HEY, MR. TAMBOURINE MAN, PLAY THAT SONG FOR ME: There's a gentleman coming to town this week who goes by the name Bob Dylan. We have very little information on him at press time, save that he's a 61 year-old singer/guitarist with a crack band who plays his own fresh interpretations of some of the finest songs in the folk/rock tradition in the American canon. A brief list of tunes the guy covers: "Like a Rolling Stone," "Tangled Up in Blue," "The Times They Are A-Changin'," "Subterranean Homesick Blues," "Visions of Johanna," "Mr. Tambourine Man," "Every Grain of Sand," "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue," "Positively 4th Street," "Just Like a Woman," "I Shall Be Released," "Knocking on Heaven's Door," "All Along the Watchtower," "Forever Young," "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right," "Girl From the North Country," "It's Alright Ma, I'm Only Bleeding," "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall," "When I Paint My Masterpiece," and "Desolation Row," as well as a few newer classics, like "Cold Irons Bound," "Love Sick," and "Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum."
Frankly, beyond the fact that he's got impeccable taste in music, we're not sure how this sexagenarian still manages to sell out venue after worldwide venue, or really what all the fuss is about. We have, however, heard that his performances of the last several years are some of the finest of his career.
Bob Dylan, the greatest songwriter ever to set pen to paper, appears at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 23, at the Anselmo Valencia Tori Amphitheatre at Casino Del Sol. Tickets are $25 to $50 plus service charges, and may be purchased by calling 321-1000, or online at www.ticketmaster.com.
BLUE LIGHT SPECIAL: The Tucson Blues Society's 18th Annual Tucson Blues Week, which began on Monday, continues throughout the week with a wide scope of performances and workshops at a variety of locations, culminating in the Tucson Blues Festival on Sunday, October 20. The festival, which runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., at the Georges DeMeester Performance Center at Reid Park, at 22nd St. and Country Club, will feature performances from Gary Primich, the Beat Daddys, Hans Olsen, Grams & Krieger and friends, Lisa Otey and her band, Catacoustic Groove, and Earl Edmonson, as well as inductions into the Arizona Blues Hall of Fame, and an all-star jam. All events in the series are free, with a $5 suggested donation. For updates and more information, keep your radio dial tuned to KXCI, 91.3 FM, or call the TBS hotline at 887-2126.
SOCIETY PAGE: After the tragic death of founding member Tim Taylor, Ohio new-wave-meets-guitars combo Brainiac, which would have fit far better into the current rock landscape than it did during its tenure (1992-1997), had virtually no choice but to break up. The band's guitarist, John Schmersal, hightailed it to New York and began recording singles under the moniker Enon. Eventually, it came time to tour, and Schmersal enlisted a couple of the art freaks from Skeleton Key (highly underrated, while we're on the subject), and Enon became a full-fledged band. That lineup released the band's excellent debut, Believo (2000, See Thru Broadcasting), before the Skeleton Key boys unlocked the door to other opportunities. The current roster, which includes Schmersal, Toko Yasuda (formerly of Blonde Redhead) and Matt Schulz, released the band's second album, High Society, earlier this year on Touch & Go.
Like its predecessor, it's a truly schizophrenic work, the kind in which, if someone told you it was a compilation of various artists, you just might believe them. It's decidedly sunnier in disposition than Believo, with some serious pop hooks lurking underneath the quirky, electronic blurps and indie guitars, and Yasuda's vocal contributions add yet another facet to the already-all-over-the-map proceedings.
Enon appears on Sunday, October 20, at Solar Culture Gallery, 31 E. Toole Ave. The Helio Sequence opens at 9 p.m. For more information call 884-0874.
LO AND BEHOLD: Not to be confused with his doppelganger, Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, Jason Loewenstein (the original J-Lo--sorry) is a founding member of lo-fi-gone-hi-fi indie rockers Sebadoh, along with Lou Barlow. Over the last several Sebadoh albums, Loewenstein has raised his profile with the band, writing and singing roughly half the band's songs, which is both a good thing (see Bakesale) and a not-so-good thing (see The Sebadoh). Regardless, with Barlow off pursuing the Folk Implosion or another of his 134 side projects, Sebadoh is currently on hiatus.
Said hiatus gave Loewenstein a chance to record his first solo album, At Sixes and Sevens, released earlier this year on Sub Pop. And a solo album it is, in every sense of the word, with Loewenstein writing, singing and playing every single sound heard on it. Sixes ranges from mid-tempo rock tunes in the tradition of Foo Fighters to sludgy, '70s-style acid-drenched blues-rockers that occasionally resemble one of those guitar-grinders found on each and every Sebadoh album. Someone put the album on at a party I was at recently, and immediately a handful of partygoers asked what it was, which is a pretty good sign, though it's unlikely to end up on anyone's "best of" list at the end of the year.
Jason Loewenstein performs on Tuesday, October 22, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Ladies and Gentlemen and The Strawmen kick off the proceedings at 9 p.m. Seven bucks gets you entry. Questions? Call 622-8848.
JUST IN CASE: Following stints in '70s power-poppers The Nerves, the seminal trio that also included The Beat's Paul Collins, and The Plimsouls, the '80s power-pop band best known for its classic single, "A Million Miles Away," Peter Case recast himself as a folk-rock solo dude who never forgot that a good hook will get you everywhere. Starting with his self-titled solo debut in 1986, Case has embarked on an increasingly roots-entwined, chance-taking road, penning stunning narratives that explore virtually all subgenres of Americana along the way. The highly underrated singer/songwriter has just released his eighth studio album, Beeline (Vanguard), which ventures outside his homeland to toss in some Eastern influences.
Peter Case performs two solo sets beginning at 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 19, at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St. Admission is $7. For more information call 798-1298.
PERFECT HARMONY: The Original Harmony Ridge Creekdippers, featuring husband and wife duo Mark Olson and Victoria Williams, he of former Jayhawks fame and she of charmingly quirky voice (once memorably described as "Mickey Mouse on helium"), bring their loose, down-home style back to town this week. They've both got new albums out, too: his, December's Child (Dualtone), keeps with the Creekdippers' trend of homespun, well-crafted narratives, and is notable in that it features a collaboration with his former Jayhawks bandmate, Gary Louris; hers, Sings Some Ol' Songs (also on Dualtone), finds Williams wrapping her distinctive voice around standards from the American songbook ("My Funny Valentine," "As Time Goes By," and "Moon River," for example). A typical Creekdippers show finds the two trading off songs, with Williams often playing Emmylou to Olson's Gram, and comes highly recommended.
The Original Harmony Ridge Creekdippers perform at 9 p.m. on Sunday, October 20, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Admission is $10. For more information call 622-8848.