We have, we hope, already provided ample incentive to catch Amanda Shires’ performance Saturday at The Burl with our interview piece on Page 5. But just in case you require one push more to check out the show, let’s add that opening the evening will be Lilly Hiatt.
The East Nashville songsmith doesn’t dwell on standard tales of hopeful reflection in her lyrics any more than she embraces expected colors of folk and Americana in the music that drapes them. Perhaps that’s why the bio material to her 2015 album, “Royal Blue,” unashamedly tags the record as “not a well-behaved singer-songwriter album.”
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Hiatt’s songs address restlessness and melancholy, but without much by way of waif-like, acoustic backdrops. The songs on “Royal Blue” roar to life with a full ensemble alt-pop sound branded with enough subtle twang that you won’t mistake where she hails from.
The most revealing tune on “Royal Blue?” An initial vote goes to “Somebody’s Daughter,” a quest for personal identity bolstered by fearsome neo-country electricity that can’t help but bring to mind the singer’s esteemed father: veteran songwriter John Hiatt.
Still need convincing? Then let’s have Ms. Shires seal the deal.
“I love Lilly Hiatt’s new record,” Shires said by phone last week. “Selfishly, I’ve been picking out tour support based on people’s music I want to hear. In this business of touring around playing music for good people, I don’t get to go and actively listen to a lot of music because I’m busy performing it. So, selfishly, I’ve brought people I just really admire because of their songwriting on tour with us. I’m so excited to have Lilly with us in Lexington.”
Four for fall
We have four more fall concerts in four cities over the next week to recommend. Here’s the rundown.
▪ Remember Ultravox, the British band that helped write — or, rather, program — the book on British synth-pop during the 1980s? Well, look who is popping into Louisville on Friday night for a club show: Ultravox vocalist Midge Ure. The Scotland-born singer — who has performed with Thin Lizzy, Silk, Rich Kids and Visage and has an extensive solo career — performs at the ultra-intimate The New Vintage, 2126 South Preston Street. (9 p.m., $17, $22). Call 502-749-4050 or go to Newvintagelouisville.com.
Ure’s recent albums include the 2015 concert recording “Breathe Again” and the 2014 studio set “Fragile.”
▪ The rock- and fusion-directed music of the late Frank Zappa has been kept alive and hearty over the past decade by the second-oldest of his four children, Dweezil Zappa. A guitarist who has mastered the complex technical and compositional demands of his father’s work, Dweezil has toured regularly with a powerfully proficient tribute band called Zappa Plays Zappa. Legal squabbles with the Zappa Family Trust have resulted in the guitarist having to jettison the band moniker but not the music. He currently tours under his own name and will bring a boatload of Zappa music to the Madison Theatre, 730 Madison Avenue, in Covington on Saturday (9 p.m., $25, $30). Call 859-491-2444 or go to Madisontheateronline.com.
▪ Understandably, it takes a lot these days to make a case for a midweek road trip. But definitely consider a journey to Cincinnati’s 20th Century Theater, 3021 Madison Road, on Wednesday for a rare solo acoustic performance by Nick Lowe. As a producer, performer and song stylist, Lowe was one of the key architects of post-punk British pop, although recent solo records including “At My Age” suggest a calmer cocktail crooner at work. As a bonus, the masterful pop songsmith Josh Rouse — in many ways a disciple of Lowe sense’s of songcraft — will open the evening (8 p.m., $30, $35). Call 513-731-8000 or go to The20thcenturytheatre.com.
▪ Finally, the newest lineup of Portland, Ore., stately indie-folk, pop brigade Horse Feathers, will headline the next Soulful Space concert at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, 533 East Main Street in Lexington, on Thursday with a few local pals in tow. Mainstay members Justin Ringle and Nathan Crockett will be joined by Lexington guitar mainstay J. Tom Hnatow and drummer Robby Cosenza. Such an alignment suggests that the pastoral, string-savvy atmospherics explored on albums like 2010’s “Thistled Spring,” 2012’s “Cynic’s New Year” and 2014’s “So It Is With Us” will be streamlined somewhat into a leaner quartet sound, but we will leave that for Thursday’s concert to sort out. Daisy Helmuth will open. (7 p.m. $12). Call 859-252-1744 or go to Thesoulfulspace.com/tickets.