The Patrick McNeese Band
8:30 p.m. May 2 at Natasha's Bistro and Bar, 112 Esplanade. $8. (859) 259-2754. Beetnik.com.
Sirens of Spring Tour III: Mama's Black Sheep, Christine Havrilla and Kiya Heartwood
8 p.m. May 3 at Natasha's. $12.
Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley
9 p.m. May 7 at Natasha's, $15.
A busy week at Natasha's Bistro and Bar gets underway with an even busier weekend.
The first in a series of three important shows spread out over six nights involves a session with the Patrick McNeese Band, and we do mean a session.
With much of Kentucky in the throes of a Derby hangover on Saturday, the quintet — veteran Kentucky songsmith and visual artist McNeese, vocalist and fiddler Maggie Lander, keyboardist Tom Martin, bassist Jesse Pena and percussionist Tripp Bratton — will use its Saturday show at Natasha's as a recording session for its fifth album.
On Sunday, the bistro hosts three female folk-rooted acts that make up the third annual Sirens of Spring Tour. On the bill will be tour co-founders Mama's Black Sheep (the Baltimore duo of guitarist-vocalist Ashland Miller and drummer-vocalist Laura Cerulli) and Philadelphia songwriter-multi-instrumentalist Christine Havrilla (who is taking a solo break from her band Gypsy Fuzz).
A familiar name rounds out the bill: longtime local favorite Kiya Heartwood, whose bands Radio Café, Stealin Horses and Wishing Chair, along with extensive solo work, have made her a vital part of Lexington music for more than three decades.
Jumping ahead to Thursday, we have the return of Rob Ickes, perhaps the most critically lauded and stylistically daring dobro player active in the bluegrass field outside of Jerry Douglas.
Ickes has devoted much of the past 20 years to work with the celebrated bluegrass band Blue Highway, although his solo albums and side projects have revealed a strong preference for jazz and progressive grass settings. His newest project, however, is a traditional country collaboration with East Tennessee vocalist and guitarist Trey Hensley. The duo issued a joint album in 2014 titled Before the Sun Goes Down.
"When I hear something in a talent that's really interesting to me, I want to spread the word," Ickes said before a WoodSongs performance with Hensley in October. "But having said that, it's fun for me, too. I just like working with him. I get to play lap steel when we play our band stuff, which is something I've been wanting to get into more lately. I'm just inspired by the guy's music."
■ Although it has maintained fan followings throughout the country and in Europe over the years, homeward bound performances by the long-running Central Kentucky guitar crunch troupe Nine Pound Hammer are usually relegated to annual visits. Friday night brings one of them. Still with founding members Blaine Cartwright and Scott Luallen at the helm, Nine Pound Hammer brings its punk-metal and cowpunk powered songs to Cosmic Charlie's, 388 Woodland Ave. (10 p.m.; $8 in advance, $10 day of show). For tickets, call (859) 309-9499 or go to Cosmic-charlies.com.
■ Folk is always at the heart of the music showcased at the weekly tapings of the WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour. But Monday's session at the Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center, 300 East Third, reaffirms the program's mission with a visit from one of the torchbearers of the 1960s Greenwich Village folk boom, Tom Paxton. Now a recipient of a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, Paxton will perform on a bill with Appalachian song stylist (and Berea College grad) Sam Gleaves (6:45 p.m., $20). For reservations, call (859) 252-8888.