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Music Menu

CL previews upcoming shows

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WEDNESDAY, MARCH 19

Gregory Isaacs The Kingston great may be better known as Jamaica's "Cool Ruler," a nickname donned on him in the early '80s after the Cool Ruler album release gained worldwide attention. Isaacs did a short stint in prison due to personal and financial problems and soon after released Red Rose for Gregory in 1988, that solidified his position in the reggae industry. Also playing; Bums Lie and Rootz Underground. Neighborhood Theatre. (Chey Scott)

THURSDAY, MARCH 20

Hymns This Brooklyn quartet has some key Carolina connections: Brian Harding and Jason Roberts grew up playing music in Harrisburg, and they wisely enlisted their old men (one a UNCC music professor) to add splashes of Exile-like horns to their excellent new sophomore release, Travel in Herds. In fact, the entire record feels baked in 1972, with Neil Young, the Band, the Kinks, Arlo Guthrie and the Velvet Underground openly wandering these back pages. But instead of being another dusty tribute disc done by twangy wannabees, the songs manage their own personality and presence, too, making this Herd one you'll want to run with. With the Teenage Prayers and Deer Tick. Milestone (John Schacht)

Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion North Carolina songwriter Johnny Irion and his wife, Sarah Lee Guthrie, literally make beautiful music together. Irion you might know from the now-defunct rock act Queen Sarah Saturday. His wife Sarah Lee Guthrie comes by inclusion naturally: Her father is Arlo Guthrie, and she's the granddaughter of Woody. Irion's '07 release, Ex Tempore, is a most unironic, mostly-solo disc peppered only with Guthrie's lissome lilt and the odd harp run here and there. It's more than enough, thankfully. With Greg Brown. McGlohon Theatre (Timothy C. Davis)

FRIDAY, MARCH 21

Stars Who wants to see Stars? Well, if you're a fan of literate, slightly-askew indie pop/rock, this Canuck quintet more often than not should provide the appropriate wallop. Never afraid of being topical (if in an obtuse way), the band's new In Our Bedroom After The War falls in line lockstep behind '04s Set Yourself On Fire, and the song "He Lied About Death," written about a certain commander in chief (why is it Canadians write all the good anti-war songs?). That said, they're equally at home with chronicling the daily battles of the heart (and just making it through said day), which gives these Stars a world-burnished shine some lesser bands of the same ilk, in their haste to pop-politicize everything, too often lack. Neighborhood Theatre (Davis)

SATURDAY, MARCH 22

Junius Taking loads of cues from one of the '80s music books, that of goth-laced and psych-tinged Brit-rock ala The Cure, Boston's Junius build songs where effects-driven guitars echo and linger. It's an expansive sound custom-made for headphones or collective head swaying. Call it Brit-rock for the digital generation. Also on the bill are Look Mexico and Constants. Tremont Music Hall (Samir Shukla)

Mosadi Raleigh-based funk and hip-hop combo stitch just enough dub riddims into the mix to add a sinewy vibe to vocalist/bassist Shirlette Ammons's urban poetry, rapping and crooning. Her streetwise tales are rapid-fire yet soulful. The quartet obviously loves classic soul and funk, but the foundation is purely hip-hop. Their live shows also rock with a percussive backbeat. With Audioform. Evening Muse (Shukla)

The Blind Boys of Alabama The Boys measure their history not in years, but in decades. The gents in this 60-plus-years gospel and blues institution have adapted their agile harmonies and style over the years without ever slacking on their vibrant gospel tradition. The over-polished contemporary gospel singers can learn volumes from these vocalists, mainly that the message is a personal quest while music is the true gift and a soulful delivery paramount. Their newest is a tribute to the Crescent City aptly called Down in New Orleans. With Mike Farris. Neighborhood Theatre (Shukla)

TUESDAY, MARCH 25

Amp Fiddler Joseph "Amp" Fiddler, a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist from Motor City, has worked his funk and soul craft with numerous bands and musicians, many known and not-so-well known. He emerged on the scene with the largely forgotten 1990 album, Mr. Fiddler. Fiddler's music is stylized R&B, but the threads of classic soul aren't relegated to the backburner; instead they lift his music above myriad like-minded crooners. His most recent recording is the funky Afro Strut. With Tortured Soul. Visulite (Shukla)

Lions The band, which formed in 2005, was the only unsigned act featured on Guitar Hero 3. With heavy riffs, high energy and solid rock and roll base, Lions won't be unsigned for long – if it hasn't already happened. The vocals may not be the strongest, but the music is catchy as hell. They've got that old-school approach reminiscent of Sabbath. Milestone (Jeff Hahne)

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