By Thomas Samph
This month’s music selection is all about trying something new. One of my selected artists recorded her entire album in a church. One guy kissed another guy on stage at an awards show that was on live TV. And another group brings together nine solo acts under one dirty name that has now become synonymous with indie pop.
June 6, Patty Griffin at House of Blues
More than 20 other musicians pooled their talents on Patty Griffin’s latest album Downtown Church, which was recorded entirely in a church in Nashville, Tennessee. Most notably among those artists making guest appearances on the album are folk, country, and rock singers and composers, Emmylou Harris, Shawn Colvin, and Buddy Miller. Downtown Church is Griffin’s first venture into religious music, and her sweet, soothing voice joins perfectly with the album’s diverse musical genres. Whether it’s an up-beat traditional gospel tune with a bluegrass edge featuring a background chorus of soul singers (Move Up), a moving duet with Julie Miller over a lonely piano (Coming Home To Me), or a thick blues rag about a heavy drinking husband (I Smell A Rat), Patty Griffin’s voice fits the part.
June 12, Holly Golightly at The Middle East
She may share the same name as Audrey Hepburn’s character in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, but this Holly Golightly plays guitar and sings the blues. The sound of Golightly’s music conjures images of a band playing oversize, hollow-body guitars alongside a pearl inlay, thick-sounding drum kit in a dim-lit, smokey dive bar. It’s the best of the 1960s rockabilly scene brought into the 21st century, and unlike what Amy Winehouse did with the genre, there’s no rehab for Golightly (that we know of).
June 18, The New Pornographers at House of Blues
When The New Pornographers get together to make an album, it’s kind of like throwing all your favorite foods into a blender and having an incredible new creation come out that you love even more than what you put in. The band’s members are all successful solo artists, but when they come together they form this distinctive pop ensemble. After previous albums, the band’s members had scheduling conflicts because of their multiple side projects and solo acts. Their current tour, however, features all of the musicians you’ll hear on their new record, Together, so hear them before they aren’t. Together is the band’s fifth album and it’s undeniably a New Pornographers production with signature intricate harmonies, unique voices, catchy melodies, and refreshingly creative song crafting.
June 24, Adam Lambert at the MGM Grand at Foxwoods
The Parents Television Council (PTC) cringed when Adam Lambert made out with a guy from his band on stage at the 2009 American Music Awards. Hoping for the downfall of the openly gay American Idol runner-up, the PTC told other viewers to phone in their complaints. A few people called in, but Lambert’s album For Your Entertainment still reached third position on the Billboard 200 list. And in Lambert’s defense, he did warn the audience and viewers at home each time he sang the song’s chorus leading up to the kiss: “Do you know what you go into/Can you handle what I’m about to do/Cause it’s about to get rough for you/I’m here for your entertainment.” The album features songs written by other big name artists like Pink (Whataya Want From Me), Matthew Bellamy of Muse (Soaked), and Justin Hawkins of The Darkness (Music Again).
June 27, Madeleine Peyroux at the Berkelee Performance Center
Unlike previous albums that have been compilations of cover songs molded into her own down tempo jazz and blues style, Madeleine Peyroux’s latest album, Bare Bones, is the first she has released that features all songs written by her. Having spent a large part of her childhood growing up in Paris, Peyroux’s music has a ssignificant French influence, and her voice takes on an Edith Piaf-esque classic warmth. With her classic, rich alto tone, Peyroux’s style seems to draw from singers like Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday.
Michael Franti – June 4 – House of Blues
Brian Jonestown Massacre – June 4 – Paradise Rock Club
Jeff Beck – June 4 – MGM Grand at Foxwoods
The Dexateens – June 4 – T. T. The Bear’s Place
Matt Pond PA – June 5 – Great Scott
Patty Griffin – June 6 – House of Blues
Erykah Badu – June 6 – Orpheum
Asteroid #4 – June 9 – Great Scott
Jethro Tull – June 10 – MGM Grand
Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad – June 10 – Paradise Rock Club
Holly Golightly – June 12 – Middle East
Steve Miller Band – June 13 – MGM Grand
Jordin Sparks – June 13 – Orpheum
Jethro Tull – June 15 – Bank of America Pavilion
Tony Allen – June 15 – Middle East
Bangalore India Fusion Scene – June 16 – Ryles Jazz
The Most Serene Republic – June 17 – Great Scott
The New Pornographers – June 18 – House of Blues
In Like Lions – June 18 – Church
Cuddle Magic – June 18 – Club Passim
Lionel Richie – June 18 – MGM Grand
James Taylor – June 19 – TD Garden
Villagers – June 19 – Armory
Brendan Boogie – June 19 – Lizard Lounge
ThingNY – June 19 – Lily Pad
Field Effect – June 22 – The Beehive
Adam Lambert – June 24 – MGM Grand
Madeleine Peyroux – June 27 – Berkelee Performance Center
50 Cent – June 24 – House of Blues
2AM Club – June 30 – Middle East