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Thursday, September 26, 2013
A street festival in Bedford has its most ambitious lineup yet, while a small Roanoke venue continues its tradition of bringing in some of the finest acts from around the planet.
Here is a breakdown of five nights of tunes at Kirk Avenue Music Hall — starting tonight — plus the music at Saturday’s Bedford Centerfest.
Days of music
Kirk Avenue Music Hall is packing in the talent over the next several days. It begins tonight, with a rising Americana star, Aoife O’Donovan , and ends on Monday with onetime Men at Work frontman Colin Hay.
O’Donovan’s new record, “Fossils,” opens with “Lay My Burden Down,” an original number that is better known from Allison Krauss’ cover from the album “Paper Airplanes.”
But that song and the entire disc show that O’Donovan, formerly of the band Crooked Still , has her own distinct vibe. Though her voice is reminiscent of Krauss, she brings an edge to both her vocals and her songs.
Friday’s headliner, Will Kimbrough , is a prolific songwriter — Little Feat, Todd Snider and Jimmy Buffett are among those who have recorded covers of Kimbrough songs. He is also a treasured sideman, playing guitar for the likes of Rodney Crowell, Guy Clark , Josh Rouse , Billy Joe Shaver and Emmylou Harris.
The Coal Men, with Reagan Boggs , hit on Saturday. Both acts have strong new records. The Coal Men, a powerful live act, recently released “Escalator,” while Boggs just released “Quicksand.” Boggs will open the show, with The Coal Men backing her, then the band will close the show with its own set.
Chris Knight, a singer/songwriter whose music sounds and feels real, has typically played Kirk Avenue as a solo act. When he comes on Sunday, he’ll bring a full band. Those players will back him on songs from a deep catalog that includes his newest record, “Little Victories.”
Onetime MTV superstar Colin Hay headlines the room on Monday. Hay, from Australia via Scotland, first came to America’s attention in the 1980s, with hits such as “Who Can It Be Now,” “Down Under” and “Overkill.” In the years since the band split, Hay has had a nice solo career, with albums including his latest, “Gathering Mercury,” and last year’s 30th anniversary re-recording of “Down Under.”
Advance tickets available at kirkavenuemusic.com
Go to blogs.roanoke.com/cutnscratch to hear a podcast with O’Donovan.
Bedford Centerfest 2013
Brooklyn, N.Y., band Yarn comes into Centerfest on Saturday with music from a soon-to-be-released CD, “Shine the Light On.”
Yarn, whose sets at FloydFest, Martin’s Downtown and the now-defunct Growler’s have built them a strong reputation in the valleys, is getting pre-release publicity from the likes of Rolling Stone magazine.
The RS website recently offered “The Truth of My Sweet Anna Lee” for free download, accompanied by a short article in which the band’s frontman/songwriter, Blake Christiana , talked about co-writing that song with John Oates, of Hall & Oates fame.
Oates also co-wrote the track “Tear Me Down.” Hear the whole disc and more from this high-quality, real country act at soundcloud.com/yarnmusic.
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