Loudon Wainwright III
Loudon Wainwright III releases frankly autobiographically and acutely funny folk albums with such regularity that it's easy to take him for granted. A good way to catch up on much of his good music is with 40 Odd Years, the four-CD boxed set that came out on the Shout Factory label last year. But LW3 will not be entombed in a cardboard box: This year, the 66-year-old son of the late journalist Loudon S. Wainwright Jr. put out Older Than My Old Man Now, a 16-song, often hilarious, always astute disquisition on age, family, prescription meds, and the faint memory of sex that I might have put on my year-end Top Ten list if I hadn't taken Wainwright for granted and forgotten it came out. This weekend Loudo plays two shows in the area, one in New Hope and one in Wilmington.
- Dan DeLuca
Shtreiml/Ismail Hakki Fencioglu
Hanukkah chaser with a Turkish twist? Served, just as this year's Festival of Lights concludes Sunday, when the adventurous Montreal-based klezmer combo Shtreiml team up with oud virtuoso and frequent collaborator Ismail Hakki Fencioglu for "a concert of 'Jewish Roots & Turkish Blues.' " Harmonica in hand, musician/educator Jason Rosenblatt has been spiking the festive Eastern European music form since founding Shtreiml a decade ago, pouring sympathetic diatonic blues-harp jams into klezmer's trad-yet-hybrid-friendly context. Fencioglu, a composer and instrument-maker who emigrated from Turkey to Canada in 2001, brings ornate Middle Eastern soul to the mix via his elegant pluck-and-strum prowess. Also stirring up the tonic is Shtreiml trombonist and Philly native Rachel Lemisch, of local klezmer notables the Fabulous Shpilkes. (Note: Free children's program at 6 p.m.)
Strand of Oaks/Buried Beds
Strand of Oaks' Tim Showalter is one of the most affecting singer-songwriters of his generation. He collapsed a horrible period of his life (house fire, bad breakup, time as a park-bench surfer) into one dense but light-bright autobiographical album (Leave Ruin). Next, the Philly singer with the shakily soulful voice and the squeaking acoustic guitar offered a mix of sludge-metal and eerily atmospheric synths on Pope Killdragon, an album ripe with bleak humor. Few lyricists would think of Dan Aykroyd ("Daniel's Blues") mourning the death of John Belushi with Ghostbusters as his spirit guide. Dark Shores, Strand of Oaks' newest album, is no less character-driven, diverse, or emotionally tortured. Reminiscent of the Magnolia Electric Co.'s work, new Showalter songs such as the lost and lonely "Maureen's" and "Spacestations" are engulfing. Opening for Strand of Oaks is Philadelphia's Buried Beds, a mood-swinging band in which Brandon Beaver and Eliza Jones make pure, effervescent, harmony-driven pop. Hear the Beds' new Tremble the Sails for proof.
- A.D. Amorosi