Critic's Picks: Folk Music

By Scott Alarik
Globe Staff / September 13, 2009

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SUPERSTARS OF CLUB 47 Tales and tunes should flow as Jim Kweskin and Geoff Muldaur, of Jug Band fame, mingle with Minnesota bluesman John Koerner in the convivial warmth of the venerable Marblehead coffeehouse. Sept. 18, me&thee coffeehouse, Marblehead, 781-631-8987.

CARA DILLON The exciting young Irish star started with the folk-pop band Equation. On the largely traditional CD “Hill of Thieves,’’ her singing is urbane and achingly pretty, a haunting blend of modernity and timelessness. Sept. 29, Club Passim, 617-492-7679.

LOUD AND RICH: An Evening With Richard Thompson and Loudon Wainwright III These troubadour titans should be strutting their roots, since Thompson just released an epic, four-CD retrospective, “Walking on a Wire,’’ and Wainwright paid frisky homage to old-timey pioneer Charlie Poole on the new album “High, Wide and Handsome.’’ Oct. 4, Sanders Theatre, 617-496-2222.

MEMORIAL CONCERT FOR JUDITH WACHS, WITH VOICE OF THE TURTLE AND LIBANA The late Wachs was a gifted, ebullient musician-scholar devoted to women’s music and the traditions of the Sephardim. Her ensemble, Voice of the Turtle, ignited a still-flourishing Sephardic music revival. Oct. 18, Somerville Theatre, 617-999-9213.

STEPHEN KELLOGG AND THE SIXERS Berkshire songwriter Kellogg is that rarest of hybrids, with a poet’s head, a folkie’s heart, and a rock ’n’ roller’s hips. Also appearing are Virginia popsters Carbon Leaf. Oct. 14, Somerville Theatre, 617-625-5700.

KEB’ MO’ The hip bluesman recently expanded his passion for giving modern voice to African-American traditions with homages to Fats Domino and ’60s protest music. On his latest album, “Suitcase,’’ he plays with jazz, country, and Latin colors, but his blues heart shines like a Delta dawn. Oct. 23, Somerville Theatre, 617-625-5700.

CHRIS SMITHER The bluesy veteran’s new CD, “Time Stands Still,’’ is a typically Smitherful masterwork of battered anthems, undulating seductions, and rain-dripped reflections, full of killer lines, hard-earned wisdom, and sly truisms. Nov. 6, Regent Theatre, Arlington, 781-646-4849.

CATIE CURTIS Curtis has such a rare gift for pointing us toward life’s better moments without being sappy or treacly. Her new CD, “Hello Stranger,’’ is a kind-eyed paean to the redemptive grace of family, community, and looking for the bright spaces between the clouds. Nov. 7, Regent Theatre, Arlington, 617-469-2159.

WPA Nickel Creek grad Sean Watkins, Toad the Wet Sprocket’s Glen Phillips, and Lyle Lovett fiddler Luke Bulla create sinewy alt-folk with Americana twang, pop-smarts, and a yearning populism. Nov. 13, Club Passim, 617-492-7679.

CHILDSPLAY This globe-trotting frolic began with fiddlers who play instruments made by Bob Childs. Its annual tours now feature more than 25 musicians, including Aoife O’Donovan, Hanneke Cassel, Sam Amidon, Kathleen Guilday, Pete Sutherland, and Shannon Heaton. Dec. 5, Somerville Theatre, 617-625-5700. Dec. 6, National Heritage Museum, Lexington, 617-354-1673.


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