This Week’s Must-See Shows in NYC

Benji Hughes and Dawn Landes play Rockwood Music Hall on Thursday, February 14.
Benji Hughes and Dawn Landes play Rockwood Music Hall on Thursday, February 14.

Y’all know “25 Degrees of Kevin Bacon”? Sure ya do. In an effort to reduce the amount of sh@$ I’ll get for advocating a non-traditional artist as a top pick for us bluegrass lovers to see this week … let’s play a little game. Here goes: So, Josh Ritter is an undisputedly dandy folk musician (I mean, he created his own college major for God’s sake … and it was “American History Through Narrative Folk Music”). Ritter was married for a lil’ bit to Dawn Landes. Landes has also toured and collaborated with the likes of Andrew Bird and Justin Townes Earle (who are predominately folk-based). This coming V-Day, Landes will play a show with Benji Hughes right here at NYC’s very own Rockwood Music Hall.

DRUM ROLL, PLEASE. And, Hughes is one of my favorite songwriters of all time. We had to play such a silly game, though, to give Americana creedence to music that by most judgments is neither lyrically nor sonically “traditional” when weighed on a “traditional” folk music scale. But if ever there was a time to expand your musical horizons, this is it. I strongly urge you to come check out Hughes’ rare set … and I’m not the only person who thinks so. This guy does, and this guy does, too. You can listen to some of his stuff here. He’s set to release three (yes, three … did someone say “Ryan Adams complex”?) albums in 2013.

Landes ain’t nothin’ to laugh at, either. Check out this awesome cover she and JTE did a couple years ago of a Chet Atkins gem:

But don’t worry, there’s still a ton of awesome banjo to be heard around the apple – like Brown Bird and Joe Fletcher tomorrow and Joe Pug on Sunday, both shows happening at Mercury Lounge.

Here are some more must-sees for the week. And oh yeah, happy Valentine’s day!:
Tuesday, February 12
6:30 p.m. – Brown Bird / Joe Fletcher and the Wrong Reasons at Mercury Lounge
7:00 p.m. – Mumford and Sons / Ben Howard / Haim at Barclays Center

Wednesday, February 13
8:30 p.m. – Sondre Lerche at Lincoln Center’s Allen Room
10 p.m. – Daniel Romano / The Mastersons at The Living Room

Thursday, February 14
6:00 p.m. – Angel Snow at Rockwood Music Hall Stage 1
7:00 p.m. – Elysian Fields / Cassandra Jenkins at le poisson rouge
8:30 p.m. – Mavis Staples at Lincoln Center’s The Allen Room
8:30 p.m. – Dawn Landes / Benji Hughes at Rockwood Music Hall

Friday, February 15
8:00 p.m. – Jeff Mangum at Bardavon Opera House

Saturday, February 16
8:30 p.m. – The Nightwatchman (Tom Morello Acoustic) at Lincoln Center’s Allen Room

Sunday, February 17
7:30 p.m. – Joe Pug at Mercury Lounge

Monday, February 18
9:00 p.m. – Alan Hampton at Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2