his western swing band.

Ariana Hellerman, the onetime publisher of Ariana’s List, a fantastic guide to live music and summer festivals, runs the series here. In addition to advocating for live music, she also has a passion for dance and is especially proud of the dance series she’s booking further down the Fulton Mall at Albee Square, a series of performances featuring styles from around the world that continues into the fall.

Smartly Lyrical, Guitar-Fueled Americana Sophistication on Jack Grace’s New Album

Jack Grace was one of the inventors of what came to be known as urban country back in the early zeros. He’s a New York legend. Everybody said that he should have been the guy who starred across from Reese Witherspoon in Walk the Line instead of Joaquin Phoenix: he definitely has the Johnny Cash voice.

Grace shared bills with Jerry Lee Lewis and Dale Watson and every remaining Grand Old Opry star who ever played here over the last twenty years. He booked the old Rodeo Bar on Third Avenue, keeping the flame of oldschool C&W alive until gentrification killed it in 2014: the space sat vacant for years afterward.

Grace also has a fantastic, characteristically diverse new album, What a Way to Spend a Night: rescued from a UK studio archive and streaming at Spotify. The band is the core of Grace’s prime supporting cast from the late zeros/early teens, with J. Walter Hawkes on trombone, Bill Malchow on his usual piano and organ plus viola and accordion, with Chris Lucca on trumpet and a British rhythm section of Fabian Bonner on bass and Ian Griffith on drums.

Much as a boisterous sense of humor pervades Grace’s work, his songs are deceptively sophisticated. Grace plays all the guitars here, building layers of jangle and twang in the opening ballad, Broken Melody, a surreal and poignant 60s-style countrypolitan tune with Malchow on organ and the horns wafting morosely in the background.

The Monster Song has a bluesy, carnivalesque, Waits-ish minor-key sway. It’s about keeping the demons at bay, sort of the reverse image of another popular Grace tune, Losing’s a More Comfortable Home.

Don’t Wanna Work Today, a big, defiant crowd-pleaser gets a tight, lean rock treatment here, with the droll Tex-Mex touches muted in favor of a tantalizingly careening guitar solo. You’d Be Disappointed (If I Didn’t Disappoint You) is Grace at his sardonically amusing best: much as it’s a parody of loungey crooner jazz, he nails the style, right down to the guitar parts.

Grace’s fondness for latin grooves comes to the forefront in Here Comes the Breeze, a brooding bossa-tinged escape anthem. Mr. Sanderson and Sons Amazing Secret Traveling Show, a subtly funny steampunk spoof, features Malchow’s rarely recorded viola and accordion work.

I’m a Burglar, which could be a metaphorically loaded cheating song or just a smalltime crook’s tale, has a hushed nocturnal pulse anchored by Malchow’s torrential organ. The most retro song here is the choogling, Chuck Berry-inspired stomp Nobody Brought Me Nothing,

The hardest-rocking numbers are Bearded Man, a slinky, strange psychedelic vamp that might date back to Grace’s early days fronting his cult favorite jamband Steak, and Smokehouse Discrepancy, a searing mashup of surf rock and Booker T. instrumental soul that’s arguably the album’s best song.

The final cut is Chinatown – an original, not the Move classic – a picturesque shout-out to the New York neighborhood where “ghosts and spices permeate the air,” and which until 2020 was the place that you might be sitting next to Woody Allen at a basement-level dumpling place on Mott Street in the wee hours. What a beautiful time and place that was, one we need to get back sooner than later.

Grace’s next New York gig is Aug 16 at 9 PM at Skinny Dennis – as of a couple of days ago the bar had no restrictions.

Live Music Calendar for New York City and Brooklyn for August and September 2021

***IMPORTANT*** – this calendar was compiled before Bill DiBozo’s’ vile and unconstitutional medical “passport” spyware requirement for admission to indoor concerts, bars and dining was announced. A random sample around town indicates that some businesses are allowing themselves to be weaponized against us, and that some aren’t. America’s Frontline Doctors have brought a civil rights lawsuit against the Mayor’s office, so between that and general noncompliance, the restrictions may not last long. In the meantime, if you’re thinking about going to something that’s happening on August 16 or later, don’t waste a trip, check with the venue to make sure they’re not using it. For the moment, only shows where there are definitely no restrictions are being listed here.

If you go out a lot, you might want to bookmark this page and check back regularly.

If you’re leaving your hood, don’t get stuck waiting for a train that never comes, make sure you check the MTA delays and out-of-service page for cancellations and malfunctions, considering how unreliable the subway has become.

If you don’t recognize a venue where a particular act is playing, check with the artist, or check the rigorously updated list of over 200 New York City music venues at New York Music Daily’s sister blog Lucid Culture.

This is not a list of every show in town – it’s a carefully handpicked selection. If this calendar seems short on praise for bands and artists, it’s because every act here is recommended if you like their particular kind of music.

Showtimes listed here are set times, not the time doors open – if a listing says something like “9ish,” that means it’ll probably start later than advertised.

If you see a typo or an extra comma or something like that, remember that while you were out seeing that great free concert that you discovered here, somebody was up late after a long day of work editing and adding listings to this calendar ;)

8/1, 5 PM Los Cumpleanos – with Nestor Gomez – vox/percussion; Lautaro Burgos – drums; Eric Lane – keyboards; Alex Asher – trombone and others playing trippy, dubwise tropical psychedelia at the Riis Park Beach Bazaar, Bay 9 East at Riis Park in the Rockaways

8/1, 7 PM wild, sizzling guitar-and-brass-fueled Ethiopian jazz jamband Anbessa Orchestra at Pier 1 on the Hudson

8/1, 7 PM the Harlem Gospel Travelers and irrepressible 60s-style blue-eyed soul singer Eli “Paperboy” Reed at Our Wicked Lady, $15

8/1, 9 PM singer Richard Julian and pianist John Chin play Mose Allison songs at Bar Lunatico. Perfect pairing: Julian’s wry sense of humor and Chin’s erudite chops.

8/2-6, half past noon lyrical, dynamic original jazz pianist Victor Lin solo at Bryant Park

8/3, 7 PM fiery electric bluegrass and C&W with Demolition String Band at Shipyard Park, 13th St and McFeeley Drive in Hoboken,

8/3, 7:30 PM the East Coast Chamber Orchestra play works by Mozart, Golijov and others at the Naumburg Bandshell in Central Park

8/3, 8/10 PM postbop jazz supergroup the Cookers – Billy Harper, Cecil McBee, George Cables, Eddie Henderson, and Billy Hart – at the Blue Note, $30 bar seats avail

8/3, 9 PM  otherworldly French-Algerian singer Ourida with her combo at Bar Lunatico

8/4, 6:30, PM guitarist Oren Fader and and pianist/salonniere Yelena Grinberg reprise their sold-out performance of rare duo works by Vivaldi, Beethoven, Hummel, Moscheles, Weber, Boccherini, Munier, Castelnuovo and Piazzolla at Grinberg’s popular monthly upper westside salon, email for deets here., a 3  minute walk from 1/2/3 train at 96th St.

8/4, 7:30/9 PM cult favorite gonzo pianist Dred Scott plays Chick Corea at Mezzrow, $25

8/4, 8ish cinematic noir soul instrumentalists the Ghost Funk Orchestra at Our Wicked Lady, $12

8/4, 9 PM the Jimi Hendrix of the cuatro, Jorge Glem with pianist Cesar Orozco at Bar Lunatico

8/5. 7 PM cutting-edge Indian music collective Brooklyn Raga Massive outdoors at Culture Lab in Long Island City

8/5, 7 PM Veronica Davila’s twangy, Bakersfield-flavored hard honkytonk band Low Roller at Mama Tried, 147 27th St, Bay Ridge, R to 25th St

8/5, 7 PM what’s left of the hi-de-ho Cab Calloway Orchestra at Astoria Park, on the water, take the N to Astoria Blvd.

8/6, 7 PM soaringly explosive jazz composer/torch singer Nicole Zuraitis at 55 Bar

8/6, 11 PM clever, fiery, eclectic ten-piece Balkan/hip-hop/funk brass maniacs Slavic Soul Party at Drom, $20

8/7, 2 PM an amazing improvisational jazz triplebill: baritone sax monster Josh Sinton with Daniel Carter and Sam Newsome, then brilliant, politically fearless visionary/tenor sax improviser Matana Roberts , and also flutist Laura Cocks solo at Oliver Coffee, 5 Oliver St (cor. St. James), Chinatown

8/7, 7 PM dark psychedelic acoustic blues/klezmer/reggae/soca jamband Hazmat Modine at Terra Blues. They’re also here on 7/21

8/7, 9:30 PM latin soul jams with the Brooklyn Boogaloo Blowout at 55 Bar

8/8, 2 PM ish Indian violinist Parthiv Mohan and ensemble play magical carnatic themes in Prospect Park; walk onto Parkside Ave from Machate Circle.”Once you pass Prospect Park Tennis Courts on your right, enter the park to your left. Then walk onto East Drive. From there you will be able to see Prospect Park Lake. Stay really close to the southwest corner of the lake (also its southernmost point). If you walk east along the lake from there, you’ll encounter a big patch of land which juts into the lake. It’s a pretty noticeable clearing” Closest train is the G to Ft Hamilton Pkwy – be aware that there is no F service this weekend

8/8, 7:30/9 PM  intense pianist Gerald Clayton solo at Mezzrow

8/9-13, half past noon lyrical, shapeshifting Brazilian pianist Luiz Simas solo at Bryant Park

8/10-12 Digable Planets at the Blue Note are sold out

8/10, noon torchy cumbia/swing singer and accordionist Erica Mancini  with Americana guitarist and Johnny Cash sideman Smokey Hormel outdoors at the corner of Pearl and Willoughby in downtown Brooklyn

8/11, 7 PM slinky, hypnotic percussive Moroccan trance band Innov Gnawa on the steps at the Grand Army Plaza branch of the Brooklyn Public Library

8/12, 8 anthemic speedmetal band Cold Dice, 9 PM the debut of Certain Death (the house band from Pfizer or Moderna maybe?) 10 PM wild fuzzy stoner metal band Grave Bathers followed by the even more macabre Castle Rat at Our Wicked Lady, $12

8/13, 5 PM ageless, jangly, purist NY surf rock originals the Supertoness at the Riis Park Beach Bazaar, Bay 9 East at Riis Park in the Rockaways

8/13, 8 PM   ferociously dynamic, tuneful,female-fronted power trio Castle Black at Culture Lab outdoors, 5-25 46th Ave in Long Island City, down the block toward the water from LIC Bar; 8/28 they’re outdoors at the Greenpoint Terminal Market at 3, Market St. past Kent Ave on the water, G to Nassau Ave

8/14, 4 PM B’Rhythm blend Indian music and classical dance moves at Garfield Place between Prospect Park West and 8th Ave. in Park Slope, music by Bala Skandan, choreography by Brinda Guha and Sonali Skandan and an A-list slate of dancers

8/14, 5 PM day one of a two-night surf rock festival: surfed-up tv themes from Commercial Interruption, the killer, dark Wiped Out at 6:30 and the majestic, darkly cinematic TarantinosNYC at 8 at the Riis Park Beach Bazaar, Bay 9 East at Riis Park in the Rockaways

8/14, 7/9:30 PM popular lyrical postbop trumpeter Jeremy Pelt leads his quartet at Smalls $25

8/14, 9:30 PM  this era’s most consistently interesting jazz pianist, Vijay Iyer at Prospect Park Bandshell. Listen from outside (try around the back) since the arena may still have restrictions

8/15, 3:30 PM not a musical event but a crucial moment on the way to freedom in NYC: march on Gracie Mansion (88th and East End Ave) to protest Bill DiBozo’s Orwellian medical “passport”

8/15, 5 PM closing night of a two-night surf rock festival: kick-ass original third-wavers Tsunami of Sound at 5, the cinematically-inspired Cameramen at 6:30 and Blue Wave Theory at 8 at the Riis Park Beach Bazaar, Bay 9 East at Riis Park in the Rockaways

8/16, 7:30 PM irrepressible wind ensemble Quintet of the Americas play a counterintuitive program of classic film and tv themes from Sanford and Sons to the Hair soundtrack and Woody Allen’s Radio Days at All Saints Episcopal Church, 85-45 96th Street in Woodhaven, J/Z to 104th St.

8/16, 9 PM boisterously funny oldschool 60s C&W and brooding southwestern gothic with the Jack Grace Band at Skinny Dennis

8;17, noon fingerstyle delta blues guitarist Noe Socha at the corner of Pearl and Willoughby in downntown Brooklyn

8/17, 7 PM Dominican jazz guitarist Yasser Tejeda & Pelotre at Gantry Plaza State Park

8/17, 7/8:30 PM  charismatic, adventurous postbop/avant garde trombonist/crooner Frank Lacy‘ at Smalls, $25

8/17-19, 8/10 PM the Bernie Williams Collective at the Blue Note, $25 bar seats avail. Not a vanity project: the greatest centerfielder of his time is a solid latin jazz/funk guitarist.

8/18, 7 PM feminist Guinean songwriter Natu Camara on the steps at the Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza

8/18, 7/8:30 PM eclectic jazz pianist Art Hirahara and his trio at Smalls, $25

8/18, 5 PM the Harlem Quartet at Times Square. Where? Follow the sound, it seems

8/18, 8 PM Stoogoid stoner boogie band Sun Voyager, noisy early 80s style postpunk band Smock and fuzzy acid blues/doom band Grandpa Jack at Our Wicked Lady, $12

8/18-22, 8/10 PM postbop jazz trumpeter and sly crooner Nicholas Payton at the Blue Note, $25 bar seats avail

8/19, 5:30 PM the Bryant Park Accordion Festival kicks off with rustic Colombian cumbia specialist Foncho Castellar, torchy cumbia/swing singer Erica Mancini , hotshot Brazilian forro player Felipe Hostins and more

8/19, 7 PM double threat Camille Thurman – equally dazzling on the mic and the tenor sax – with the Darrell Green Trio, and trombonist Conrad Herwig with his Quintet at Drom, $30

8/19, 7/9:30 PM edgy jazz oudist and bassist Omer Avital and his group where he got his start at Smalls, $25

8/19, 11 PM sardonic and punky Japanese girlband the Hard Nips at Our Wicked Lady, $12

8/20, 7 PM amazingly dynamic drummer  Johnathan Blake and his trio and wildfire Colombian harpist Edmar Castaneda with drummer Ari Hoenig at Drom, $30

8/20, 7 PM Gordon Lockwood (blues guitar monster Jeremiah Lockwood and drummer Ricky Gordon) at Terra Blues

8/20, 7/8:30 PM the Sun Ra Arkestra’s legendary nonagenarian EWI player Marshall Allen and group at Smalls, $25

8/21, 7 PM legendary second-wave Afrobeat band Antibalas at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park, be prepared to hang on the fringes because there may be restrictions

8/21, 7 PM edgy, incisive, terse jazz guitarist Russell Malone and his Quartet at Drom, $20

8/21, 9 PM purposeful, incisive Red Molly dobro player/songstress Abbie Gardner and newgrass band Damn Tall Buildings at Nimbus Studios, 329 Warren St btw Morgan & SteubenJersey City Jersey City, $5, PATH to Grove St.

8/22, 7 PM paradigm-shifting Romany jazz/psychedelic rock guitar mastermind Stephane Wrembel at Drom $30

8/23, 7 PM  sharply surrealistic folk noir/outlaw country band Maynard & the Musties at Cowgirl Seahorse

8/23, 7/8:30 PM erudite pianist Orrin Evans‘ richly tuneful, purist, stampeding Captain Black Big Band at Smalls,$25

8/24, noon,  chanteuse/uke player Dahlia Dumont’s Blue Dahlia playing edgy, smartly lyrically-fueled, jazz-infused tunes in English and French with classic chanson and Caribbean influences  at the corner of Pearl and Willoughby in downtown Brooklyn

8/24, 6 PM the Donald Harrison Quartet with the Harlem Orchestra play Charlie Parker’s Bird with Strings at Marcus Garvey Park, be prepared to hang on the fringes because there may be restrictions

8/24, 7/8;30 PM hard-hitting  postbop saxophonist Mike DiRubbo’s quartet at Smalls, $25

8/25, 8 PM punk/rockabilly band the Screaming Rebel Angels, goth-punks the Wh0res, and fiery, deviously fun oldtimey swing guitarist/crooner Seth Kessel at Our Wicked Lady, $12

8/25, 4 PM not a music event but an important one for people who miss seeing indoor concerts: there will be a huge protest against mandatory lethal injections outside City Hall. The NYC union presence will be in full effect

8/26, 5:30 PM the Bryant Park Accordion Festival continues with klezmer maven Shoko Nagai, Gogol Bordello’s Yury Lemeshev, Argentine tango bandoneonist Tito Castro, charismatic Romany/Balkan chanteuse Eva Salina with pyrotechnic accordionist Peter Stan and others

8/26, 6 PM smart, lyrical, politically-inspired pianist Zaccai Curtis leads a trio at Times Square, Bwy at 43rd St

8/27, 6 PM an oldschool salsa dance party with 70s style charanga Son Del Monte at Alexander Avenue at Bruckner Boulevard in the Bronx

8/28, 5 PM nimble bassist Dawn Drake & Zapote‘play latin-tinged hard funk at the Riis Park Beach Bazaar, Bay 9 East at Riis Park in the Rockaways

8/28, 6 PM jazz violinist Melanie Dyer w/ poet Bonita Penn and bassist Ken Filiano at the Clifton Pl. Community Garden (1031 Bedford Ave), Ft. Greene, G to Bedford-Nostrand

8/28, 8 PM kinetic Cuban jazz pianist Elio Villafranca outdoors at An Beal Bocht Cafe, 445 W. 238th St. in the Bronx, 1 train to 238th St.

8/29, a parade of dancers with music by guitarist/bagpiper David Watson make their way through the Rockaways starting at 1 PM on the sand at Beach 86 St and end at 7 at Beach 110 St, performers include Toni Carlson, Yve Laris Cohen, Maggie Cloud, Marc Crousillat, Brittany Engel-Adams, Moriah Evans, Daria Fain, Lizzie Feidelson, Melanie Greene, Kennis Hawkins, Iréne Hultman, Shayla-Vie Jenkins, Burr Johnson, Niall Jones, Sarah Beth Percival, Jess Pretty, Antonio Ramos, Alex Rodabaugh, Carlo Villanueva, Anh Vo, Kota Yamazaki

8/29, 4 PM drummer Willie Jones III leads an allstar Charlie Parker centennial celebration band with Sarah Hanahan, Godwin Louis, Justin Robinson, Erena Terakubo with Donald Vega on piano and Endea Owens on bass at Marcus Garvey Park

8/29, 5 PM, repeating 9/1 at 6:30 colorful, charismatic pianist/salonniere Yelena Grinberg, violinist Eric Silberger and cellist Madeline Fayette play Haydn’s “Gypsy” piano trio, Mozart’s warmly lyrical Piano Trio in C and Beethoven’s daunting “Ghost” piano trio at Grinberg’s popular monthly upper westside salon, email for deets here., a 3  minute walk from 1/2/3 train at 96th St.

8/30-9/3 half past noon latin jazz pianist Isaac Bin Ayala solo at Bryant Park

9/1, 7:30ish noiserock legends Yo La Tengo at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park

9/2, 7 PM the irrepressible, cinematic, comedic Broken Reed Saxophone Quartet at Open Source Gallery, 306 17th St at 6th Ave. Park Slope, closest train is the R to Prospect Ave

9/3, 5:30 PM the Bryant Park Accordion Festival concludes with a global cast of A-list players TBA

9/3, 7 PM deviously erudite jazz chanteuse Svetlana & the Delancey Five at Culture Lab in Long Island City,

9/9, 7 PM tunefully scruffy pastoral jazz guitarist Tom Csatari leads his noir-tinged Uncivilized band outdoors at the Flying Lobster, 144 Union St off Hicks, just over the BQE, outdoors, F to Smith/9th. On 9/10, tuba player Ben Stapp and the First Eonic Clock Reading with Sam Newsome (soprano sax), Shanyse Strickland (french horn, flute), Noel Brennan (drums) open the night at 8; at 9 Uncivilized record a live album at Record Shop in Red Hook, 360 Van Brunt St., close to the B61 bus stop or just walk from the F train.

9/8, 7 PM the aptly named Firey String Sistas play their edgy chamber jazz at Pier 84, 44th st. and the Hudson just south of the Intrepid

9/11, 5 PM the NY Ska Orchestra at the corner of Ashland and Lafayette in downtown Brooklyn, downhill from BAM

9/11, 5 PM newschool gospel with Mary Mary singer Erica Campbell, the Walls Group, Lena Byrd Miles and Jason McGee and Choir at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park

9/11, 7 PM astringent avant garde ensemble WeFreeStrings and  fiery singer Amirtha Kidambi on the plaza at Lincoln Center, no ticket required

9/12, 4 PM the Overlook String Quartet play music by black composers Eleanor Alberga, Florence Price, and Chevalier de Saint-Georges at the Morris-Jumel Mansion, 65 Jumel Terrace about a block south of 162nd St., Washington Heights, free, A/C to 163rd St.

9/12, 7 PM southern soul songwriter Valerie June at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park

9/13, 4 PM a massive protest against the DiBozo apartheid and massive city firing plan at Foley Square, Centre St. north of Chambers downtown. A huge union presence will be in the house; the Highwire will be covering the event, and host Del Bigtree is scheduled to address the crowd.

9/14, noon iconic latin percussionist Willie Martinez leads his classic salsa/mambo trio at the corner of Pearl and Willoughby in downtown Brooklyn. 9/19 and 9/26, 2 PM he’s playing on President between Columbia and Van Brunt in Red Hook

9/14, 10:30 PM epically ferocious art-rock jamband Planta on the terrace outdoors at Terraza 7, $10

9/16, 6 PM the American Symphony Orchestra String Quartet play rarely heard works by William Grant Still, Carlos Simon, George Walker, Duke Ellington, Gabriela Lena Frank at at Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 3 Greenway Terrace toward the south end of the park

9/17, 7 PM the world premiere of Allison Loggins-Hull’s Diametrically Composed – the great Alicia Hall Moran singing collection of new works for flute, voice and piano exploring the conflicts of motherhood and having an artistic career – at Bryant Park

9/18, 1 PM a major freedom rally to celebrate World Freedom Day at Columbus Circle

9/18-10/3 the LUNGS Festival at various community gardens throughout the LES, a celebration of an oldschool pre-gentrification NYC artistic community spirit, the calendar is a work in progress, lots more to be added

9/18 a bunch of Americana performers at various locations on Pier 6 on the south end of Brooklyn Bridge Park starting at 3 with the guy/girl vocals of Bears of Alaska, at 4 acerbic, intense former Cricket Tell the Weather frontwoman Andrea Asprelli and at 5 anthemic loose cannon Olivia Lloyd. There’s also a “main stage” lineup starting at 3 with the charming oldtimey harmonies of the Queens of Everything, at 4 hotshot violinist Mazz Swift, at 5 protest singer Crys Matthews and Heather Mae, at 6 folk-pop singer Eleanor Buckland and at 6:30 the soaring, all-female Maybelles.

9/18, 4:30 PM bass goddess/soul singer Felice Rosser’s ageless reggae-rock-groove band Faith at El Sol Brilliante Garden, 522 East 12th street btwn B and C. 9/25 at around 4 they’re at Tompkins Square Park and 10/1 at 8 they’re at the LUNGS Festival in the Green Oasis Garden, 368 East 8th street btwn C and D

9/18, 5 PM the NY Ska Orchestra at the corner of Pearl and Willoughby in downtown Brooklyn

9/18, 8 PM legendary second-wave Afrobeat band Antibalas at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park, be prepared to hang on the fringes because of restrictions

9/18, 7:30 PM Trombone Shorty at Prospect Park Bandshell. We might have to listen from outside since the arena may still have restrictions

 9/18, 4 PM an all-afternoon Americana/folk lineup at the Dumbo Archway just west of Water St in Dumbo starting at 4 with colorfully lyrical original front-porch songwriter Melanie Curran, at 5 Britfolk singer Danni Nicholls, at 5:30 PM electric blues songstsress Edan Archer, at 6 nuevo-Orbisonesque crooner Bobby Blue, at 7 the brilliant swing jazz-inclined Samoa Wilson, and Spirit Family Reunion’s fiery Maggie Carson at 9

9/19, free coffee/breakfast snacks at 10:30 AM, show at 11 Sybarite5 cellist Laura Metcalf, guitarist Rupert Boyd, violinists Michelle Ross and Katie Hyun and violist Melissa Reardon play music by Astor Piazzolla, Osvoldo Golijov, Florence Price, Beyoncé and more outdoors in the courtyard at the Cell Theatre, 338 W 23rd St (8th/9th Aves), reservations req. 9/23, 7 PM they’re playing another free outdoor show at the Porch, 147th and St Nicholas Ave

9/19, 3 PM a bunch of Americana performers at various locations on Pier 6 on the south end of Brooklyn Bridge Park starting with energetic New England folk fiddler Emerald Rae, at 4 PM hotshot violinist Mazz Swift, at 5 the spare, atmospheric Treya Lam, the once-ubiquitous and brilliant multi-instrumentalist Joanna Sternberg at 5:30 and then at 6 rising star banjo player Nora Brown

9/19, 5 PM, repeating on 9/22 at 6:30 colorful, charismatic pianist/salonniere Yelena Grinberg, celebrates the Beethoven 250th birthday anniversary with a program of Bagatelles and his Diabelli Variations at her popular monthly upper westside salon, email for deets here., a 3 minute walk from 1/2/3 train at 96th St.

9/19, 7 PM Patti Smith at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park, be prepared to hang on the fringes because of restrictions

9/20-24, half past noon energetic, classically-inspired, colorful jazz pianist Ayako Shirasaki at Bryant Park

9/21, noon trumpeter Wayne Tucker leads his sunny soul-infused jazz quartet on the plaza at the corner of Pearl and Willoughby in downtown Brooklyn

9/23, 6 PM the American Symphony Orchestra String Quartet play an all-Italian baroque program of works by Boccherini, Donizetti and others at Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 3 Greenway Terrace toward the south end of the park

9/23, 6 PM fiery alto saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin & Pursuance at Marcus Garvey Park

9/24, 5 PM brilliant Americana and swing jazz chanteuse Samoa Wilson at Pearl Plaza, Pearl St. and Anchorage Pl. in Dumbo

9/24, 6 PM punk Balkan brass and oldtimey swing: the Rude Mechanicals followed by Baby Soda Band at La Plaza Cultural de Armando Perez (Ave C & 9th St)

9/24, 6 PM sizzling, politically fearless latin jazz pianist/composer Arturo O’Farrill’s Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra on the plaza at 300 Ashland Pl. down the block from BAM

9/25, 3 PM newschool latin soul/boogaloo dance band Spanglish Fly at the block party at 88 S Portland St in Ft Greene, C to Lafayette Ave

9/25, 3 PM first-class improvisation: Steve Wirts and George Garzone on tenor sax, Francisco Mela on drums and others at 11BC Garden 11th St (Aves B & C)

9/25, 4 PM Los Fascinates play oldschool salsa at the 9C Garden (Ave C & 9th St)

9/26, 4 PM downtown jazz guitar icon Elliott Sharp plays a rare outdoor gig at La Plaza Cultural de Armando Perez (Ave C & 9th St)

9/26, 5 PM punkabilly rockers the Screaming Rebel Angels at the Riis Park Beach Bazaar, Bay 9 East at Riis Park in the Rockaways

9/30, 5 PM deviously entertaining hot 20s swing chanteuse Sweet Megg Farrell and band at Albee Square on the Fulton Mall in downntown Brooklyn

9/30, 6 PM the American Symphony Orchestra String Quartet play a wild jazz-oriented program of works by Piazzolla, Lonnie Johnson, Esperanza Spalding and others at Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 3 Greenway Terrace toward the south end of the park

10/1, 7 PM 90s psychedelic noiserock legends Yo La Tengo at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park, be prepared to hang on the fringes because of restrictions

10/3, 1 PM  hard-hitting, brass-fueled newschool latin soul/boogaloo dance band Spanglish Fly at Playground 52,  Kelly St bet. Av St John and Leggett Ave in the Bronx, 6 to Longwood Ave

A Talented Country Band Deliver a Tight Saturday Night Set in Williamsburg

After the hottest Saturday of the summer, it’s raining hard in Manhattan. But the full force of the storm hasn’t reached Williamsburg yet. Inside Skinny Dennis, it’s so packed that it’s impossible to get to the bar.

On one hand, just getting to be part of any crowd at all after the sadistic divide-and-conquer of the past sixteen months should be reason to celebrate. Instead, it feels weird. Going from being the youngest person in the audience at Lincoln Center in the early spring of 2020. to being just about the oldest person at Skinny Dennis on a Saturday night a little more than a year later, is sobering. Especially if you’re the only sober person in the joint.

OK, maybe not the only sober person. The bartenders don’t seem liquored up, and Pierre Jelenc – who publishes the Gigometer, a resource this blog has relied on for years to find Americana artists and singer-songwriters playing out-of-the-way spaces – is in the house. His presence speaks well for the band. But maybe he’s here because the small room at the Rockwood, his old home base, doesn’t have music anymore.

Low Roller are onstage, and they’re talented. And tight: they obviously spent the lockdown refining their chops. Singers Veronica Davila and Ron Muga each play Telecasters for double the clang and twang of your usual honkytonk band. Their pedal steel player, hidden out of view past the drums, is excellent, choosing spots for washes of sound or high lonesome harmonies. Drummer Daryl Cozzi swings hard and bassist Derek Weaving plays a Hofner with a pick, at one point moving down the scale through an agilely flatpicked bluegrass solo in an unexpectedly low register.

They’re playing covers, taking turns on lead vocals; the whole band seems to be singing harmonies. Considering how much energy and inspired riffage they’re giving the material, it would be cool to hear them play their own songs. But Skinny Dennis is known as a cover bar, and nobody seems to mind. This could be a college crowd in the white part of Atlanta – or maybe in fact it is that exact same college crowd, except that they all live here now.

The band indulge them in not one but two John Prine tunes, the second one an impressively low-key, seething take of Paradise, his environmentalist broadside about the Kentucky coal industry. The sound is surprisingly good, although it would be great to hear more of Davila’s soulful voice in the mix. Muga slings off a handful of slinky solos down to his low E string, almost as if he’s playing a baritone guitar. The rhythm section bubbles, the steel simmers overhead and the crowd are hell-bent on getting their drink on.

Such is the hottest ticket among all possible performances that a music blog can cover in New York on this particular Saturday night in July of 2021. Low Roller are at Mama Tried, 147 27th St. in Bay Ridge on Aug 5 at 7 PM; take the R to 25th St.

Familiar, Heartwarming Faces in Friendly New Places

Music in New York is in a really weird place right now. We’re in the midst of the biggest market correction this city has ever seen. Part of that, the abrupt destruction of so many independent venues and the complete annihilation of what was left of the rock scene, is tragic.

But part of this market correction is long overdue.

As this blog predicted as far back as the mid-teens, we’re seeing a quiet explosion of community-based, artist-run spaces, most of them quasi-legal or even less so. That’s where audiences went during the lockdown. The corporate model they replaced is dead in the water. Seriously: does anyone think that the Mercury Lounge, with its apartheid door policy where proof of taking one of the deadly needles is required to get in, is going to survive the year?

In the meantime, the surviving off-the-beaten-path places are thriving. If you work or live in the Financial District, you might know Cowgirl Seahorse. It’s a friendly taco-and-beer joint at the far edge of the South Street Seaport at the corner of where Front Street meets the extension of Peck Slip. Since reopening, they’ve expanded their original Monday night Americana series to sometimes twice a week, and who knows how far they could take that.

It was heartwarming to the extreme to catch honkytonk band the Bourbon Express there over the Fourth of July weekend. With their signature guy/girl vocals and Bakersfield-style twang, they were prime movers in the scene at the original Hank’s before that place finally bit the dust at the end of 2018. This latest version of the band is just a trio, husband-and-wife team Brendan and Katie Curley on guitars along with their bassist holding down the groove.

Brendan is a twangmeister, and so is Katie, but on vocals rather than guitar since she plays acoustic (when she’s not playing the concert harp on their albums). The resulting blend of voices is one of the most distinctive sounds in country: imagine Waylon Jennings duetting with Amy Allison. This set was mostly covers, which was unusual for them, but it showed their roots.

The best number of the night was Jukebox in My Heart, Katie’s fond tribute to the joys of vintage vinyl. A brief, no-nonsense version of Vern Gosdin’s Set ‘Em Up Joe was a perfect example of how deep these two dig for their inspiration.

Brendan ran his Telecaster through a flange for period-perfect 70s ambience in a countrified take of Danny O’Keefe’s 1969 pillhead lament Goodtime Charlie’s Got the Blues. Katie sometimes sings with a vibrato you could drive a semi-truck through, so it was almost funny that she held back on that during her take of Freddy Fender’s Until the Next Teardrop Falls. They made their way soulfully from the 50s through the 70s with songs by Buck Owens and Emmylou Harris, along with a robust version of Soulful Shade of Blue by Buffy Sainte-Marie and a totally Nashville gothic Jolene. With the easygoing crew behind the bar, shockingly good sound and a steady stream of delivery orders moving out the front door, it was almost as if this was 2014 and this was the old Lakeside Lounge.

Then the next weekend Serena Jost played a solo show at the Five Myles gallery in Bed-Stuy. In almost twenty years, it’s been a hotspot for adventurous jazz, hip-hop and dance as well as art that reflects the neighborhood’s gritty past a lot more than its recent whitewashing. Jost fits in perfectly. Most cello rockers don’t play solo shows, but cello rock is unconventional by definition and so is Jost. Throughout a tantalizingly brief show singing to the crowd gathered out front on the street, she aired out her lustrous, soaring voice, an instrument that’s just as much at home singing Bach cantatas as it is with her own enigmatic, enticingly detailed, riff-driven songs.

In recent years, the onetime founding member of Rasputina has found a much more minimalist focus, perfect for playing solo (she switched to acoustic guitar for a couple of numbers). Still, it was the most epic, ornate material that was the most breathtaking, most notably a subtly undulating, singalong take of the big, triumphant anthem Great Conclusions and an aptly majestic, absolutely gothic, sometimes stygian new song inspired by the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Jost spent the lockdown by writing up a storm of new material, something we’ll hopefully get to see more of, most likely at spaces like this one.

The Bourbon Express Bring a Honkytonk Party to Lower Manhattan This Weekend

This may be the weirdest and scariest year in the history of live music, but not everything that’s happening is weird and scary. And some of those weird happenings are actually reason for a lot of optimism. For example, what’s the likelihood that a fantastic hard honkytonk band – with a singer whose original axe is the concert harp – would be playing a cozy taco-and-beer joint at the northern edge of the South Street Seaport over the 4th of July weekend?

No joke – the Bourbon Express are making a return to the stage at the friendly, laid-back Cowgirl Seahorse at 259 Front St. this July 5 at 7 PM. There’s no cover, although tips for the band are always welcome.

The last time this blog was in the house at one of their shows, it was in the spring of 2018 at the old Hank’s, where they were playing the album release show for their most recent one Cry About It Later. What a fun evening that was – what’s better than a hot night with a cold pint in one hand and a pretty girl snuggled up next to you while a good country band is cooking onstage? It’s the kind of memory we used to take for granted – and maybe we need to remind ourselves that moments like that need to be more than just memories.

That the Bourbon Express kept the crowd on their feet after a sizzling, twang-rich set by the jangly, psychedelic Girls on Grass speaks volumes. Lead guitarist Brendan Curley is a master of twang himself, and fired off one incisive, tantalizingly short solo after another on his Telecaster. Meanwhile, frontwoman Katie Curley showed off her own chops on acoustic guitar in front of the band, singing with more power and edge than ever. And her songs were really funny.

The best one of the night was Five to Nine, an exasperated and spot-on gig economy-era narrative told from the point of view of a girl whose entitled boss seems to think he can pester her about work at nine at night after she’s been on the clock all day. This was two years before the lockdown, but Curley totally nailed the kind of dynamic you get when authority figures who don’t have the balls to confront you in person are at the other end of the Zoom connection.

Other songs were funny for different reasons. Curley celebrated the joys of daydrinking and cooking with a glass of wine in hand in Dilly Dally, and the oldschool, retro 50s flavored Blame It on the Hangover. The rhythm section swung hard and the crowd kept drinking: Hank’s was in Brooklyn, and the bandleader is from Seattle originally, so the band don’t exactly channel a deep south vibe. Instead, Curley’s aphoristic lyrics and soaring voice were closer to something coming out of Bakersfield around 1965. Considering how many bands have been scattered across the country, and the world, by the lockdown, it’s awfully cool to see this group still together and playing.

Live Music Calendar for New York City and Brooklyn for July and August 2021

Sure feels good to get this calendar back to a monthly schedule again! Who knew we’d ever be able to, without going to war. This is a work in progress, and errs on the side of freedom, as far as restrictions are concerned.

Every venue listed here has been vetted to the best of this blog’s ability, but this is a weird time. All of these shows appear to be unrestricted, but if in doubt, trust your intuition. Clubs that were laid-back and friendly in March of 2020 are still probably laid-back, and friendly, and life is probably back to normal there. If a venue was problematic before the lockdown, you can bet that if it’s still in business, it’s really problematic now.

If you go out a lot, you might want to bookmark this page and check back regularly. Rock shows are really lagging behind jazz and classical as far as getting back up and running again. Hopefully that will change. Additional shows will be added through the summer as they’re announced.

If you’re leaving your hood, don’t get stuck waiting for a train that never comes, make sure you check the MTA delays and out-of-service page for service cancellations and malfunctions, considering how unreliable the subway has become.

If you don’t recognize a venue where a particular act is playing, check with the artist, or check the recently updated list of over 200 New York City music venues at New York Music Daily’s sister blog Lucid Culture.

This is not a list of every show in town – it’s a carefully handpicked selection. If this calendar seems short on praise for bands and artists, it’s because every act here is recommended if you like their particular kind of music.

Showtimes listed here are set times, not the time doors open – if a listing says something like “9ish,” that means it’ll probably start later than advertised.

If you see a typo or an extra comma or something like that, remember that while you were out seeing that great free concert that you discovered here, somebody was up late after a long day of work editing and adding listings to this calendar ;)

Mondays starting at 9 PM sharp, Rev. Vince Anderson and his band play two sets at Union Pool. The Rev. is one of the great keyboardists around, equally thrilling on organ or electric piano, an expert at Billy Preston style funk, honkytonk, gospel and blues. He writes very funny, very politically award, sexy original songs and is one of the most charismatic, intense live performers of our time. It’s a crazy dance party. Paula Henderson from Burnt Sugar is the usual lead soloist on baritone sax, with frequent special guests. Sizzling guitarist Binky Griptite – Sharon Jones’ lead player – is also often there.

Fridays in July, 8ish torchy cumbia/swing singer and accordionist Erica Mancini at Sunny’s

7/1, 7:30 PM intense, rapturous Balkan/Middle Eastern ensemble the Secret Trio –Tamer Pinarbasi, Ismail Lumanovski & Ara Dinkjian – at Drom, $20. They’re back on 7/27 at 9:30.. After this show, at 9 moody, tuneful string-driven Americana and chamber pop with DM & the Expats play ($15 separate adm)

7/2, 7 PM Gordon Lockwood (blues guitar monster Jeremiah Lockwood and drummer Ricky Gordon) at Terra Blues. They’re back here on 7/9

7 /3, 7:30/9:30 PM cleverly lyrical, darkly klezmer-tinged pianist Uri Caine with Mark Helias on bass and Ben Perowsky on drums at Mezzrow, $25

7/5, 7 PM wryly retro, period-perfect classic 60s style female-fronted honkytonk band the Bourbon Express at Cowgirl Seahorse.. 7/10, 8 PM ish they’re at Schnitzel House, 7319 5th Ave in Bay Ridge, R to 77th St.

7/5, 9 PM the Binky Griptite Orchestra (formerly Sharon Jones’ brilliant oldschool soul backing band) at Bar Lunatico

7/6, 7/8:30 PM postbop trumpeter Josh Evans leads a quintet at Smalls, $25

7/6, 7:30 PM chamber orchestra A Far Cry play works by Grieg, Part, Jessie Montgomery and others at the Naumburg Bandshell in Central Park

7/6, 8ish harmony-driven all-female Americana band the Maybelles at Sunny’s

7/6, 8 PM legendary, risque, politically spot-on calypso icon the Mighty Sparrow at Damrosch Park. Maybe listen from across the street because there may be restrictions.

7/6, 8:30 PM tuneful original delta blues and acoustic Americana from guitarist Jon LaDeau at Pete’s

7/6, 9 PM badass honkytonk/Americana songwriter Olivia Ellen Lloyd and band at Skinny Dennis

7/6, 9 PM Trio Catarina with hotshot Brazilian accordionist Felipe Hostins at Bar Lunatico

7/7, 6 PM new string quartet the Overlook with guest Tanya Birl-Torres play music by black composers: Leila Adu, Shelley Washington and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor at the Hispanic Society of America, 613 W 155th St. west of Broadway, 1 train to 157th St., free

7/7, 9 PM dark blues/folk noir/oldschool soul songwriter Kelley Swindall at Skinny Dennis

7/7, 6 PM horn player Cort Roberts leads an ensemble playing new classical repertoire tba at Madison Square Park. He’s back on 8/11

7/7, 8 PM ish edgy alto sax player Kate Mohanty plays her bday show followed by uneasy female-fronted psychedelic abstract rock band Gold Dime at Our Wicked Lady, $12

7/7, 7:30 PM the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center with Shai Wosner, piano; Chad Hoopes, violin; Kristin Lee, violin; Tien-Hsin Cindy Wu, viola; David Requiro, cello; Xavier Foley, bass play works by Beethoven and Dvořák at Damrosch Park. Maybe listen from across the street because there may be restrictions.

7/8, 6 PM soaringly explosive jazz composer/torch singer Nicole Zuraitis at 55 Bar

7/8, 8 PM painter Jim Watt completes his “1000 Watts” series of 1000 ink washes in the monochromatic Japanese Sumi style while an allstar jazz trio – trumpeter Antoine Drye, guitar icon Bill Frisell & drummer Kyle Benford – improvise behind him at Collab, 309 Starr St, Bushwick (St. Nicholas/Cypress Ave), L to Jefferson St, $20 sug don. Watt will donate $100,000 (a hundred grand, you read that right) to benefit jazz musicians imperiled by the lockdown through sales at his dealer Jim Kempner Fine Art.

7/8, 8 PM the NY Philharmonic play Carlos Simon: Fate Now Conquers; Stravinsky: Pulcinella Suite; Mozart: Symphony No. 40 at Damrosch Park. Maybe listen from across the street because there may be restrictions.

7/9, 7 PM perennially popular original feminist folksinger Toshi Reagon & Big Lovely at Bryant Park

7/9, 7/9:30 PM cutting-edge B3 organ grooves with the Jared Gold trio at Smallls, ,$25

7/9, 7:30 PM iconic Afro-Cuban percussionist/bandleader Pedrito Martinez at Drom, $15

7/9, 9 PM  fiery, deviously fun oldtimey swing guitarist/crooner Seth Kessel at Skinny Demis. . He’s back here on 7/31 at 4.

7/10, 2 PM afternoon improvisations: guitarist  Aron Namenwirth with Daniel Carter, Claire de Brunner, Tamio Shirashi plus poet No Land at Oliver Coffee, 5 Oliver St (cor. St. James), Chinatown

710, 4 PM Sarah Durning & the Fun Sisters play twangy oldschool-style original honkytonk at Skinny Dennis

7/10, 5 PM  lustrous singer and badass cello-rock bandleader Serena Jost in a rare solo show  at Five Myles, 558 St. Johns Place (Classon/Franklin), Crown Heights, 2/3 to Eastern Pkwy/Brooklyn Museum

7/10, 7 PM dark psychedelic acoustic blues/klezmer/reggae/soca jamband Hazmat Modine at Terra Blues. They’re back here on 7/24

7/10, 7:30 PM the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center play works by Haydn, Mendelssohn and Schumann at Damrosch Park. Maybe listen from across the street because there may be restrictions.

7/11, 3 PM dynamic front-porch Americana/blues songwriter Mary-Elaine Jenkins at Pete’s

7/11, 3:30 PM the Noga Band featuring amazing Middle Eastern oudist Avram Pengas at Wagner Park north and west of the Battery

7/11, 4 PM oldschool-style high plains C&W singer Hope Debates & North 40 at Skinny Dennis

7/12-16, half past noon sly, cinematic, tuneful Microscopic Septet pianist Joel Forrester at Bryant Park

7/12, 9 PM the perennially popular Western Caravan play western swing at Skinnny Dennis

7/13, 7 PM pensive, eclectic, tuneful jazz/art-rock songwriter Becca Stevens at the big room at the Rockwood, $15

7/15, 9:30 PM  ferociously dynamic, tuneful,female-fronted power trio Castle Black at Bar Freda, 801 Seneca Ave (Cornelia St/Putnam Ave) in Ridgewood, M to Seneca Ave

7/16, 7 PM  sizzling salsa dura band the Spanish Harlem Orchestra at Bryant Park

7/16, 7/8:30 PM drummer Sylvia Cuenca leads a quintet with Dave Kikoski on piano and Craig Handy on tenor sax at Smalls, $25

7/16, 8 PM  psychedelic supergroup the Elgin Marbles feat. members of Love Camp 7, Dervisi and Peter Stampfel’s jug band at the Parkside,$10

7/16, 9 PM the raucously oldtimey Buck and a Quarter Quartet at Pete’s

7/17, 5ish “a wonderful bunch” of sax players: Peter Apfelbaum, Claire Daly, Jonathan Haffner, Jeff Lederer, Jessica Lurie, Sam Newsome, Jay Rodriguez, and Stefan Zeniuk play a site-specific, echo-centric improvisation outdoors from the rooftops around 55 Waterbury St. in Bushwick

7/17, 9 PM Veronica Davila’s twangy, Bakersfield-flavored hard honkytonk band Low Roller at Skinny Dennis

7/18, 5 PM the all-femalle Lotus Chamber Music Ensemble play a program TBA at Culture Lab outdoors, 5-25 46th Ave in Long Island City, down the block toward the water from LIC Bar

7/18, 6 PM orchestrally epic alto valve trombonist Scott Reeves plays the album release show for his new lie one at 55 Bar

7/18, 7 PM brooding, intense lo-fi gutter blues songwriter/guitarist Breanna Barbara at Our Wicked Lady, free

7/18, 7:30/9 PM Falkner Evans solo on piano – sometimes inscrutable, sometimes darkly rapturous – at Mezzrow, $25

7/19, 7 PM the Orchestra of St. Luke‘s music for winds and brass by Ibert, Valerie Coleman, Stravinsky, Dukas, Scott Joplin, Leonard Bernstein and Matthew Arnold on the steps of the Brooklyn Central Library at Grand Army Plaza. 7/21, 3 PM they’re at the back of the northwest corner of the plaza at Lincoln Center and 7/22 at 7:30 PM they’re outdoors at the Queens Theatre in the Park in Corona

7/19, 9 PM darkly brilliant, psychedelic Klezmatics multi-reedman Matt Darriau‘s group plays a Yusef Lateef tribute at Bar Lunatico

7/20, noon classical ensemble the Sterling Strings play their hilarious string quartet versions of rap and pop hits at Metrotech Park in downtown Brooklyn

7/20, 7 PM vibraphonist Felipe Fournier‘s wild Tito Puente and Dave Brubeck cover band, Supermambo at Gantry Plaza State Park

7/20, 7:30 PM the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra play works by Purcell, John Blow and others at the Naumburg Bandshell in Central Park

7/20, 7:30/9:30 PM  rapturously eclectic jazz chanteuse Marianne Solivan leads her trio at Mezzrow, $25

7/21, 6 PM noir-inspired honkytonk crooner Sean Kershaw at John Brown BBQ, 27-20 40th Avenue at 28th St., LIC/Astoria, any train to Queensboro Plaza

7/21, 7 PM adventurous indie classical ensemble Contemporaneous play edgy, often poignant new works by Alex Weiser, Zachary James Ritter, Yasmin Williams, toy pianist Lucy Yao and a world premiere by Yaz Lancaster at Pier 64, 24th St. and the Hudson, free, rsvp req  

7/21, 8 PM bhangra-klezmer mashups with Sharabi feat. trumpeter Frank London & Deep Singh with singer Sarah Gordon plus the psychedelic, Afrobeat and klezmer-influenced Zion 80 at Drom, $20

7/21, 9 PM deviously entertaining hot 20s swing chanteuse Sweet Megg Farrell and band at Skinny Dennis

7/22, half past noon mostly-female, kinetic klezmer/cumbia/cinematic jamband Isle of Klezbos at St. Marks Park, 2nd Ave/10th St.

7/22, 4:30 PM jazz singer Tahira Clayton’s Jazz Trio outdoors at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music

7/22, 7/8:30 PM colorful,  eclectic, paradigm-shifting B3 jazz organist Brian Charette  leads his organ trio at Smalls, $25

7/22, 8 PM original blue-eyed soul chanteuse Miss Tess in a rare duo show at Sunny’s. 7/23 she’s under the Dumbo Archway at 5.

7/22, 9 PM smart, purposeful Americana guitarslingers Jason Loughlin and band at Skinny Dennis

7/23, 7:30/9:30 PM tenor saxophonist Tivon Pennicott with Louis Cato on bass and Joe Saylor on drums at the Jazz Gallery, $20

7/23, 8 PM poignantly lyrical, eclectic pianist Marta Sanchez leads her trio with a killer rhythm section of Michael Formanek and Gerald Cleaver at Bar Bayeux

7/24, 2 PM improvisational keyboardist Matt Mottel plays his bday show at Oliver Coffee, 5 Oliver St (cor. St. James), Chinatown

7/24. 5 PM careening, microtonally-tinged electric blues band Jane Lee Hooker at Culture Lab outdoors, 5-25 46th Ave in Long Island City, down the block toward the water from LIC Bar

7/24, 7 PM dark psychedelic acoustic blues/klezmer/reggae/soca jamband Hazmat Modine at Terra Blues

7/24, 7/8:30 PM Mike LeDonne takes a relatively rare turn on piano with a trio  at Smalls

7/24, 7:30ish the Sun Ra Arkestra at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park, be prepared to hang on the fringes because there may be restrictions

7/24, 8 PM sprawling large jazz/ambient ensemble/jamband Burnt Sugar at Damrosch Park

7/24, 10 PM fiery electric bluegrass and C&W with Demolition String Band at Skinny Dennis

7/24, 10 PM allstar percussion and sax duo Matthias Kunzli and Peter Apbelfaum’s Soup du Jour at Pete’s

7/26-30 half past noon big band pianist Russ Kasoff solo at Bryant Park

7/26, 7 PM Certain General guitarslinger Phil Gammage plays his dark Americana and blues at Cowgirl Seahorse

7/26, 7 PM newgrass band Damn Tall Buildings at Pier 1 on the upper west

7/27 1 PM not a music event but very important and enlightening: America’s Frontline Doctors livestream their White Coat Summit to stop the ongoing lethal injection campaigns. Hero doctors Simone Gold, Scott Jensen, Lee Merritt, Steve LaTulippe, Mark McDonald and other allstar freedom fighters strategize a way out of the trap that was set for us on March 16, 2020.

7/27, 7 PM the George Gee Big Band play vintage 30s swing at Gantry Plaza State Park

7/27. 8 PM ambitious saxophonist Michael Thoma and his quartet outdoors at Queens Theatre in Corona Park

7/27, 10 PM catchy, uneasily jangly female-fronted psych-pop rockers War Violet at Our Wicked Lady, $12. They’re also at Pete’s on 7/31 at 10 for the tip jar

7/28, 6 PM vibraphonist Sae Hashimoto leads an ensemble playing new classical repertoire tba at Madison Square Park. She’s back on 8/4

7/28, 10 PM guy/girl harmony vocals and a mix of Americana and lyrical Waits-ish songwriting with Loose Change at Pete’s

7/29, half past noon fearlessly relevant, toweringly intense latin jazz pianist Arturo O’Farrill leads a smaller band than usual at St. Marks Park, 2nd Ave/10th St

7/29, 4:30 PM original klezmer stylings with violinist Zoe Aqua, trumpeter Dan Blacksberg and accordionist Ira Temple outdoors at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music

7/29, 7:30 PM the Mingus Big Band celebrate their new home at Drom, $30

7/29-31, 7/9:30 PM fiery, erudite pianist Orrin Evans leads his quartet featuring powerhouse sax player Immanuel Wilkins at Birdland, $30

7/29, 10ish sly blue-eyed soul pianist/crooner Nat Osborn at the big room at the Rockwood, ,$15

7/30, 8 PM Indian percussionist Ravish Momin’s Sunken Cages + Migiwa “Miggy” Miyajima‘s lavish large jazz ensemble at Damrosch Park, you can watch from across the street because there are draconian restrictions

7/30, 7:30 PM postbop saxophonist Greg Osby and his Quartet and clarinetist Oran Etkin’s Open Arms Project at Drom, $30

7/30, 11:30 PM expansive, expressive jazz pianist Miki Yamanaka leads her trio at Cellar Dog (the old Fat Cat)

7/31, 5:30 PM blazing all-female street band the Brass Queens at 5th Ave and 3rd St. in Park Slope

7/31, 7 PM salsa romantica crooner Tito Nieves at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park, be prepared to hang on the fringes because there may be restrictions

7/31, 8 PM Raga Maqam with paradigm-shifting trumpeter/santoorist Amir ElSaffar and members of  Brooklyn Raga Massive mash up hypnotic, often haunting Arabic and Indian sounds at Damrosch Park. Their Lincoln Center show a couple of years ago was off the hook. Hang on the sidewalk across the street because there are restrictions

7/31, 8 PM legendary Brooklyn psychedelic funk band Groove Collective at Drom, $20

7/31, 9 PM Veronica Davila’s twangy, Bakersfield-flavored hard honkytonk band Low Roller at Skinny Dennis

8/1, 5 PM Los Cumpleanos – with Nestor Gomez – vox/percussion; Lautaro Burgos – drums; Eric Lane – keyboards; Alex Asher – trombone and others playing trippy, dubwise tropical psychedelia at the Riis Park Beach Bazaar, Bay 9 East at Riis Park in the Rockaways

8/1, 7 PM wild, sizzling guitar-and-brass-fueled Ethiopian jazz jamband Anbessa Orchestra at Pier 1 on the Hudson

8/1, 7 PM the Harlem Gospel Travelers and irrepressible 60s-style blue-eyed soul singer Eli “Paperboy” Reed at Our Wicked Lady, $15

8/1, 9 PM singer Richard Julian and pianist John Chin play Mose Allison songs at Bar Lunatico. Perfect pairing: Julian’s wry sense of humor and Chin’s erudite chops.

8/2-6, half past noon lyrical, dynamic original jazz pianist Victor Lin solo at Bryant Park

8/3, 7 PM fiery electric bluegrass and C&W with Demolition String Band at Shipyard Park, 13th St and McFeeley Drive in Hoboken,

8/3, 7:30 PM the East Coast Chamber Orchestra play works by Mozart, Golijov and others at the Naumburg Bandshell in Central Park

8/3, 8/10 PM postbop jazz supergroup the Cookers – Billy Harper, Cecil McBee, George Cables, Eddie Henderson, and Billy Hart – at the Blue Note, $30 bar seats avail

8/4, 6:30, PM guitarist Oren Fader and and pianist/salonniere Yelena Grinberg reprise their sold-out performance of rare duo works by Vivaldi, Beethoven, Hummel, Moscheles, Weber, Boccherini, Munier, Castelnuovo and Piazzolla at Grinberg’s popular monthly upper westside salon, email for deets here., a 3  minute walk from 1/2/3 train at 96th St.

8/4, 7:30/9 PM cult favorite gonzo pianist Dred Scott plays Chick Corea at Mezzrow, $25

8/4, 8ish cinematic noir soul instrumentalists the Ghost Funk Orchestra at Our Wicked Lady, $12

8/4, 9 PM the Jimi Hendrix of the cuatro, Jorge Glem with pianist Cesar Orozco at Bar Lunatico

8/5, 7 PM Veronica Davila’s twangy, Bakersfield-flavored hard honkytonk band Low Roller at Mama Tried, 147 27th St, Bay Ridge, R to 25th St

8/5, 7 PM what’s left of the hi-de-ho Cab Calloway Orchestra at Astoria Park, on the water, take the N to Astoria Blvd.

8/6, 7 PM trumpeter Terence Blanchard with the Turtle Island Quartet at Bryant Park

8/6, 10 PM haunting gothic Americana ballads with Flora Midwood at Pete’s. Brilliant storyteller, strong singer and tunesmith.

8/6, 11 PM clever, fiery, eclectic ten-piece Balkan/hip-hop/funk brass maniacs Slavic Soul Party at Drom, $20

8/7, 2 PM an amazing improvisational jazz triplebill: baritone sax monster Josh Sinton with Daniel Carter and Sam Newsome, then brilliant, politically fearless visionary/tenor sax improviser Matana Roberts , and also flutist Laura Cocks solo at Oliver Coffee, 5 Oliver St (cor. St. James), Chinatown

8/7, 7 PM dark psychedelic acoustic blues/klezmer/reggae/soca jamband Hazmat Modine at Terra Blues. They’re also here on 7/21

8/7, 8 PM guitarist Nick Demopoulos’ twinkling, psychedelic spacescape project Smomid followed at 9 by enigmatic, cynical, lyrical rock band Golden Alphabet at Pete’s

8/7, 9:30 PM latin soul jams with the Brooklyn Boogaloo Blowout at 55 Bar

8/8, 7:30/9 PM  intense pianist Gerald Clayton solo at Mezzrow

8/9-13, half past noon lyrical, shapeshifting Brazilian pianist Luiz Simas solo at Bryant Park

8/10-12 Digable Planets at the Blue Note are sold out

8/10, 9:30 PM lickety-split punkgrass with the Eugene Tyler Band at Pete’s

8/11, 7 PM slinky, hypnotic percussive Moroccan trance band Innov Gnawa on the steps at the Grand Army Plaza branch of the Brooklyn Public Library

8/12-14, 7/9:30 PM the best singing pianist (and the best piano-playing singer) in jazz, the irrepressible Champian Fulton leads her quartet at Birdland, $30

8/12, 8 anthemic speedmetal band Cold Dice, 9 PM the debut of Certain Death (the house band from Pfizer or Moderna maybe?) 10 PM wild fuzzy stoner metal band Grave Bathers followed by the even more macabre Castle Rat at Our Wicked Lady, $12

8/13, 5 PM ageless, jangly, purist NY surf rock originals the Supertoness at the Riis Park Beach Bazaar, Bay 9 East at Riis Park in the Rockaways There’s also a surf music festival, bands tba, there on 8/14-15

8/13, 8 PM   ferociously dynamic, tuneful,female-fronted power trio Castle Black at Culture Lab outdoors, 5-25 46th Ave in Long Island City, down the block toward the water from LIC Bar; 8/28 they’re outdoors at the Greenpoint Terminal Market at 3, Market St. past Kent Ave on the water, G to Nassau Ave

8/14, 4 PM B’Rhythm blend Indian music and classical dance moves at Garfield Place between Prospect Park West and 8th Ave. in Park Slope, music by Bala Skandan, choreography by Brinda Guha and Sonali Skandan and an A-list slate of dancers

8/14, 7/9:30 PM popular lyrical postbop trumpeter Jeremy Pelt leads his quartet at Smalls $25

8/14, 9:30 PM  this era’s most consistently interesting jazz pianist, Vijay Iyer at Prospect Park Bandshell. Listen from outside (try around the back) since the arena may still have restrictions

8/15, 8:30 PM catchy, pensive blue-eyed soul crooner/guitarist Noto at Pete’s

8/16, 9 PM boisterously funny oldschool 60s C&W and brooding southwestern gothic with the Jack Grace Band at Skinny Dennis..

8/17, 7 PM Dominican jazz guitarist Yasser Tejeda & Pelotre at Gantry Plaza State Park

8/17, 7/8:30 PM  charismatic, adventurous postbop/avant garde trombonist/crooner Frank Lacy‘ at Smalls, $25

8/17-19, 8/10 PM the Bernie Williams Collective at the Blue Note, $25 bar seats avail. Not a vanity project: the greatest centerfielder of his time is a solid latin jazz/funk guitarist.

8/18, 7/8:30 PM eclectic jazz pianist Art Hirahara and his trio at Smalls, $25

8/18, 5 PM the Harlem Quartet at Times Square. Where? Follow the sound, it seems

8/18, 8 PM Stoogoid stoner boogie band Sun Voyager, noisy early 80s style postpunk band Smock and fuzzy acid blues/doom band Grandpa Jack at Our Wicked Lady, $12

8/18-22, 8/10 PM postbop jazz trumpeter and sly crooner Nicholas Payton at the Blue Note, $25 bar seats avail

8/19, 7 PM double threat Camille Thurman – equally dazzling on the mic and the tenor sax – with the Darrell Green Trio, and trombonist Conrad Herwig with his Quintet at Drom, $30

8/19-21, 7/9:30 PM golden-age postbop tenor sax legend Donald Harrison leads his quartet at Birdland, $30

8/19, 7/9:30 PM edgy jazz oudist and bassist Omer Avital and his group where he got his start at Smalls, $25

8/19, 11 PM sardonic and punky Japanese girlband the Hard Nip at Our Wicked Lady, $12

8/20, 7 PM amazingly dynamic drummer  Johnathan Blake and his trio and wildfire Colombian harpist Edmar Castaneda with drummer Ari Hoenig at Drom, $30

8/20, 7 PM Gordon Lockwood (blues guitar monster Jeremiah Lockwood and drummer Ricky Gordon) at Terra Blues

8/20, 7/8:30 PM the Sun Ra Arkestra’s legendary nonagenarian EWI player Marshall Allen and group at Smalls, $25

8/21, 7 PM legendary second-wave Afrobeat band Antibalas at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park, be prepared to hang on the fringes because there may be restrictions

8/21, 7 PM edgy, incisive, terse jazz guitarist Russell Malone and his Quartet at Drom, $20

8/22, 7 PM paradigm-shifting Romany jazz/psychedelic rock guitar mastermind Stephane Wrembel at Drom $30

8/23, 7/8:30 PM erudite pianist Orrin Evans‘ richly tuneful, purist, stampeding Captain Black Big Band at Smalls,$25

8/24, 6 PM the Donald Harrison Quartet with the Harlem Orchestra play Charlie Parker’s Bird with Strings at Marcus Garvey Park, be prepared to hang on the fringes because there may be restrictions

8/24, 7/8;30 PM hard-hitting  postbop saxophonist Mike DiRubbo’s quartet at Smalls, $25

8/25, 8 PM punk/rockabilly band the Screaming Rebel Angels, goth-punks the Wh0res, and fiery, deviously fun oldtimey swing guitarist/crooner Seth Kessel at Our Wicked Lady, $12

8/26, 6 PM smart, lyrical, politically-inspired pianist Zaccai Curtis leads a trio at Times Square, Bwy at 43rd St

8/27, 6 PM an oldschool salsa dance party with 70s style charanga Son Del Monte at Alexander Avenue at Bruckner Boulevard in the Bronx

8/28, 5 PM nimble bassist Dawn Drake & Zapote‘play latin-tinged hard funk at the Riis Park Beach Bazaar, Bay 9 East at Riis Park in the Rockaways

8/28, 6 PM jazz violinist Melanie Dyer w/ poet Bonita Penn and bassist Ken Filiano at the Clifton Pl. Community Garden (1031 Bedford Ave.–b/n Clifton & Greene)

8/29, a parade of dancers with music by guitarist/bagpiper David Watson make their way through the Rockaways starting at 1 PM on the sand at Beach 86 St and end at 7 at Beach 110 St, performers include Toni Carlson, Yve Laris Cohen, Maggie Cloud, Marc Crousillat, Brittany Engel-Adams, Moriah Evans, Daria Fain, Lizzie Feidelson, Melanie Greene, Kennis Hawkins, Iréne Hultman, Shayla-Vie Jenkins, Burr Johnson, Niall Jones, Sarah Beth Percival, Jess Pretty, Antonio Ramos, Alex Rodabaugh, Carlo Villanueva, Anh Vo, Kota Yamazaki

8/29, 4 PM drummer Willie Jones III leads an allstar Charlie Parker centennial celebration band with Sarah Hanahan, Godwin Louis, Justin Robinson, Erena Terakubo with Donald Vega on piano and Endea Owens on bass at Marcus Garvey Park

8/29, 5 PM, repeating 9/1 at 6:30 colorful, charismatic pianist/salonniere Yelena Grinberg, violinist Eric Silberger and cellist Madeline Fayette play Haydn’s “Gypsy” piano trio, Mozart’s warmly lyrical Piano Trio in C and Beethoven’s daunting “Ghost” piano trio at Grinberg’s popular monthly upper westside salon, email for deets here., a 3  minute walk from 1/2/3 train at 96th St.

8/29, 9:30 PM irrepressibly sardonic janglerock/folk-punk songwriter, New Yorker illustrator and White Hassle alum Marcellus Hall  at Pete’s

8/30-9/3 half past noon latin jazz pianist Isaac Bin Ayala solo at Bryant Park

9/1, 7:30ish noiserock legends Yo La Tengo at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park

9/8 7 PM the aptly named Firey String Sistas play their edgy chamber jazz at Pier 84, 44th st. and the Hudson just south of the Intrepid

9/11, 5 PM newschool gospel with Mary Mary singer Erica Campbell, the Walls Group, Lena Byrd Miles and Jason McGee and Choir at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park

9/12, 4 PM the Overlook String Quartet play music by black composers Eleanor Alberga, Florence Price, and Chevalier de Saint-Georges at the Morris-Jumel Mansion, 65 Jumel Terrace about a block south of 162nd St., Washington Heights, free, A/C to 163rd St.

9/12, 7 PM southern soul songwriter Valerie June at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park

9/18, 7:30 PM Trombone Shorty at Prospect Park Bandshell. We might have to listen from outside since the arena may still have restrictions

9/19, 7 PM Patti Smith at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park,

10/3, 1 PM  hard-hitting, brass-fueled newschool latin soul/boogaloo dance band Spanglish Fly at Playground 52,  Kelly St bet. Av St John and Leggett Ave in the Bronx, 6 to Longwood Ave

Revisiting Classic, Purist Americana and Bluegrass From Martha Spencer

Martha Spencer sings in a high soprano voice with lonesome country vibrato, backed by an inspired, thoughtful blend of flatpicked guitar, banjo, fiddle and bass. That description could fit thousands and thousands of Americana songbirds, but Spencer sings and writes from the point of view of someone who grew up immersed in classic country and bluegrass music with her  family’s Virginia group, the Whitetop Mountain Band. Her 2018 debut album as a solo artist is still up at Bandcamp. The sound is totally 1950s, whether she’s doing oldschool C&W, bluegrass, a blues or a ballad. She winds a good yarn and has a sharp sense of humor.

She and the band – a shifting cast that include but are not limited to guitarists Frank Rische and Ersel Fletcher,, bassist Debbie Bramer, fiddler Billy Hurt, Jr and banjo player Alex Leach –  open the album with Blue Ridge Mountain Lullaby, a fond childhood reminiscence of falling asleep while the ‘rents are playing all the old songs. My Heart Says Yes is a simple, catchy mashup of bluegrass and indie rock: totally Hoboken, 1996. Spencer’s voice takes on extra bite, way up the scale in the rockabilly tune Hard Headed Woman, amped up with growling electric guitar and spiraling electric honkytonk piano.

Spencer blends Patsy Cline nuance and Dolly Parton plaintiveness in the aching, sad ballad The Last Leaves. After that the band pick up the pace in Let the Wild Stay Free, a smartly aphoristic bluegrass tune.

When Spencer bends her way up to those blue notes in Chickens Coming Home to Roost Tonight, it’s clear she means business, echoed by the understatedly slashing bluesy guitar solo.  She keeps that strong-willed point of view front and center in Rambling Woman: over spiky banjo and fiddle, she makes it clear she’s not ready to settle down.

Wishful Thinking comes across as an Appalachian flavored acoustic take on a peak era 40s/50s Kitty Wells-style ballad. After that, Spencer flips the script with Ruby, a spare, rustic Virginia reel. Then she and the band slow things down again with Cold Winter Lingers On, a classic C&W breakup duet spiced with pedal steel and countrypolitan guitar.

They bring up the energy again with the oldtime country gospel tune Jonah and follow that with the wry hillbilly boogie No Help Wanted.

Tree of Heaven is deceptively pretty: it turns out to be Spencer’s Don’t Fear the Reaper. She winds up the album with the brisk banjo tune Rambling Hobo. Fans of real, purist country and bluegrass – the genuine article, not the legions of indie rock boys trying to wrap their dainty fingers around acoustic instruments – will love this stuff.

Classic, Purist, Smartly Crafted Country Sounds From the Shootouts

The Shootouts are a throwback to the glory days of classic 1950s and 60s country music, with uncluttered 21st century production values. Their songwriting harks back to an era of clever storytelling, jokes with unspoken punchlines and unselfconscious poignancy. Their new album Bullseye is streaming at Soundcloud. These guys really know their retro sounds – it wouldn’t be overhype to mention them in the same sentence with Dale Watson. Their solos are short, concise and always leave you wanting more.

They open with I Don’t Think About You Anymore, which is sort of a heartbroken take on what the Statler Bros. did with Flowers on the Wall, built around a hammer-on rockabilly riff that everybody from Elvis and Johnny Cash on forward have made songs out of.

Brian Poston’s lead guitar twangs and looms ominously in Rattlesnake Whiskey, a spaghetti western shuffle about a moonshiner who gets high on his own supply. Frontman Ryan Humbert sends a shout-out to his mom in Another Mother – as in “you won’t get another mother” – with wistful fiddle and pedal steel in the background.

Bassist Ryan McDermott and drummer Dylan Gomez add an emphatic skinny Elvis strut to Hurt Heartbroke; Poston’s choogling lead out of that slip-key rockabilly piano break is over way too soon. The album’s title track is a western swing instrumental with a long, biting series of tradeoffs between lead guitar and steel. These guys really know their retro sounds

There’s more of that in Here Comes the Blues, an oldschool Bakersfield-style number with a sly couple of Merle Haggard quotes. Everything I Know is Buddy Holly updated for an era with better guitar amps, organ looming in the background and elegant harmony vocals from Emily Bates. Then the band put an energetic spin on Hank Williams in Waiting on You.

They weld a wry, aphoristic lyric to a loping Johnny Cash groove in Missing the Mark, with another lively conversation between guitar and steel on the way out. They go back to a hillbilly boogie bounce in I Still Care, with echoes of 60s George Jones.

The imagery gets really gloomy in the low-key, meticulously crafted heartbreak ballad Forgot to Forget (but dudes, you’re not playing in 3/4: this is too fast, it sounds like 12/8!). They end the album on a high note with the rapidfire party anthem Saturday Night Town. The Shootouts play the album release show on June 12 at 7:30 PM at the Auricle, 201 Cleveland Ave North in Canton, Ohio; cover is $15.

Abigail Dowd Stares Down the Flood and Wins

From Johnny Cash, to Led Zeppelin, to Karla Rose, musicians have never stopped finding new uses for flood metaphors. Americana songwriter Abigail Dowd is the latest in that venerable line. For Dowd, it’s personal: her Colorado home was flooded six times in 2018, springboarding the songs on her hauntingly intense latest album Beautiful Day, streaming at Soundcloud. As a tale of resilience and triumph over adversity, it has special resonance in the year of the needle of death.

Dowd has a ruggedly individualistic persona and a thing for southern gothic; her previous album Not What I Seem got a rave review here last year. Not everything is as it seems in the allusive, wary title track, Dowd’s spiky fingerpicking leading to a doublespeed charge fueled by Alex McKinney’s dobro and Scott Sawyer’s spare electric guitar lines over the low-key shuffle rhythm of bassist Jason Duff and drummer Austin McCall. Here and there, Joe MacPhail’s Rhodes electric piano pops up, a subtle suspenseful enhancement.

Diamond is a strutting Lou Reed tune in Americana disguise, spiced with MacPhail’s smoky organ: “Sometimes I feel like a miner left behind in the dark” is the key line. Dowd’s delivery in general is more flinty on this album, especially in One Moment at a Time, a moody carpe-diem theme built around a briskly flurrying acoustic guitar riff.

The instrumental St. Vrain – the name of the creek that rose up and almost took Dowd’s home with it – has a gorgeously haunting, baroque-tinged web of guitars and is over way, way too soon: Dowd could have kept this going three times as long and it wouldn’t be boring.

Sawyer’s ominous washes of chords raise the intensity in River, a resolute Appalachian gothic anthem. Dowd stays with the brooding minor-key atmosphere in Apple Trees, a chillingly metaphorical tale of plans suddenly derailed.

The Underground Railroad escape anthem Judgment Day captures the exhaustion of life on the run and the perils at every turn. “I just want to be alone,” the haunted freedom fighter in Don’t Want to Talk About It asserts: sometimes you have to become a monster to defeat them.

Dowd’s defiant narrator throws off the shackles of original sin in the briskly stomping After the Fall, right up to a surprise ending. The she brings down the lights in the haunting, organ-fueled, enigmatic Rise Above: at what point do we have to walk through hell to get any further?

The flood metaphors reach fever pitch in Run, a global warming-era Appalachian gothic tale run amok. Dowd winds up the album with Grandmother Moon, a shamanic, oldtime blues-infused tableau. Dowd is on a creative tear right now: there must be something in that Rocky Mountain water.