The quirk of Charlie Worsham’s impressive first album, “Beginning of Things,” is that it isn’t. The country songsmith and broad-minded musical stylist released a debut record, “Rubberband,” four years ago this month. But the new work is perhaps a truer beginning for the Berklee School of Music-trained Mississippi native. It’s obviously country in intent, but its soft-spoken heartbreak songs seem refreshingly non-formulaic, be it through the literary scope of their narrative introspection (as in “Old Time’s Sake”) or the wide-open musical palette — a touch of twang here, a dance-savvy groove there — that colors their soundscapes (as in “Please People Please”).
Even his Sunday show at The Burl isn’t really the beginning of things for Worsham in Lexington. He played as recently as April with his Warner Bros. Records labelmate Brandy Clark for “The WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour.” But this weekend gives us a full headlining set of his musically rich, lyrically unassuming songs.
With: I’m With Her, Julian Lage. 8 p.m August 12 at the Taft Theatre, 317 E. Fifth St. in Cincinnati. $32.50-$52.50. 800-745-3000. Tafttheatre.org, punchbrothers.com, imwithherband.com, lageeldridge.com.
Chick Corea Elektric Band/Bela Fleck and the Flecktones
Here we have two multi-act shows playing in separate Cincinnati venues representing very different musical perspectives.
Taking over the Taft Theatre on Saturday will be an unplugged Americana summit titled American Acoustic. The three primary components of this touring package are Punch Brothers, the bluegrass-rooted upstart troupe led by mandolinist and current “Prairie Home Companion” host Chris Thile; I’m With Her, the all-star female trio of Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz and Aoife O’Donovan; and genre-jumping guitarist Julian Lage, whose connection to this company is a collaboration with Punch Brother guitar man Chris Eldridge. But links exist all over the place with this crew. Watkins and Thile formed two-thirds of the popular bluegrass-pop trio Nickel Creek, and O’Donovan has collaborated with Thile on myriad projects.
Expect plenty of collaborations among the three co-piloting acts, along with a repertoire that has so far boasted, alongside each artist’s original music, compositions running from Debussy to Radiohead.
Then, on Sunday, two juggernaut fusion troupes led by two pioneering instrumentalists — the Chick Corea Elektric Band and Bela Fleck and the Flecktones — move in to the PNC Pavilion of Riverbend Music Center. Pianist and keyboardist Corea and banjo titan Fleck have toured several times as an acoustic duo, but this marks the first double-bill pairing of their popular electric instrumental groups.
Both ensembles will feature their complete original lineups and will stick largely to music from the albums they popularized over the past three decades.
The show you won’t see
Speaking of Riverbend, there is one major event at the venue’s larger stage that won’t be happening this weekend. Saturday was supposed to mark the return of Linkin Park to the region. The band canceled its entire North American tour after the death of frontman Chester Bennington on July 20. The singer was found dead in his California home, a victim of suicide by hanging.
Riverbend posted on its website that it will be open Saturday for a two-hour evening memorial in Bennington’s honor:
“Many fans of Linkin Park have reached out asking for a memorial on Saturday, Aug. 12. Riverbend Music Center will designate an area for people to gather on the 12th between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. to remember the life and music of Chester Bennington. Anyone attending is asked to enter through Gate 5 off Kellogg Avenue, and they will be directed on where to go. If you or someone you know needs support, please call Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-8255.”