Every month, I have to fill three slots for the “Musical Notes” column. My job often leaves me feeling like I am reviewing applicants for an open position at a company. Well, if that’s the case, then October may boast some of the most impressive résumés that I have reviewed thus far.
It could be said that I tend to prefer my music obscure and my venues intimate, and I think my past recommendations have reflected that preference. I’d rather “hire” the untested upstart daring enough to submit a mixtape in lieu of a résumé. Well, those frustrated with my tendencies will be pleasantly surprised by this month’s slate. The talent and experience coming into the midstate are just too impressive to ignore.
PUSS N BOOTS (ft. NORAH JONES), 10/10, 8PM, FED LIVE, $25/$30
Puss N Boots is a Brooklyn-based alt-country band that just happens to count Norah Jones as a member. Yes, that Norah Jones. The famed songstress has taken a break from her jazzier solo work to jam with her friends Sasha Dobson and Catherine Popper.
Puss N Boots started in 2008 as a creative outlet for Jones to work on her guitar skills and quickly grew into an escape from the pressures of professional music-making. Members practiced when they had time and would occasionally play lightly promoted shows in pool halls and bars. They finally decided to record and release a proper album, this year’s “No Fools, No Fun.” The band is stopping in Harrisburg as part of an East Coast tour.
ROY BOOK BINDER, 10/12, 7:30PM, FORT HUNTER CENTENNIAL BARN, $20
The blues are like a good whiskey, the older the better. Roy Book Binder and his finger-pickin’ blues guitar prove this point, having channeled the hobo aesthetic of the likes of Ramblin’ Jack Elliot for more than 45 years. He began his career in the famed Greenwich Village scene of the early ‘70s and has been wandering, singing and telling stories ever since. In fact, his penchant for storytelling has become his signature as a performer.
Book Binder is being welcomed by the Susquehanna Folk Music Society, and his performance at Fort Hunter will be preceded by a potluck supper beginning at 6 p.m.
MARCO BENEVENTO, 10/16, 8PM, THE ABBEY BAR, $12/$15
Marco Benevento is hard to categorize. As an accomplished pianist, he certainly has the aura of a composer. But he also has a keen ear for pop arrangement. It is no surprise then that he has graced the stage at both Carnegie Hall and Bonnaroo.
Benevento’s music revolves around his unique approach to the piano, using pedals and synthesizers to alter the sound of his acoustic instrument. Add to that his love for circuit bending—the art of electronically modifying toys and low-voltage electronics for musical effect—and you are left with soundscapes that are simultaneously familiar and otherworldly.
Mentionables: The Swingle Singers, Rose Lehrman Arts Center, 10/2; Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas, Fed Live, 10/17; Ian MacLagan and the Bump Band, HMAC, 10/17; The Jellybricks, Underground Cartoons and the Polins, HMAC, 10/18; Jimkata, The Abbey Bar, 10/25