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Bluestring -- The accent in this melodic rock band from Athens, GA, is on percussion and horns squirming in and out of the rhythm. They're a jam band with jazzy overtones on funk beats layered over roots-based music. Initial listens may make you turn the dial or reach for the remote, but they'll eventually grow on you with their persuasive playing. Fat City (Shukla)


Acoustic Syndicate -- The Acoustic Syndicate guys have a new disc out on Sugar Hill, Terra Firma, which ought not to leave longtime fans disappointed -- tasteful mandolin, guitar and banjo all wrapped around songs that are more Vince Gill than Bill Monroe, yet still pack a punch. They don't break off string-popping solos on every song, which makes it all the more pleasing when they cut loose. Visulite Theatre (Davis)

Kim Wilson's Blues Revue -- This blues vocalist and harmonica player has been around more than two decades with stalwarts Fabulous Thunderbirds, solo outings and this occasional touring outfit. It's tried and true blues running the gamut of blues-rock, straight up Chicago blues and more. The properly placed harp riff gives this revue its full-bodied momentum. Double Door Inn (Shukla)


Alex De Grassi -- There's no doubt of De Grassi's prowess on guitars, but it's his detours into eclectic combos such as Tatamonk that are a heck of a lot more interesting than his light jazz/new age explorations. An appealing sidebar for De Grassi are the tracks played on something called a Sympitar, a guitar made to sound like a sitar with secondary resonating strings. In the end, much of his output of crystal clear picking can sound too precise as to lose warmth and invariably turn into lullabies for adults. Neighborhood Theatre (Shukla)

Baleen / Dynamite Bros. -- Expect the raucous blooze trio that is the Dynamite Brothers to help bring out the scrawk in the chameleonic Baleen, who are able to choose between three or four sets of different mood-colored tunes on a given night, depending on the audience or venue or supporting act. It's all good stuff, but those nights when sax/vibes player Tony McCullough severs his ties with reality and floats off into an eyes-closed musical ether are more than worth the price of admission. With Andrew, Nick and Charlie, a band which features Andrew Webster from Memphis Quick 50. Visulite Theatre (Davis)

Naked Blue -- Jennifer and Scott Smith are a duo known as Naked Blue. It's lilting, middle of the road folk-pop that's non-invasive and easy on the ears. That also works against them as a same-feel permeates much of the tunes. But Naked Blue also performs as a full-fledged band, so things could possibly get more interesting. The Evening Muse (Shukla)

Vienna Teng -- Pianist and singer Teng recorded most of her debut full-length, Waking Hour, while studying at Stanford. After graduating, she took a job as a computer engineer but quit this past spring to try her hand at being a full-time musician. It worked, mostly due to Teng's catchy Norah Jones-ish melding of classical influences and pop flourish, as well as a no-nonsense (and nonstop) marketing campaign. Speaking of catchy, Teng was recently on shingles-stricken David Letterman's Late Show. With Allyson Light. The Evening Muse (Davis)


Laura Blackley Band -- Laura beckons the casual listener to peek inside smoke-filled clubs of days gone by, where acoustic blues had a country tinge. The dives and gin joints of North Carolina are peppered around dusty roads of roots-drenched American dreams gone sour. Blackley and cohorts tell tales from travels and road trips on such byways. With Rosey Haze. Puckett's Farm Equipment (Shukla)


John Scofield Band -- A musician's musician, Scofield has reenergized his career on the jam circuit, thanks to compatriots like Medeski Martin and Wood and his own band, which blends jazz and funk with some early 70s Charlie Haden-style high-step jazz soul. A fave of the Guitar World set, Scofield's also got his fans at Jazziz, Down Beat and all the other jazzbo rags, thanks to a long and illustrious career as both a sideman and band leader. Indeed, this white boy can play the funky music. Visulite Theatre (Davis)


Pearl Jam / Sleater-Kinney -- At this point in their career, Pearl Jam has become something of the wise old conscience of 90s alt.rock, having fought Ticketmaster, Clear Channel, hair loss, drummer loss, and loss of radio play. What they have done is retool themselves as a sort of modern-rock Grateful Dead, playing their countless hits along with standards from across the years, with every show's set being different (and sold online). Neighbors Sleater-Kinney have garnered enough critical huzzahs to make Joni Mitchell blush, and for good reason. If Pearl Jam and Co. helped kill off hair bands, the howl of S-K's Corin Tucker might have helped nail shut the revolving door of grunge pretenders -- thank God or Greil Marcus. Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre (Davis)

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