Yes, it's The Stray Birds' lush three-part harmonies that first capture your attention, but if you stay long enough, the eastern Pennsylvania trio will reward you with delightful songs rendered with captivating tunefulness and extraordinary musical chemistry. The band's self-titled CD is a good place to start.
As is the Birds' show, courtesy Six String Concerts, at the Columbus Performing Arts Center Friday, Dec. 6, at which you'll be additionally rewarded with an opening set by triple-threat (singer/songwriter/guitarist) Rebecca Frazier.
Tickets are $5-$25. Visit sixstring.org.
Dave Wakeling has been at this pop-music thing for 30 years.
The creative force behind two of Britain's top pop acts of the '80s in The English Beat (Save It For Later, Mirror in the Bathroom) and General Public (Tenderness), Wakeling took a handful of years off before hitting the road again about a decade ago, playing his old tunes and some new tunes as well as a "solo" artist.
The Beat can't find fault with his decision to retake The English Beat name for touring purposes, nor his decision to continue to play General Public and "solo" songs under the TEB banner.
The English Beat plays Skully's Music Diner Saturday, Dec. 7, with opener The Pinstripes. Tickets are $20. Visit skullys.org.
Elizabeth "Lzzy" Hale, frontwoman of Pennsylvania hard rock quartet Halestorm, is the latest in a long line of women who have adopted, rather than eschewed, the trappings of rock 'n' roll. The result is high-energy, freewheeling guitar rock, riff-heavy and full of bravado and sexuality.
The band is touring in support of its second full-length release, The Strange Case Of..., and plays Lifestyle Communities Pavilion Sunday, Dec. 8. (This show has been moved from the Newport Music Hall. Previously purchased tickets will be honored.)
Redlight King and Stars in Stereo open. Tickets are $20/$25. Visit promowestlive.com.
The Beat is big on voices, and we're not sure there is any better than that of Art Garfunkel. Sweet and gentle, yet moving and spirited. And no worse for wear any time The Beat has seen or heard him over the years -- a marvel of nature.
Lastly, he's had just enough success as a solo artist to prove he was much more than Robin to Paul Simon's Batman.
Zeppelin Productions welcomes Garfunkel to the Grand Valley Dale Ballroom for an evening of songs, stories, prose and an audience Q&A Thursday, Dec. 12.
Tickets are $50. Call 614-565-6130.
Since the Coldplay-sound-alike wave crested, there have been a number of exciting young bands to come out of Britain. Among them is Oxford-based Foals, less riffy and more ambient than Scottish outfit Biffy Clyro (another member of the "exciting young Brits" school) that toured here a couple of months back.
Foals headlines the CD102.5 Holiday Show Thursday, Dec. 12, at Lifestyle Communities Pavilion. Washed Out, Fidlar, Wild Cub and Happy Chichester round out the bill. A portion of proceeds will benefit CD102.5 for the Kids.
Tickets are $22/$25. Visit promowestlive.com.