This week starts rather quietly. There’s Australian singer-songwriter Xavier Rudd on Monday at the Fonda, with the delightful First Aid Kit performing there on Tuesday with Dylan LeBlanc. The Swedish Soderberg sisters create such charming folksy-pop music that it is hard to resist. Also on the 16th, the Freelance Whales surface at the El Rey, Hospitality headlines the Echo and the one-time Eagle guitarist Don Felder chats a little at the Grammy Museum along with playing some tunes from his new album Road to Forever and maybe something from his earlier band too.
Things start to heat up on Wednesday, in a big way. The biggest show of the night is Neil Young, who is playing with Crazy Horse for the first time in 8 years, and he has Los Lobos opening the show. Personally, I am excited about the Sheepdogs show at the Troubadour with Belgium’s Black Box Revelations opening . I saw the Sheepdogs do short set at the Hotel Café a few years back and they blew me away with their old school guitar rock (and this was before they won the Rolling Stone cover contest last year). The Canadian band is touring behind their recently released US debut, My Perception.
Another worthwhile show on Wednesday is the Bowerbirds’ headlining the El Rey. This N.C.-based band crafts a low-key, earthy sound that is truly compelling. Yet another strong show can be found at the Hotel Café where Kat Edmonson has a set. The Texas-born songstress exquisitely blends pop and jazz with a dash of twang on her latest Way Down Low.
Also on Wednesday, Americana singer/songwriter Dave Tucker comes to the Witzend in Venice, while String Cheese Incident keyboardist Kyle Hollingsworth brings his band to the Roxy for a show with John Brown’s Body.
The spirited Los Campesinos will rile things up at the El Rey on Thursday while the Stars will come out at the Mayan Theater with Diamond Rings and California Wives also on the bill. This Toronto ensemble, which is part of the Broken Social Scene scene, has a luminescent new album The North that ATO recently released. Atlanta’s The Whigs bring their rambunctious, foot-stomping rock ‘n’ roll, as they wonderfully display on their New West debut Enjoy The Company, to the Bootleg. Last, but not least, the legendary Leon Russell will sit down at the piano at the Canyon Club to play a few tunes.
Friday holds the first of two opportunities to see the terrific teaming of Amy Cook and Tift Merritt. This pair of powerhouses plays the Mint on Friday and McCabe’s on Saturday. Merritt’s latest and greatest Traveling Alone is one of the year’s best, while Cook smokes on her latest, Summer Skin, a gritty set of bluesy, rootsy music.
Also on the 19th, the reunited Mavericks play the Valley Performing Arts Center and Jam frontman Paul Weller brings his storied catalog of tunes to the Greek that night with the vivacious Sharon Jones, backed by the Dap-kings, opening. The singular Taj Mahal has a show at Largo Friday night while German rock pioneers Faust perform at REDCAT.
On Kelly Joe Phelps’ new album, Brother Sinner & The Whale, the acclaimed guitarist showcases his bottleneck-playing on this disc that focuses on spiritual songs. He plays McCabe’s on Friday night. The soulful singer Allen Stone headlines the Fonda that night with Yuna and Tingsek also on the bill. Meanwhile, singer-songwriter fans also have the option of catching Tony Lucca at the Roxy and Griffin House at the Hotel Café while the LA native (and current Vermont-er) Chris Cohen performs his rather esoteric music at Public Fiction.
While Saturday is more of a day of rest, beyond Merritt and Cook at McCabe’s, Sunday has more than enough music. You can start the music going by catching the chamber folk chanteuse Chelsea Wolfe at a 5 p.m. free performance at Amoeba before heading off to any number of shows.
McCabe’s hosts two talented and sharp-tongued troubadours, Robbie Fulks and Greg Trooper. Fulks is a particular favorite of mine with the way he can wield a sardonic wit as well as heartfelt sentiment. The Mint will hoist a Lone Star flag as Radney Foster will take the stage there with some pals. Foster, who is one of the great country/Americana songwriters, recently put out a fine live recording where he re-does his landmark Del Rio Texas Revisited: Unplugged & Lonesome album.
The multi-talented M. Ward comes to the Orpheum on the 21st; it is his first L.A. show since he released his solo effort, A Wasteland Companion. Soul crooner Nick Waterhouse headlines the El Rey on Sunday night, while Southern roots man, Charlie Peacock plays the Hotel Café. Check out his new work, Electronic Musician, it’s a dandy.