- Jimmy Webb plays Towne Crier in Pawling on December 10.
December 2, 3. New York noise duo Japanther (Matt Reilly on bass and vocals and Ian Vanek on drums, vocals, and electronics) brings its conceptual art punk this month to EMPAC, a venue tailor-made for such experimental, multimedia doings. Commissioned in conjunction with the series Quote-Unquote: Experiments in Time-Based Text, this two-night residency by the band is touted as “an analog story of grand scale utilizing performance, live music, and animation [and] inspired by Walt Whitman’s ‘The Mystic Trumpeter.’” Consider our curiosity piqued. (Neil Rolnick presents “Scenes from MONO” December 1; JACK Quartet appears December 9.) 8pm. $18. Troy. (518) 276-3921; www.empac.rpi.edu.
Justin Townes Earle
December 9. If you think Justin Townes Earle is skating by on the legacies of his namesakes—his dad, Steve Earle, and the late Townes Van Zandt—you obviously haven’t heard him. While his roots-country sound does hold hints of those two titans, along with the figures who influenced them, the younger singer-songwriter has clearly made his own way. And on this occasion that way finds his honey-rich tenor and alternately autumnal and rollicking songs at Club Helsinki in support of his fourth release, the stellar Harlem River Blues. Tristen opens. (Martin Sexton visits December 3 with Johnny Irion and Sarah Lee Guthrie; Duncan Sheik sings December 17.) 9pm. $22, $25. Hudson. (518) 828-4800; www.helsinkihudson.com.
December 10. One of America’s true pop songwriting legends, Jimmy Webb is the man
behind such AM gold perennials as Glenn Campbell’s “Wichita Lineman” and “By
the Time I Get to Phoenix,” the Fifth Dimension’s “Up, Up and Away,” and Richard
Harris’s “MacArthur Park.” A member of the National Academy of Popular Music
Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, the Nashville Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, and the Oklahoma
Hall of Fame, Webb, who plays those and other hits at the Towne Crier this month, is
also an underrated singer and keyboardist himself with dozens of albums to his name
and earlier this year replaced Hal David as chairman of the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame.
(Caravan of Thieves sneaks in December 9; John Gorka returns December 18.) 8:30pm. $35, $40. Pawling. (845) 855-1300. www.townecrier.com.
Donna the Buffalo
December 16. Currently readying its 10th album, Upstate roots-Americana quartet Donna the Buffalo is seemingly forever on the road. While working as a busy festival favorite in the warm season (including a slot at its own Finger Lakes Grassroots Festival of Music and Dance in Trumansburg, held annually since 1991), the group is also a club juggernaut during the indoor months. And, this being December, it’s the latter mode that here sees DTB’s jammy stew of folk, rock, country, and Cajun warming the walls of the Bearsville Theater. (David Bromberg returns December 3; the band 3 rocks December 30.) 8pm. $25. Bearsville. (845) 679-4406; www.bearsvilletheater.com.
December 20. What could be more holiday festive than an evening with the original Wu- Tang Clan? Save for the late Ol’ Dirty Bastard, this reunion hit at Northern Lights brings together the game-changing hip-hop collective’s founding lineup: Rza, Gza, Raekwon, Method Man, Ghostface Killah, Inspecta Deck, U-God, and Mistah Killah. Along with the reconvening, this year brought the release of the outfit’s newest anthology, Legendary Weapons. Can we get a “Ho, ho, ho!” up in here? (Hatebreed brings more seasonal cheer December 1; Suffocation does the same December 16.) 7pm. $40. Clifton Park. (518) 371-0012; www.northernlightslive.com.