1) Donna the Buffalo plays some of the funkiest fiddle music you're likely ever to encounter.
The mid-state New York outfit, led by Tara Nevins and Jeb Puryear, performs its own unique original tunes, inspired by elements of Cajun, folk, reggae and other roots forms, all groovy and danceable, plus traditional Americana songs filtered through this same paradigm.
Nevins is not the aforementioned "Donna." Rumor has it the band adopted its name when a slightly inebriated master of ceremonies mangled the introduction of the original name "Dawn of the Buffalo." The Beat has to admit we like this one better.
Donna the Buffalo plays the Woodlands Tavern Friday, Dec. 14. Tickets are $15. Visit woodlandstavern.com.
2) Modern, progressive folk duo Over the Rhine returns to central Ohio for a Friday, Dec. 14, show at the Lincoln Theatre.
Last year, OtR released The Long Surrender, 20 years after the band's debut recording. At the time, Linford Detweiler (half of OtR with his wife Karin Bergquist) marveled at the notion, telling The Beat, "I think we assumed our little adventure would run its course and then we'd get back to real life. Sooner or later, we realized it was real life."
The couple still makes their home in southwest Ohio (the band takes its name from a historic area of Cincinnati), although a few years back, they moved from the Queen City to a "ramshackle" farm.
Tickets are $28.50. Visit capa.com.
3) Josh Krajcik, the Columbus-via-Wooster singer, should have won the 2011 edition of TV's The X Factor rather than be its runner-up, but his extended presence on the show gave him a leg up nonetheless.
It was just another milestone in a career that has also included singing solos in a cow pasture near his childhood home and later lying about his age to perform in a bar (the 15-year-old claimed to be 22).
Oh, and now recording a CD and making a return visit to this season's X Factor. Along with a return visit to the Newport Music Hall Friday, Dec. 14.
Wet Darlings opens. Tickets are $20/$22. Visit promowestlive.com.
4) For 20 years, CD 102.5-FM's Andymanathon has raised funds for its CD102.5 For the Kids charity. This includes the past three years since the untimely death of its namesake, Andy Davis.
Those three years have also included a benefit concert, this year's third edition to be held Sunday, Dec. 16, at The Bluestone.
Featured bands include Watershed, Two Cow Garage, Miranda Sound, Los Gravediggers and more.
Tickets are $10. Visit cd1025.com.
5) Baltimore, Md.'s Have Mercy couldn't wait until its debut full-length record (due out in early 2013) was released.
The smart, earnest and jarring alt-rock quartet has hit the road for a winter tour with New Jersey emo-punk duo Dads, a tour that stops at Kobo Wednesday, Dec. 19.