Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A different sort of ladies night Wednesday

This past week was so busy with live music that it was hard to fit everything into last Friday's hot concerts, including a few female artists playing tonight who all fall under the Americana umbrella. One's a relative roots-rock newcomer, the other two are veterans of beloved bands that have gone solo.

The wickedly (and legally according to named Lydia Loveless (left) plays the Evening Muse (3227 N. Davidson St.) tonight, October 12, with Todd May (8 p.m. $12). She recently signed with Bloodshot Records and her new album, "Indestructible Machine," is a helluva ride. It sounds like a punker Neko Case fronting a gritty country-western bar band with plenty of liquored up rock n' roll in the mix. The cover is an animated babe swigging from a gasoline can. Its nine tracks include a fantasy song that casts Steve Earle (or more accurately, an impersonator of sorts) as a band stalker/persistent suitor and another called "Jesus Was a Wino." The whole package is pretty irresistible and collecting positive reviews.

Loveless will also be doing a free in-store performance at Lunchbox Records (1419-A Central Ave.) at 6 p.m.

Just across town former Squirrel Nut Zipper Katherine Whalen and the Everybodyfields' co-founder Jill Andrews share the Visulite stage (1615 Elizabeth Ave. 8 p.m., $15). As a solo artist Andrews leans more toward pop than her former band (which was signed to Concord's Ramseur
Records). Her pretty, sort of melancholy vocals remain over songs that recall the `70s singer-songwriter era of pop.

Whalen (right), who still lives in the Efland farmhouse that her grandmother bought her instead of sending her to college (she chose), released the full-length "Madly Love" in September. It contains some of the long awaited tracks that she talked about when I interviewed her in March 2010 - songs that draw on her childhood growing up in the North Carolina mountains flipping through encyclopedias from the thirties while sick in bed. The vintage quality that fans enjoyed in her Zippers' work is still there, but "Madly Love" is also quieter, folkier, sparser and more raw than some of her previous work. Yet that signature jazzy catch in her voice remains.

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