It's another action-packed week here in the Old Pueblo, so let's get right to it. To start, three local acts will be celebrating new albums with CD-release parties.
With the advent of digital home-recording technology, just about anyone these days can make a decent-sounding album. The Dusty Buskers take that concept a bit further on their second album, A Hypomanic Evening With ... (Old Bisbee). The 2009 TAMMIES winners in the Bluegrass category performed a live set in KXCI FM 91.3's Studio 2A and had station engineer Ginger Doran record it; they mixed it, then pressed up a bunch of CDs, and bang! A new album. Dudes didn't even have to buy Pro Tools, and they ended up with a great representation of what it is they do: They take traditional Celtic folk and Americana songs and put their own sped-up, raucous spin on them.
For this set, though, they went a bit outside of their comfort zone. Alongside public-domain songs like "Wabash Cannonball" and "Wild Rover," they throw in not just traditional songs by Woody Guthrie and Doc Watson, but also covers of songs by Tom Waits ("I Don't Wanna Grow Up") and the Dead Milkmen. (Who knew "Punk Rock Girl" would make such a great bluegrass song?) The set was recorded last year, in the band's trio configuration, so there's no mandolin here, but it's not really missed. A Hypomanic Evening With ... is about as good of a warts-and-all representation of the group's spirited live performances as they could possibly conjure.
The Dusty Buskers' CD-release party begins at 10:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 26, at Che's Lounge, 346 N. Fourth Ave. As always, admission is free. Call 623-2088.
Earlier that same night, on the other side of the Fourth Avenue underpass (man, I love saying that), at Club Congress, the lovely voiced young country singer-songwriter Connor Cecil performs to fete the release of One Time Too Many, his second full-length album. Though we didn't receive a copy of the new album, the set Cecil turned in at our TAMMIES ceremony earlier this month (he was a finalist in the Country/Western category) showcased his polished—but not slick—hook-filled songs and proved to be a guy who, at only 24, is more self-assured in his stage presence than most at his age.
Doors for Cecil's all-ages release party at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., open at 7 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 26. The $10 cover charge includes a copy of One Time Too Many. Call 622-8848 with questions.
Kristin Chandler moved to Tucson with her multi-instrumentalist husband, Michael James Zimmerman, from Portland, Ore., in 2006, leaving behind, according to a press release "a great band and her Northwestern fan base." Based on her second album, Deja, it seems she put together a band here that's pretty darn good, too. Deja encompasses elements of jazz, blues, soul, reggae, funk and world music, and Chandler boasts a wonderful voice that is sultry when it needs to be, playful and powerful at other turns. This type of music can carry a bit of schmaltz that can be tough—for me, anyway—to stomach, but on Deja, which was recorded at Wavelab Studio, Chandler and her band sidestep that pitfall to an enjoyable end.
Kristen Chandler and her band, plus a few special guests, perform at 7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 25, at Old Town Artisans, 201 N. Court Ave. Admission to the all-ages show is $5, and free for children 12 and younger. For more info, head to kristenchandler.org.
The Tucson Musicians Museum inducts its 2009 nominees this week in a ceremony that also includes a slate of fine performances.
This year's inductees are Tom Ervin, László Veres, Kevin Schramm, Rochelle Magee, Neil Harry, Joe Martinez, Michael Montiel, John Markovich, Lew Leply, Larry Diehl, and the late Mickey Greco and Chris Gaffney.
The performing headliner at the event is legendary sax player Bobby Keys, who has played and/or recorded with everyone from John Lennon to Barbra Streisand, and Carly Simon to Elvis Presley—but he is perhaps best known for his work with the Rolling Stones. He'll be backed by the George Howard Band at this performance. (Note: Keys will perform in Tucson four more times over the next week: Tuesday, Sept. 29, at the Rialto Theatre; Friday, Oct. 2, at Nimbus Brewery; and twice on Saturday, Oct. 3: a dinner show at Boondocks Lounge, and a nighttime performance at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort. All will benefit the Tucson Musicians Museum.)
Also scheduled to perform at the museum nominee event are the Ronstadt Family Quartet; Dean Armstrong and the Arizona Dance Hands; Rochelle Magee with the GMWA Mount Calvary Choir; Lew Lepley and his jazz band; Mariachi Luz de Luna; Joe Martinez; Mike Montiel; Kevin Schramm backed by the Last Call Girls; and Neil Harry alongside Chuck Wagon and the Wheels.
The event takes place on Sunday, Sept. 27, at the Scottish Rite Cathedral, 160 S. Scott Ave. An optional dinner for $10 begins at 5:30 p.m., with food provided by 12 local restaurants; the musical showcase begins at 6:30 p.m. Admission is a $25 donation that will benefit the Tucson Musicians Museum Mentorship Program, which pairs local musicians with underserved youth. A silent auction and raffle will also be offered. For more information, head to tucsonmusiciansmuseum.org.
We're getting short on space, but we've barely scratched the surface of all the great stuff happening this week.
Although he's released only a four-song EP since his last visit to town (read a review of that EP at TAMMIES.com), Justin Vernon, aka Bon Iver, graduates from clubs to the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St., on Monday, Sept. 28.
Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., hosts two of the more remarkable female singer-songwriters out there right now on back-to-back nights. The amazing Jolie Holland performs an early show with opener Matt Bauer on Wednesday, Sept. 30. Then, next Thursday, Oct. 1, Ingrid Michaelson, who sold out the club twice the last time she visited town, performs another early show.
Sandwiched between the two is a late show on Wednesday, Sept. 30, featuring dance-punk ensemble !!! (Chk Chk Chk), which will also likely sell out.
Sergio Mendoza y la Orkesta, who packed the Rialto for a mind-blowing performance a couple of months ago, return to the venue for another mambo dance party on Saturday, Sept. 26.
Flagrante Delicto will present the "Flagrante Delicto Big Band Experience" at 8 p.m., Friday, Sept. 25, at Parasol Project, 299 S. Park Ave. The show is a retrospective of the group's five-year career: Every incarnation of the band's evolution will be represented, including a set backing rapper Shaun Harris and a grand finale featuring all six of the band's members, past and present.
The final round of the SABHF Blues Challenge, featuring performances by the five finalists—Crosscut Saw, Sweet Willie D Blues Band, Black Cat Bones, Tom Walbank and Arthur Migliazza, and the Earthlingz—begins at 1 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 27, at Club Congress.
Also of note: a Tribute to Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash to benefit the Tucson Folk Festival at the VFW Post #4903, 1150 N. Beverly Ave., on Saturday, Sept. 26 (tucsonfolkfest.org for more info); world music violinist Arvel Bird and his band, Many Tribes, One Fire, at the DesertView Performing Arts Center, 39900 Clubhouse Drive on Saturday, Sept. 26 (saddlebrooketwo.com for more info); Robert Earl Keen at the Rialto on Wednesday, Sept. 30; the Latin Jazz Festival at the Leo Rich Theatre featuring Pancho Sanchez on Friday, Sept. 25, and Lucky 7 Mambo on Saturday, Sept. 26; Asobi Seksu, Umbrella Bird and Seashell Radio at Plush on Tuesday, Sept. 29; The Ataris, Crossing Sarnoff and AV at Congress on Monday, Sept. 28; Stareater, the Sian Alice Group and Some of Them Are Old at Plush on Friday, Sept. 25; Poison the Well, Scorned Embrace, and When Death Becomes You at The Rock on Monday, Sept. 28.
There's still plenty we couldn't fit here, so be sure to check our club listings for the full picture.