Music Menu, 11/21/08



Neil Halstead Quite a coup for the Muse landing the golden voice of Mojave 3 and former shoegaze guitar wiz of Slowdive – and on a Friday night, no less. Halstead's new one (and only his second solo disc in six years), the sublime Oh! Mighty Engine, is no great departure from the Mojave 3 aesthetic, where subtlety trumps showy, and the legacies of Brit and American folk combine to create something fresh, intimate, and mesmerizing. Highly RIYL for fans of Mark Kozelek/Red House Painters, James Yorkston, Adem, American Music Club, etc. With gogoPilot. The Evening Muse (John Schacht)

Hoots and Hellmouth The Philadelphia-based H&H have a lot of South in their mouths, ably combining elements of gospel, classic rock, gothic murder balladry and early country. Leave your carpetbagger concerns at the door, however: Philly-centric images of cracked Liberty bells and dilapidated buildings (not to mention general misplaced anger) soon give way to the wide open road and closed-to-the-public hootenannies, all laced through with torrents of stand-up bass, wildfire mandolin runs and lush, sweet-tea strumming. With The New Familiars. Visulite Theatre (Davis)

Bruce Robison The Austin, Texas, based singer/songwriter has penned hits for The Dixie Chicks ("Travelin' Soldier"), George Strait ("Wrapped") and Tim McGraw and Faith Hill ("Angry All the Time") – he recorded and released the same songs. He's released seven of his own albums, and will put out a greatest hits disc early in 2009. Puckett's Farm Equipment (Jeff Hahne)

April Verch The Canadian fiddle and step-dancing champion is being brought to the Queen City by the Charlotte Folk Society. The young talent – she's 27 – released two CDs before graduating from high school and now has seven discs to her credit. While she usually plays traditional Ottawa-style tunes from her homeland, she also incorporates Appalachian and other styles. Great Aunt Stella Center (Hahne)

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