Ben Sollee and Friends
7 p.m. Nov. 17 at the Lexington Friends Meetinghouse, 649 Price Ave. $30, Bit.ly/2mnNY88.
The road between Louisville and Lexington is relatively short. Still, some of the Derby City’s finest song stylists seldom make the trip our way. This weekend, two of them head to Lexington, in especially intimate settings that should nicely complement the acoustic framework of their songs.
First up will be Joan Shelley, who is touring behind a splendid self-titled recording (her sixth in seven years) cut in Chicago at Wilco’s Loft studio, with band chieftain Jeff Tweedy producing. Anyone suspecting that the alliance would somehow shift Shelley from the lean but spacious sound of her previous work can take comfort that “Joan Shelley” is an expert set of new generation folk-leaning works.
Shelley will perform with longtime guitarist Nathan Salsburg on Saturday (Nov. 18) for a Raven House Living Room Show, so seating will be extremely limited.
Her fans should take note that she will make the trip from Louisville again the week after Thanksgiving for a two-evening, two-venue Commonwealth Cultural Celebration honoring the launch of Oxford American magazine’s Kentucky music issue. Shelley will perform at The Burl, 375 Thompson Road, on Nov. 28 (7 p.m., $10) as part of a bill that includes The Wooks, Tee Dee Young, 1200, Brett Ratliff and Johnny Conqueroo. Then on Nov. 29, she and Ratliff will add music at 21c Museum Hotel, 167 West Main Street during an evening of storytelling emceed by Jason Howard and featuring Leesa Cross-Smith, Erik Reece, Rebecca Gayle Howell, Zandria Robinson, Crystal Wilkinson and Silas House (6 p.m., free).
Louisville might be home for Ben Sollee these days, but this weekend the cellist, songwriter and composer will reconnect with his longstanding Lexington roots with two intimate shows.
He will perform Friday night at the Lexington Friends Meetinghouse on Price Avenue to benefit Kentuckians for the Commonwealth and the American Friends Service Committee. Then on Saturday, Sollee will head to Al’s Bar to celebrate the seventh anniversary of the Broke Spoke Community Bike Shop. Sollee has been a longtime advocate of Broke Spoke and has regularly performed shows to honor its work in refurbishing old bikes as basic transportation for those in need. It has been a fitting alliance, as Sollee undertook several tours early in his solo career using a bicycle as his primary means of transport.
The performance will preface a three-week tour that will take Sollee, his current band Kentucky Native, and the new acoustic music from a strong self-titled album released in August, to the western half of the country beginning Nov. 30.
All Saints Day
Her name is Annie Clark, but pop audiences know her as St. Vincent — a captivating song stylist and concert artist who introduced herself to local audiences with her 2009 breakthrough album, “Actor,” and a performance that year at the since-demolished Dame.
Clark hasn’t been back to Lexington since then, but she has become a semi-regular in Louisville through shows of her own and in a 2013 outing with David Byrne. She will return to the Kentucky Center for the Arts’ Whitney Hall, 501 West Main Street in Louisville, on Nov. 21 (8 p.m.; $37.50-$57.50) to showcase her new “Masseducation” album. The difference this time is Clark will go it alone with her guitar work and backing tracks serving as the only accompaniment.