Since the ’60s, gifted and intuitive multi-instrumentalist David Bromberg has blurred stylistic lines, effortlessly blending rock, folk, blues and country. Learning guitar from blues titan Reverend Gary Davis, Bromberg hopped on the tail end of the Greenwich Village folk boom, became the “go to” session ace for Doug Sahm, Dylan and others, and launched a solo career characterized by his matter-of-fact baritone, class clown humor and otherworldly incandescence on guitar, fiddle, dobro and mandolin. A musician’s musician on the cusp of fame, Bromberg walked away from the business in 1980, devoting himself to violin-making. After a decades-long sabbatical, the former George Harrison and Grateful Dead collaborator returned with his incendiary flat-picking and warm sense of humor intact. Nowadays touring with a “fuzzy math” quartet that frequently spills over into six or seven members, Bromberg has released the new LP Only Slightly Mad, which channels the laid back eclecticism of his best ’70s efforts. Critics charge that he hasn’t changed his act since those halcyon days, but why should he? Bromberg’s been so ahead of the genre-bending curve that the rest of the world is still trying to catch up. (Pat Moran)
Artists who make up the Triptych Collective have compiled a series of multi-media presentations that focus on the meaning of home and 1930s-era mill strikes in the southern Piedmont. In addition, this special event will also feature dance from the Moving Poets and live music from Ancient Cities and Colby Dobbs. Proceeds raised will benefit Charlotte Family Housing, a nonprofit organization that provides housing assistance to families in need. (Anita Overcash) $10
The star of TLC’s Cake Boss, brings a special holiday show with demonstrations, behind-the-scene stories from his hit TV show, a Q&A session, and cupcake/cake decorating. $35.75-$45.75
JESSICA HERNANDEZ & THE DELTAS
Christened a “voice that speaks directly to us” by legendary Blondie and Richard Hell producer Richard Gottehrer, Detroit’s Jessica Hernandez is edgy, sassy and soulful. After being bounced by Blue Note when the fabled jazz label was devoured by the Universal Music Group borg, Hernandez and her five-piece Deltas found a home with Gottehrer’s Instant Records, where they nestle in the sweet spot between commercial-pop smarts and angsty retro-rock. Riffs from forgotten snot-nosed kids The Nuggets, plus bits of Gogol Bordello’s ethno-punk and Tom Waits’ perpetually dark carnival fuel the Deltas’ high octane garage rock ’n’ soul. Amid a swirl of recklessly woozy trombone, creepy Farfisa, spaghetti noir guitar and jazzy-yet-jack-hammering drums, Hernandez belts with the bluesy pop polish of the Noisettes’ Shingai Shoniwa and the hyper-dramatic brass of Shirley Bassey. Inevitable comparisons to Amy Winehouse miss Hernandez’s elemental appeal by a Motor City mile. Lake Street Dive diva Rachael Price’s retrofitted sophistication hits nearer the mark, but Hernandez rocks harder than Price and LSD, and the Deltas dig deeper into their cinematic grooves.
The era of Emily Post and demure gals was excruciatingly dull and sexually frustrating, so it’s been a relief to all concerned to learn — thanks, Kinsey Reports! — that the girls are just as bawdy and sex-crazed as the boys. And that’s been the dirty little not-so-secret ethos that this Tennessee quartet has been playing up over their three-LP catalog. After a ramshackle, twangy debut and 2012’s riot grrrl-y, garage punk-flavored follow-up, Screws Get Loose, the Darlins’ new one, Blur the Line, smooths over some of the rough edges (courtesy of Roger Moutenot, long-time Yo La Tengo producer) that characterized the outfit before. The message, though, remains the same, summed up best in one of the snarling rockers, “Baby Mae” — “When she’s good she’s great/When she’s bad she’s even better.” Still, while the band’s sonic palette has added nuance, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to expand the songwriting tableau, too, as the message wears a bit thin by the time this one hits the wide grooves. But live, led by firecracker front-woman Jessi Zazu, Those Darlins are anything but meek or demure — and thank heaven for that. (John Schacht)