Oh, to be young, in the trenches, and bringing fresh life to bluegrass. It’s a great weekend for string bands, starting with the Michigan-based Greensky Bluegrass at the Paradise Rock Club on Friday and continuing on Saturday at the Sinclair with the Deadly Gentlemen’s Ball, with Peter Rowan joining Joy Kills Sorrow, Julian Lage, Chris Eldridge and of course the Deadly Gentlemen, featuring Crooked Skill banjoist Greg Liszt. Our other homegrown talent (and recent Improper cover gals) Della Mae had to cancel their Ball appearance because they’re nominated for a Grammy and are going to Sunday’s ceremony. Hope they get lucky!
Speaking of all-star talent, check out Hard Working Americans, a bluesy grassroots-rock supergroup that includes singer/songwriter Todd Snider and Widespread Panic bassist Dave Schools, playing the Brighton Music Hall on Friday. On Saturday, modern roots reggae fans should flock to the Paradise to catch John Brown’s Body, while the Brazilian-born jazz singer Luciana Souza dips into introspective space with her jazz quintet featuring guitarist Lionel Loueke and harmonica player Gregoire Maret at Sanders Theatre. And Sunday finds 311 singer/guitarist Nick Hexum fronting his solo quintet at the Sinclair, offering jazzy funk-rock jams that differ from the commercial alt-reggae-rock of his main gig.
Finally, totally off the beaten path from my YouTube trolling, here’s a full 1970 show by Chicago, oddly introduced by West Coast legend Bill Graham out at Tanglewood, back when that horn-stoked band really cooked with guitarist Terry Kath (RIP), before Peter Cetera and Robert Lamm led the slide into pop pap.