From living in a Zen Buddhist monastery to playing songs in the Paris Metro to studying religion in seminary to New York City open mics, Richard Shindell has lived a kind of willful human pilgrimage.
For the past decade or so, he has made his wife's homeland of Argentina his full-time home, but being out of the U.S. has hardly stalled Shindell's career.
Nor has a year-long sabbatical, during which Shindell "quit drinking, went on a diet, got in shape, practiced my guitar, worked on my record, worked in my vegetable garden, hung out with my family, traveled to the Philippines, read Dickens books ... " Shindell is road-testing the new songs as he puts the finishing touches on the new record, and will do so locally courtesy a Six String Concerts show Friday, April 4, at the Columbus Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $25 in advance, $28 at the door ($15 students, $5 children). Visit sixstring.org.
BONUS: Literate in a more barroom poet fashion, crazed Americana songwriter Tommy Womack is one of those guys whose songs you've heard recorded by others, even if you don't recognize him by name. He's off-the-wall funny and as honest a songwriter as you're likely to find. Check him out at Natalie's Coal-Fired Pizza Sunday, April 6. Tickets are $12/$15. Visit nataliescoalfiredpizza.com.
DOUBLE BONUS: Songwriter Levi Weaver continues to live the itinerant folk singer existence, with his wife and family on the road with him. He'll play from his catalog of rich, introspective tunes at Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church in Powell, with Jenny & Tyler, Vanita Joines and Heather Evans. Tickets are $10/$15. Visit jtpowell.eventbrite.com.
Saxophonist/composer/bandleader Jack Wilkins' latest project fuses traditional jazz and related forms (blues, Dixieland, New Orleans) with the sounds of Appalachia. He has assembled a 15-piece band to help share all the colors in what he calls the Blue and Green project.
The ensemble plays Capital University Friday, April 4, as part of the Conservatory of Music's 2014 Jazz and World Music Festival. Indeed, the ensemble will be supplemented by some members of the conservatory's faculty and student musicians.
Tickets are $15/$10 at the door. Visit capital.edu/jazzfest for details.
Free your mind at the Ohio Theatre Saturday, April 5, as superstar R&B group En Vogue joins the Columbus Symphony Orchestra for a Pops series concert.
In case you'd forgotten, weren't paying attention or perhaps weren't born yet, these funky divas dominated the charts in the '90s -- the golden New Jack era -- and are as integral a part of the girl-group family tree as the Supremes or Destiny's Child. Remember Hold On, Don't Go, Giving Him Something He Can Feel and My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)?
Tickets start at $25. Visit columbussymphony.com.
Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys isn't a neo-rockabilly outfit. The boys are the genuine article -- just misplaced by about 40 or 50 years, is all.
The band is marking its 25th anniversary this year with an album -- What a Dream It's Been -- and tour. The record reinterprets the band's favorites from its 25 years in an all-acoustic setting, and the live shows feature one acoustic set. But Big Sandy still knows how to rock out electric style as well, blasting through Texas swing, honky-tonk and boogie-woogie stuff with abandon.
See 'em at Natalie's Coal-Fired Pizza Saturday, April 5. Tickets are $15. Visit nataliescoalfiredpizza.com.
What a cool concept -- to attempt, through a variety of media and methods, to make a music concert accessible to individuals with hearing loss. The New Albany Symphony Orchestra will present just such a program at the McCoy Center for the Arts Sunday, April 6 -- a "unique concert experience that includes special features designed with the hearing-impaired and deaf community in mind," in the words of Executive Director Heather Garner.
The orchestra's performance of Gustav Holst's The Planets will feature NASA and ESA photographs of the galaxy projected onto giant screens. The final piece, Short Ride on a Fast Machine, will be accompanied by a laser light display created specifically for this performance by Jason Gay, a live-event production designer from Granville. Additionally, deaf and hearing-impaired audience members will have the option to receive a balloon, through which they can feel the vibrations of the music, and there will be a sign-language interpreter from Columbus Deaf Services.
Dynamic pianist Jon Kimura Parker will join NASO to perform Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 2 -- a guest who would normally be a selling point in itself.
Tickets start at $14.65. Visit newalbanysymphony.net.
The idea of music as an avenue for the fostering of community and peace is not a new one. But neither is the conflict between peoples of Jewish and Arabic cultures.
Fusions is a trio -- pianist Menachem Wiesenberg, oud artist Taiseer Elias and cellist Uri Vardi -- whose members come from both backgrounds and which performs music representative of both cultures -- music rarely heard performed together.
CityMusic Columbus, in partnership with the OSU Melton Center for Jewish Studies, will present Fusions Wednesday, April 9, at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Columbus. Visit citymusiccolumbus for ticket and other information.
Reanimated death-metal demigods Carcass lead Decibel magazine's spring tour, which also features melodic death-metal mavens The Black Dahlia Murder, technical death metalists Gorguts and teen thrashers Noisem.
The tour stops at the Newport Music Hall Sunday, April 6. Tickets are $23/$25. Visit promowestlive.com.
The Three of Clubs tour brings three young bands to the A&R Music Bar Tuesday, April 8, headlined by ambient rockers Flagship (which, we suppose, is as good a name as any for a headliner).
Characterized by an epic gracefulness (or a graceful epic-ness), Flagship stands alongside acts such as The National or Sigur Ros -- acts that, in The Beat's youth, would have arranged songs with power chords and sweeping orchestrated keyboard lines but which now boast greater restraint.
The musical pastiche is augmented by the rootsy-er Terraplane Sun and the female-fronted indie-pop trio Little Daylight.
Tickets are $10/$12. Visit promowestlive.com.
Is there such a thing as prog-dubstep? If there is, The Beat guesses it would sound like Canadian dubstep artist Excision.
For his current tour, Excision is supported by DJ team Dirtyphonics and experimental pop-hopster Ill Gates, and by a 420-square-foot video screen Excision has dubbed The Executioner.
The tour visits The Bluestone Wednesday, April 9. Tickets are $20/$25. Visit liveatthebluestone.com.
Remnants of the Athens, Ga., music scene of the 1980s can be heard in the sound of indie-rockers Silver Palms. Those remnants have been woven into a tapestry that also has some '80s Brit-pop, hints of Tom Petty or the Wallflowers and a decidedly indie attitude best expressed by young people.
With opener Beach Day, Silver Palms plays the Rumba Cafe Thursday, April 10. Tickets are $5. Visit columbusrumbacafe.com.