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Tuned In by Ken Maiuri

  • —Devin Pedde

  • John Shyloski 


Friday, July 14, 2017

Down-to-earth virtuoso guitarist Julian Lage has collaborated with stars from all over the musical map — vibraphonist Gary Burton, reed man Ben Wendel (from Kneebody), guitarist Nels Cline (Wilco), mandolin maven David Grisman, singer/songwriter/guitarist Margaret Glaspy, pianist Fred Hersch. 

One of his frequent partners is guitarist Chris Eldridge (from the Punch Brothers); they’re friends on the same unique wavelength. They both play vintage Martin guitars from the 1930s and together they mix adventurous jazz, bluegrass and other inspirations. The dynamic duo will play a show at Gateway City Arts in Holyoke on Wednesday at 8 p.m. 

Their latest album together is called “Mount Royal,” which collects original tunes, reimagined versions of bluegrass songs, and even some vocal highlights from Eldridge, especially a cover of John Hartford’s friendly and motormouthin’ “Living In the Mississippi Valley.” 

The record starts off with “Bone Collector,” a mesmerizing and quick-moving five-minute composition, a total journey that starts simply enough: Eldridge keeps a steady, triumphant rhythm on one note of his acoustic guitar, then Lage comes in with a lovely melody that playfully flits between harmony and dissonance. But the song keeps morphing and lifting into unexpected chord colors and moods, and the two musicians take turns being in charge of the solo voice without ever breaking the forward-moving flow. It’s both a gorgeous song and a tour-de-force.

“Greener Grass” ends the album on a breezy note, a gentle, more traditional-sounding gallop that still contains breathtaking chord movement (and some tasty soloing from both Lage and Eldridge). It’s masterful and soulful music made by two inspired musicians and twelve strings — don’t miss the chance to see and hear it performed live. Recommended!

Singer/songwriter Ruth Garbus (whose “Joule” EP was a highlight of 2014) shares a bill with Big Blood and Colby Nathan at The Dream Away Lodge in Becket on Friday, tonight, at 8 p.m.

Local bands And The Neighbors, Robin Lane and Bring It To Bear make up the triple bill at the 13th Floor Music Lounge in Florence tonight, Friday, at 8 p.m.

Boston-based and Berklee-born art-rock band Bent Knee just released its fourth album, “Land Animal,” and they’ll team up with local rockers Ex-Temper at The Iron Horse on Friday, tonight, at 10 p.m.

The “Ladies in Jazz” concert series continues with a show that celebrates music from the big-band era, featuring vocalist and series producer Samirah Evans (pictured) as well as vocalist/pianist Ellen Cogen, backed by guitarist John Mason, bassist George Kaye and drummer Claire Arenius at the Hawks and Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield on Saturday at 7 p.m. Period dress is encouraged, and the dance floor will be open.

Hierofante, a Greenfield/Turners Falls sextet led by guitarist/sax man Victor Signore, brings its groove music (influenced by Ethiopian jazz, Latin rhythms, punk and more) to The Root Cellar in Greenfield on Saturday at 
8 p.m. Starting off the night is rock/soul/jam band Cold Engines.

Singer/songwriter Jamie Kent (once based in Northampton, now Nashville) continues his ascent into the big time — Rolling Stone magazine named him “An Artist You Need To Know” (and The Huffington Post agrees, calling him “A Must-Watch Artist”), and his 2016 record ”All American Mutt” debuted on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart last fall somewhere between John Prine and Dolly Parton. He takes the stage at The Iron Horse on Thursday at 7 p.m. Singer/songwriter Matthew Szlachetka opens.

House and Land, the indie Appalachian folk duo of guitarist Sarah Louise Henson and fiddler Sally Anne Morgan, are on tour supporting their self-titled debut on the Thrill Jockey label. They share a bill with locals Gracious Calamity (the guitars-and-harmonies duo of Kate Lee and Kit Wallach) and improvisational trio Donkey No No at the Brick House Community Resource Center in Turners Falls on Tuesday at 8 p.m.