Lovers Lane
Copernicus Center

Turn Of The Century

| April 26, 2012

Personally, we think the “turn of the century” was accomplished by Dale Earnhart back in ’88, but not many others think of the phrase that way. Tim Eriksen, The Crickle, JD McPherson, and Joel Henderson all transport us to times passed this weekend.

In the case of Tim Eriksen, waaaaay back. A look at the New Englander’s new album title, Banjo, Fiddle And Voice, might suggest he’s some sort of bluegrass peddler, when in fact his influences go back to the Civil War. A master of old shape-note singing (a reason for which he was invited to contribute to the Cold Mountain soundtrack), Eriksen has become an invaluable link to bygone American folk traditions despite his relative youth. We’re still partial to his decade-old rendition of “The Cumberland And The Merrimac,” though Banjo, Fiddle And Voice is filled with never-quaint renditions of some famous tunes, including a version of “Tom Dooley” that makes The Kingston Trio sound like the patterned-shirt/pleated pants outfit they truly were. (Sunday@Uncommon Ground Wrigleyville.)

The assertion that Elvis Presley stole rock ‘n’ roll from black musicians always struck me as odd, because though it’s clear where he got the sound, Presley never sounded especially black. It’s a good think JD McPherson wasn’t around then, because he sounds exactly like Little Richard. Signs And Signifiers (Rounder) might find itself criticized for its contrivances to sound like it was recorded in the ’50s, but those quibbles fade once you start dancing. While his lack of innovation says the music isn’t terribly alive inside him, for a corpse it sure can move. (Friday@Lincoln Hall with Mar Caribe.)

In memory of prolific local musician “Crazy” Tim Rutkowski, Rabid Badger Records began surreptitiously dispersing free copies of Love, A Crazy Compilation – a set that collects Rutkowski’s career work including time with Wilco’s late Jay Bennett, his time in The Eisenhowers with Ike Reilly, in The Crickle with Erich McMann, and more. The compilation will be available this weekend, when The Crickle reunites for the first time in 20 years. (Saturday@Gallery Cabaret.)

Local ex-pat Joel Henderson comes home, and whoops! What’s that on the table? A new album. Locked Doors & Pretty Fences‘s title’s two halves are a pair of mini albums on one disc, though thematically they share the same soulful, singer/songwriter principles. Echoes of The Band’s “The Weight” can be startling particularly this week, and it doesn’t help Henderson that the lyrics to his “Heartless Kisses” don’t transfer an equal amount of heft. But as a companion to the instruction manual-less world of divorced and single 40somethings, it works. Henderson’s been intimate enough with life’s stresses that he doesn’t need to relive them for the sake of gravitas. (Sunday@Space with Kim Richey.)

— Steve Forstneger

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Category: Stage Buzz, Weekly

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