No football, no problem. Friday’s concert choices include two singer-songwriters from far different backgrounds and sounds. Country-roots artist Kasey Chambers grew up in a musical family that roamed Australia, where she began performing in her teens. Since launching a recording career in the ’90s, she’s topped the charts in her homeland and made steady inroads in America, and rolls into City Winery on Friday. Sharon Van Etten grew up in New Jersey, found her musical voice in Tennessee, and blossomed in Brooklyn. She emerged as a doleful indie-folk singer but now floats rich vocals over dark keyboard-stepped soundscapes on her new Remind Me Tomorrow. Jump here to my chat with Van Etten, who plays Royale the same night.
Berklee-bred funk outfit Ripe (pictured) seemingly rocketed from college parties to huge clubs and festivals with its tight, jammy, high-powered groove and stands poised to blow the roof off House of Blues on Saturday (if you can’t score tickets, Ripe’s also just been announced on the lineup for summer’s Levitate Music Festival). If you’re seeking a more under-the-radar find (since this isn’t Ireland), Dublin folk-pop brothers act Hudson Taylor brings its heartfelt, anthemic tunes to two shows at City Winery’s Haymarket Lounge. Here’s my September interview with Hudson Taylor prior to their last show at that intimate space, where they probably won’t fit next time. Enjoy the chance for them to again take a sublime acoustic turn into the crowd.
In a world where a band like Mumford and Sons can headline arenas, maybe it’s encouraging rather than surprising to see groups with banjos, mandolins and fiddles make commercial hay in the clubs and theatres. You’ll find that folky action around Boston on Saturday, when Celtgrass originators We Banjo 3 play the Somerville Theatre, North Carolina duo Mandolin Orange serenade Royale, and Maine’s Ghost of Paul Revere hold court at the Paradise Rock Club.
Sunday’s options can’t be more disparate than modern country-folk outlaw Steve Earle continuing his periodic residency at City Winery (with opener Shannon McNally) and heavy-metal veterans Soulfly (led by ex-Sepultura frontman Max Cavalera) at Brighton Music Hall.