- Crooked Still plays The Egg on December 11.
C.J. Chenier & the Red Hot Louisiana Band
C.J. Chenier, the son of the late, great zydeco king Clifton Chenier, has kept his father's legacy boiling and furthered the form by weaving his own formative soul, funk, and jazz influences into the music. A master of accordion, saxophone, and flute, the ebullient "Crown Prince of Zydeco," who tips into the Towne Crier for this torrid reappearance, has also crossed over into the pop realm, performing and touring with Paul Simon for the singer's 1990 album The Rhythm of the Saints and guesting on the Gin Blossoms' 1992 Top 40 release New Miserable Experience. A bayou-style dance party this shall be. (Livingston Taylor looms December 13; Slam Allen and Dan Bother ring in the new year December 31.) 7pm. $30, $35. Beacon.
Formed in 2013, the duo of lauto player George Xylouris and drummer Jim White (Dirty Three, Cat Power) makes gripping instrumental sounds that fuse free jazz, avant rock, and Greek traditional music. "The music hit points, rather than destinations," writes The Guardian's Monica Tan, "with slinky, playful intros and delicate musical motifs building in intensity and coming galloping home in a barrage of drums and hard strumming." The pair pays a return visit to the Hudson Valley with this night at the Beverly Lounge (part of the occasional "BSP at the Beverly" series) in support of their third album, 2018's Mother. With Cheval Sombre. (The String Sessions with m. Sel and the Hipstones unwind December 7.) 7:30pm. $12, $15. Kingston.
Boston-based bluegrass revisionists Crooked Still raised eyebrows on the roots circuit in the early 2000s with their cello-banjo-upright bass-fiddle format and the sneaky-but-tasteful touches of such non-trad, outside styles as rock, pop, and even funk. Some of the group's members have also found fame apart from the unit: singer Aoife O'Donovan as a solo artist and with folk-noir trio Sometimes Why; banjoist Gregory Liszt with Bruce Springsteen's The Seger Sessions project; and fiddler Brittany Haas on NPR's "Live from Here." Although the band officially split in 2011, the players have reunited on rare occasions—such as a string of shows this month that includes an evening at The Egg. (Darlingside drops in December 7; Keb' Mo' comes by December 10.) 7:30pm. $35, $45. Albany.
Jane Ira Bloom
Soprano saxophonist and composer Jane Ira Bloom's music lives comfortably in the zone where straight-ahead and experimental jazz meet. Sonically lush and rarely dissonant, her approach is marked by innovative constructs with unexpected turns and has at times included forays into electronics. Her Early Americans Trio, which here visits the swank, recently opened Avalon Lounge, includes two other adventurous musicians and bandleaders, local drummer Bobby Previte and bassist Mark Helias, and won a Grammy for 2018's Early Americans in the Best Surround Sound Album category. (Blakmajikforest, the Bilge Rats, and the Wheel Turning Kings roll through December 6; Shana Falana shimmers December 7.) 8:30pm. $10. Catskill.
Amy Helm's Holiday Express
Here's a hot seasonal live-music pick: All aboard Amy Helm's Holiday Express (aka the Dutchess & Ulster Railroad's Rip Van Winkle Flyer), bound for beautiful and breathtaking winter vistas of the Catskill Mountains and featuring an intimate holiday performance by the region's roots-Americana heiress. This family-friendly excursion (two separate afternoon tours) won't have the drunken revelry that marked Amy's dad Levon Helm and his Band buddies' jaunt across Canada with the Festival Express train tour in 1970. But one would guess there'll be a heartwarming rendition or two of the Band's "Christmas (Must Be Tonight)." 1:30pm, 4:30pm. $100 adults, $15 children. Departs from and returns to Arkville Station. Arkville.
An Ayler Xmas
December 20. This one's definitely not your typical holiday fare. For the second consecutive year, blazing saxophonist Mars Williams (Psychedelic Furs, the Waitresses) will lead a handpicked group of his fellow forward-thinking veteran players at Tubby's through a holiday tribute to the influential free jazz pioneer Albert Ayler. In the lineup are drummer Chris Corsano, trombonist Steve Swell, cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm, guitarist Tedd Orr, and alto saxophonist and clarinetist Don Davis. Spiritual unity, indeed. (Luggage lands December 4; Sun Voyager, Ecstatic Vision, and It's Not Night: It's Space trip out December 19.) 8pm. $10. Kingston.