Music News & Reviews

All the names aren't big, but the music's fine

We present to you today a selection of modest winter delights, a potpourri of fine concert items from perhaps not the biggest names in the land but certainly acts that will warm a weekend in late January.

Enjoy this somewhat leisurely arrangement because everything explodes next weekend, with performances by Joe Lovano, Solas, Jim Brickman, The Band of Heathens and more. For now, savor this midwinter sampler:

Alejandro calling

Time was when Alejandro Escovedo made his way to Lexington every six months or so. Sometimes he would front units full of garage-rock grit. In other instances, his extraordinary songs would be interpreted by guitars, violins and cello. Whatever the occasion, his performances never disappointed.

Escovedo hasn't played here since that night, almost a year ago, an ice storm knocked out power to much of Lexington. We can only hope that a return engagement is in the works. Until then, fans are encouraged to spend Saturday night with Escovedo at Headliners Music Hall, 1386 Lexington Road, Louisville. The great Chapel Hill, N.C., band Roman Candle is scheduled to open. (9 p.m. $18. (502) 584-8088.

Covering Dave

Is the Dave Matthews Band heading to Lexington? Well, not exactly. But the Dave Matthews Tribute Band is. Granted, to have a covers unit devoted to Matthews' brand of hippie jams and moody funk playing at Cosmic Charlie's, 388 Woodland Avenue, on Saturday might not seem like headline news. But the Chattanooga-based Dave Matthews Tribute Band has been a hot club draw for several years and has performed regularly for hearty crowds in Louisville (where, by the way, it plays Friday night). And seeing as the real Matthews Band hasn't played Lexington since 1998, this might well be the closest any fan will get to the live music of Dave and the boys on local turf. (8 p.m. Price TBA. (859) 309-9499;

IIIyrd Tyme this time

The autumn-to-spring concert series of weekend bluegrass concerts at Meadowgreen Park Music Hall, 303 Bluegrass Lane, Clay City, continues this weekend.

On Saturday, Russell Moore and IIIrd Tyme Out will perform music from a new, self-titled recording — the group's 15th album in 18 years but its first since Moore took the helm. Johnny Browning and Cornbread Express will open. (3 and 7 p.m.; $15 for each show. (606) 663-9008;

Prelude to Brandi

Brandi Carlile, the Seattle-area songstress with the cinematic-size voice, is heading to Lexington. That visit, however, won't be until Feb. 8, when she performs for WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour at The Kentucky Theatre. Until then, fans will have to make do with a full headlining evening by the amazing Carlile on Friday at the Brown Theatre, 315 West Broadway in Louisville. (9 p.m. $25. 1-800-775-7777.

Strings and swing

Speaking of WoodSongs, the program has a bit of a dream guitar session in store for its Monday taping at The Kentucky Theatre, 214 East Main Street, when champion Australian fingerpicker Tommy Emmanuel teams with New York gypsy jazz stylist Frank Vignola. The entire program will be devoted to music from the guitarists' fine new album, Just Between Frets. (6:45 p.m. $20. (859) 252-8888;

More guitars

Finally, we have another great guitar summit. The duo of Greek-American finger-tapping stylist Andreas Kapsalis and Balkan folk artist Goran Ivanovic returns to Natasha's Bistro and Bar, 112 Esplanade, on Thursday. Ivanovic will detail the saga of two expatriate guitarists working out of Chicago in Sunday's Life + Art section. (9 p.m. $10. (859) 259-2754.