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Aaron Abernathy.

Stanford | live.stanford.edu

Laurie Anderson
Jan 29, 7:30pm
After 40 years in the public eye, it's still next to impossible to neatly categorize Laurie Anderson. The composer and filmmaker has blasted through boundaries for years, presenting multi-media works that gleefully embrace a wide swath of the arts; including dance, poetry and—most famously—electronics. Anderson's latest piece, The Art of Falling, will be presented at Bing with the help of cellist and pianist Rubin Kodheli. The night before, Jan. 28, Anderson will be in conversation with Bay Area artist Jim Campbell in a free event at the Anderson Collection gallery at Stanford. (WB)

Rhiannon Giddens
Feb 7, 7:30pm
Rhiannon Giddens casts quite a shadow in the realm of bluegrass and Southern folk these days. The singer-songwriter is a banjo and fiddle virtuoso, who first garnered critical praise for her work in the North Carolina-based combo the Carolina Chocolate Drops. Recently named the Frank Sinatra Chair in the Performing Arts at Santa Clara University, her insights were featured on the luminous Ken Burns special, Country Music. Giddens comes to Stanford to share her explorations in a new collaboration with Italian-born jazz pianist and percussionist Francesco Turrisi. (WB)

Saratoga | montalvoarts.org

Loudon Wainwright III
Jan 29, 7:30pm
The patriarch of the famous Wainwright musical family is still, after all these years, just a smart guy with a guitar. At 73, LW3 now has hundreds of brilliant songs in his potential setlist, and through the decades, his music has remained remarkably consistent, some of it drawing blood with sharp—almost self-lacerating—humor, some of it laying bare his bruised soul in all its cringe-y vulnerability. His honesty has, at times, exposed him as a jerk—ask his kids, Rufus and Martha—but that's part of his charm. Those yet to discover Loudon have about 50 years of music to catch up on. Or, just ask a Wainwright completist, if you have a few hours to spare. (WB)

San Jose | facebook.com/BackBarSoFa408

Keak da Sneak
Feb 16, 8pm
It's been a little over two years since hyphy heavyweight Keak da Sneak was nearly murdered in Richmond. The man was shot no less than eight times. "Can't kill hyphy!' were his words two months later, as he dropped Withdrawl, his first album in five years. Boasting some of the stankiest, most doo-doo dumb beats since Thizzle Washington, Withdrawl presents a strong case that hyphy is indeed alive and well. (MH)

San Jose | facebook.com/3f.gallery

Paranoid Void
Feb 5, 7pm
On their first ever US tour, Japanese "girls mathrock band' (their phrase) make San Jose their one Bay Area stop, and with good reason. More so than in SF or Oakland, both math rock and J-pop have always had a sizable influence on the sound of San Jose's underground. Touring on the back of two mesmerizing singles from 2019, the Osaka band plays Japantown's tiny 3F Gallery—making this a great chance to catch an exciting, up-and-coming act in an intimate location. (MH)

San Jose | sapcenter.com

Valentine's Super Love Jam
Feb 14, 7:30pm
Fans of '70s and '80s-era R&B simply couldn't ask for a sweeter roster of old-school groups than the show that hits the Shark Tank this Valentine's Day. This one is designed for anyone with a sweet tooth for the slow jam, featuring more than a half-dozen chart-topping acts specializing in the art of the seductive love song. Rose Royce ("I Wanna Get Next to You'), Heat Wave ("Always and Forever'), Ray, Goodman & Brown ("Special Lady'), Evelyn "Champagne' King ("I Don't Know If It's Right') and Midnight Star ("No Parking on the Dance Floor') all share the bill. Too bad Barry White isn't with us anymore. (WB)

Miranda Lambert
Feb 28, 7pm
Miranda Lambert became a country-music superstar with her hit 2007 album Crazy Ex-Girlfriend—which showcased her great songs and her irresistibly combustible Texas bad-girl image. By 2019, Lambert was ready for a career pivot; it came in the form of her latest album, Wildcard, a collection of exuberant and upbeat songs that break from the moody tunes she penned in the wake of her divorce from fellow country star Blake Shelton. Newly married and feeling confident, Lambert is ready to wow her fans with tasty and defiantly funny new songs, like "White Trash' and "Too Pretty for Prison.' (WB)

Campbell | ci.campbell.ca.us/353/Heritage-Theatre

Feb 20, 8pm
The hard-driving '70s rock band Foghat will always be associated with Matthew McConaughey in a feathered haircut, thanks to the classic coming-of-age film Dazed and Confused. But that's not a bad thing. There isn't a time or a place where Foghat's "Slow Ride' isn't a seriously awesome jam. And old-time headbangers will remember the kickin' groove of "I Just Want to Make Love to You.' After almost 50 years in the recording industry—they released a new album as recently as 2017—what does the band still have up its sleeve? They're eager to show the world that blues rock may get a little gray, but will never die. (WB)

San Jose | theritzsanjose.com

Flor de Toloache
Mar 1, 7pm
Mariachi may be a male-dominated genre, but that won't be the case for long if Flor de Toloache has anything to say about it. Hailing from New York City, Flor bills itself as the world's "first and only' all-female mariachi ("maria-she?') band, performing in every configuration from a trio to a 10-piece. They first emerged back in 2014, breaking down doors and rethinking what the mariachi sound could achieve. Their new album, Indestructible, shades into R&B and reggae, and features a guest stint from John Legend singing en espanol. Legend probably won't make the gig at The Ritz, but this bold and bad-ass group of women won't be diminished. (WB)

San Jose | artboutiki.com

Socorra EP Release
Mar 6, 7:30pm
"Believe,' the last single by San Jose singer-songwriter Socorra, was a nugget of pure melancholy pop in the spirit of "Dreams,' by the Cranberries. But on Muddy Water, her new EP, the powerful vocalist trades in the alt-rock chord progressions for a bluesy riff pulled straight out of the Mississippi Delta. Has she left pop behind for good? Pick up a copy of the EP at the release show to find out. (MH)

San Jose | sanjosetheaters.org

Mar 29, 7:30pm
A favorite of erudite pop fans and Jonathan Franzen readers alike, Wilco is one of indie rock's most quietly adventurous bands. Since 2004's A Ghost is Born, the Chicago group has become increasingly experimental, largely leaving behind the Americana comfort of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot in favor of more expansive sounds. Last year's Ode to Joy (the band's 11th LP) found them crafting a kind of droney kosmische-folk, a dreamy and metronomic roadmap of the stars destined to one day be featured on a Wes Anderson soundtrack. (MH)

The Downbeat

San Jose Jazz Winter Fest returns to downtown Feb. 14. This year, as always, the festival features a lineup of traditionalists and forward-thinking rule-benders. Here are just a few of this year's acts.

Shayna Steele
Feb 16, 7 pm | Cafe Stritch, San Jose
Ever since appearing as a 15-year-old wunderkind on the TV talent-show Star Search back in the day, Shayna Steele has bent the world to her will as a Broadway actress and jazz singer. Her most recent offering, Watch Me Fly, finds her stretching her muse to take on Big Mama Thornton blues, Michael Jackson R&B and even some flirty Doris Day pop. She has sung and recorded with jazz horn-man Chris Botti, jam-band Snarky Puppy and electronica-superstar Moby—with whom she collaborated on the hit single "Disco Lies' back in 2008. As if that resume wasn't broad enough, Steele has also widely performed with symphony orchestras in Dallas, Detroit and Los Angeles, among other cities.

Matt Wilson's Honey & Salt Quintet
Feb 21, 7pm | Hammer, San Jose
Many adjectives have been attached to jazz drummer and bandleader Matt Wilson over the years, but "conventional' has never made the list. Wilson has always approached music with a sense of adventure and personality. His latest project, Honey & Salt, is inspired by the poetry of American giant Carl Sandburg (Wilson and Sandburg are both natives of Illinois). That exploration and the resulting, celebrated 2017 album showcased Wilson's playful and voracious style, touching on everything from New Orleans-flavored blues to prairie country-folk. Wilson's current quintet reflects his sense of humor, his love for improvisation and his capacity to surprise his audiences.

Aaron Abernathy
Feb 21, 8pm | Cafe Stritch, San Jose
Pianist, singer and songwriter Aaron Abernathy carries a big historical burden, thanks to his family name. His grandfather's brother was the Rev. Ralph Abernathy, civil rights leader and right-hand man to icon Martin Luther King Jr. The younger Abernathy leans into his family legacy through music, most notably his acclaimed 2017 album Dialogue. Drawing from gospel, soul, R&B and other quintessential African-American expressions (but also from more contemporary sounds such funk and acid jazz), Dialogue experiments with the notion of communicating with ancestors on what it means to be black in America today, making Abernathy's music sharp, relevant and vital.

Black String
Feb 29, 8pm | Art Boutiki, San Jose
There aren't many opportunities to get up close and personal with the geomungo—that is, until the quartet Black String comes to town. The geomungo is (duh!) the six-string Korean zither, which has a seductive sound somewhere between a sitar and a stand-up bass. It's also the centerpiece of this adventurous foursome that translates Korean traditional music into a contemporary improvisational idiom. Led by the magnetic talent Yoon Jeong Heo, Black String also employs the Korean bamboo flute, along with percussion and electric guitar, all to create a haunting and hypnotic range of rhythms and textures.

San Jose Jazz Winter Fest
Feb 14 - 29
San Jose & Palo Alto