Tuned In: Ken Maiuri on Valley music
British guitarist Albert Lee is known for his unique way of picking the strings, as well as his speedy and clean style, influenced by masters like Scotty Moore, James Burton and Jerry Reed. Over the years he’s won multiple awards from Guitar Player magazine for “Best Country Guitarist,” and the Music Man guitar company even created his own special model with his signature on the headstock.
But despite all the accolades, the soft-spoken guitarist isn’t a household name — although the “musician’s musician” is spoken of with highest regard by people who are household names, like Eric Clapton and Emmylou Harris. The latter once had Lee in her band and said he was a “brilliant guitar player. His sound is unmistakable, often emulated, never equalled. When St. Peter asks me to chronicle the highlights of my time down here on earth, I’ll be able to say (with pride if that’s allowed) that for a while I played rhythm guitar in a band with Albert Lee.”
Thanks to YouTube you can still see Lee tearing it up in Harris’ band in 1977 (on his tune “Country Boy,” which later became a hit for Ricky Skaggs), and luckily for local music fans, Lee will be at the Iron Horse in Northampton on Saturday at 7 p.m. Forward Motion starts off the night.
Nelson Lunding, who lived in New Orleans for 14 years until Hurricane Katrina brought destruction to his neighborhood, plays New Orleans blues/jazz piano at the Arts Block in Greenfield Friday at 8 p.m.
Heavy psychedelic Amherst-based quartet Outer Stylie shares a bill with Gang of Thieves at Bishop’s Lounge in Northampton Friday at 9:30 p.m.
Fela Kuti is an inspiration to many bands these days, both local (Shokazoba, AstroBeast) and national, such as EMEFE, pictured below. It’s the new group from Miles Arntzen, the drummer of Antibalas (another famously Fela-loving outfit), and it includes a four-piece horn section. See EMEFE at the Iron Horse Friday at 10 p.m. Opening the show is fusion-funky local band Mammal Dap (featuring Rhees Williams on bass, Zack Cross on keyboards and Killian Karlsson on guitar).
Unbuckled Records is an East Longmeadow-based record label making a move to Boston, but before they go, they’ve put together a celebratory all-day concert — “Dog Day Festival” — at the Elevens in Northampton on Sunday from 1 p.m. to 1 a.m. A total of 25 bands from all over the East Coast will appear, including Maker, Chalk Talk, Foreign Tongues, The Weeds, Long Lost, Sunning, Fire Starter, Bellwether, Trophy Wives and many more.
The Parlor Room in Northampton is back from a summer hiatus, reopening their doors for two shows with Valley favorite Eilen Jewell on Thursday at 7 and 9 p.m. Jerry Miller opens.