The Eastern Sea, Lucero and Hugh Laurie highlight this week's Fab Five.
1) If the band name The Eastern Sea conjures thoughts of vagabond vessels embarked on protracted voyages in search of unnamed lands and untold adventure, then perhaps the Austin, Texas, septet has achieved its purpose in selecting a moniker.
Launched in 2005 as a home-tethered project of singer Matthew Hines, the crew of The Eastern Sea soon grew as a way to render Hines' compositions in a live setting.
The audial wanderlust is evident as the band moves from intimate minimalism to heartbreaking pleas for humanity.
Touring in support of its latest CD, Plague, The Eastern Sea plays The Basement Friday, Aug. 24. Tickets are $8/$10. Visit promowestlive.com.
2) Lucero hails from the musical crucible that is Memphis, Tenn., and that heritage is reflected in the band's sometimes grim, gravelly version of country-punk, inflected with flavors of R&B/soul and roots rock. Like an East Coast bar band playing honky-tonk.
One listen to a Lucero classic such as Nights Like These and you'll get what we're talking about.
Lucero plays the Bluestone Friday, Aug. 24. Co-headliners The Heavy will take the stage first.
3) If British actor Hugh Laurie can play a cantankerous American doctor in a popular take on a classic American television model (the medical drama), then perhaps it's fitting that, in his alter-ego career as a musician, he tackles a quintessentially American form as well.
Laurie celebrates New Orleans-style blues, applying his piano and vocal talents to a slate of songs on Let Them Talk, a collection of tracks on which he is joined by, among others, Irma Thomas, the legendary
"Queen of New Orleans," bayou blues maestro Allen Toussaint and the inimitable Dr. John.
Laurie is on the road with backup from the Copper Bottom Band. The tour stops at Lifestyle Communities Pavilion Sunday, Aug. 26.
Tickets are $45/$35. Visit promowestlive.com.
4) Echoes of Neil Young and The Jayhawks permeate the thoughtful folk-rock of City Dwelling Nature Seekers.
The quartet emerges from hardscrabble Pittsburgh, Pa., offering up dusty throwback tunes played with instrumentation including mandolin and slide guitar – tunes that would feel most comfortable accompanying black-and-white images.
Not sure if they'll be riding in on a steam locomotive or the more traditional touring van, but either way, CDNS will play at Kafe Kerouac Sunday, Aug. 26. Visit kafekerouac.com.
5) Expect a dance party at Lifestyle Communities Pavilion Wednesday, Aug. 29, courtesy of electro-synth-hop master Derek Smith, aka Pretty Lights. A master in the studio and clubs, he's joined by drummer Adam Deitch for live shows.
12th Planet and Paul Basic open.
Tickets are $30/$35. Visit promowestlive.com.