Some of this week’s best shows come early in the week so don’t have Friday come and kick you in the ass for missing them.
On Tuesday, Imelda May plays the El Rey to celebrate her album, Mayhem, which coincidentally comes out that day. And it’s quite the coming out party. May is a real spitfire of a talent, mixing rockabilly and swing into a knockout musical cocktail.
Jessica Lea Mayfield is also a much buzzed about singer-songwriter, although she’s more of a slow burner than May. Mayfield will be delivering her memorably spare Americana tunes to Costa Mesa’s Detroit Bar on Wednesday the 20th. The fine Ferraby Lionheart opens the show.
Thursday offers a couple shows with probably hard-to-get tickets. “Freak folk” superstar (although I’m sure he hates that term) Devendra Banhart will be playing the Bootleg while the winsome Owl City lands at Club Nokia, with Mat Kearney as the opening act.
The 21st also is the night to caught Tom Freund at Thousand Oaks’ Open Borders (a cool concept of having shows in a closed Borders store) sharing the bill with Meiko in a show to benefit the nonprofit charity Regenerate. Freund’s one of the fine singer-songwriters you can catch this week. Jeremy Messersmith will be at the Satellite on Tuesday the 19th. Chris Mills has a show at Genghis Cohen on the 20th and then is playing the Santa Monica Apple store on the 22nd. He has a new retrospective out, Heavy Years, which hopefully will afford him some much deserved attention. Ben Folds also will be in town this week, with shows at the Anaheim House of Blues on the 20th and the Wiltern on the 21st.
Other interesting weeknight shows include Shadow Shadow Shade (their self-titled debut was one of my favorite rock discs last year), Captain Beefheart vet Gary Lucas shows off his guitar wizardry at the Grammy Museum on Wednesday and You and the Air bring their delightfully airy, hooky indie rock to the Satellite on Thursday. Thursday night also marks the first of two nights that Tim Robbins and the Rogues Gallery Band (a project that also include producer Hal Willner) at Largo.
The big shows this weekend might be at the Hollywood Bowl. Dolly Parton, whose new disc Better Days has been acclaimed as one her better efforts in years, comes to the Bowl on Friday while Sunday features a salute to Marvin Gaye’s classic album What’s Going On with a tremendous (scheduled) lineup featuring Stevie Wonder, Janelle Monae, Sharon Jones, Charles Bradley and more.
Friday actually contains a number (too many?) concert options. The one and only vocalist Little Jimmy Scott is at the Echoplex. The mercurial Daniel Johnston comes to the El Rey (with Jason Faulkner as the opener). McCabe’s welcomes the Southern gothic songs of Jim White, who shares the bill with Tom Brosseau. Big Talk, featuring the Killers’ Ronnie Vannucci, will be at the Satellite and roots music fans can enjoy a free show from Big Sandy and his Fly-Rite Boys at the Farmers’ Market.
Saturday’s offerings include Henry Wolfe at the Echo, Memory Tapes at the Troubadour, Correatown at the Bootleg and The Refugees (Cindy Bullens, Deborah Holland, and Wendy Waldman) at McCabe’s. McCabe’s hosts Frank Fairfield on Sunday, while the Grand Ole Echo’s lineup include Grant Langston and the vivacious Ruby Friedman Orchestra.