Who's where for Aug. 8, 2013
6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9, High Noon Saloon, 701 E. Washington Ave., Madison. Tickets: $10. Call 608-268-1122.
Harmonious Wail, Madison's ambassador of the acoustic jazz genre known as "gypsy swing," will play an early show Friday at the High Noon Saloon-a terrific venue to appreciate this tight band's musical finesse.
Almost all of Harmonious Wail's music showcases its affection for Django Reinhardt, a French guitarist who pioneered the development of gypsy jazz in the 1930s. Reinhardt partnered with a talented violinist, Stéphane Grappelli, to form his band, Quintette du Hot Club de France.
Harmonious Wail's founder, Sims Delaney-Potthoff, approaches gypsy jazz from another perspective: that of a mandolinist. The mandolin combines aspects of both guitar and violin playing. It's held and strummed much like a guitar but has four strings that are typically tuned and fingered like those of a violin.
Delaney-Potthoff and his wife, Maggie (on vocals), established Harmonious Wail more than 20 years ago in Madison and have toured the U.S. and Europe numerous times. Almost 10 years ago, Harmonious Wail began organizing the Midwest Gypsy Swing Festival, which takes place two times each year-once in the summer and again in winter-in the Madison area. The event draws some of the finest practitioners of the genre from throughout the U.S. and abroad.
The band has released half a dozen CDs and earned the praise of music critics for its originality and command of the music. Maggie Delaney-Pothoff has been described as "a killer vocalist" with a dynamic stage presence.
8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10, Capitol Theater, Overture Center for the Arts, 201 State St., Madison. Tickets: $35.
Singer Bebel Gilberto's pedigree in the world of Brazilian music could not be more impressive.
The daughter of Brazilian music star Joao Gilberto and singer Miucha, Bebel Gilberto is known primarily as a singer of bossa nova and has been performing since she was a child in Rio de Janeiro.
She often traveled with her father when he recorded albums in different countries and had her first studio experience at age 7, when she recorded a duet with her mother.
Gilberto has said that her childhood was "music nonstop." She said her father taught her to be a perfectionist, while her mother taught her "how to lose it."
When she was just 9 years old, Gilberto performed at Carnegie Hall with her mother and famous American saxophonist Stan Getz.
Her solo debut came in 1986 in a self-titled EP. In 1991, she moved to Manhattan and since then has split her time between New York and Brazil.
She released the album "Tanto Tempo," an electronic bossa nova album, in 2000. It became popular at clubs around the world and positioned Gilberto as one of the best-selling Brazilian artists in the U.S. since the 1960s.
With her second album, "Bebel Gilberto (2004)," she refined her sound to create an acoustic lounge style that showcased her strengths as a Brazilian composer.
Gilberto recorded "Momento" in 2007, a fusion of traditional Brazilian bossa nova and American jazz, and recorded her fourth studio album, "All in One," in 2009. The album put her personality and love for organic sounds front and center. Since 2000, she has sold more than 2.5 million records and has been featured on seven film soundtracks.
7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15, The Pabst Theater, 144 E. Wells St., Milwaukee. Tickets: $22.50. Call 414-286-3663.
British folk singer and songwriter Laura Marling has taken the acoustic music world by storm in London, where she won best female solo artist at the 2011 Brit Awards and was nominated for the same award in 2012.
Marling, 23, combines traditional English melodies with a hint of Irish and contemporary folk to forge a sound that many find irresistible. She has released four albums and has been nominated for British music awards for each one.
At age 16, Marling moved to London and joined a cluster of bands that were drawn to acoustic instruments and tradition-tinged melodies. The group formed a musical movement that was labeled "nu-folk" by the British press.
Marling joined the original lineup of indie folk band Noah and the Whale and appears as a background vocalist on its début album, "Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down." She left the group, however, before the album's 2008 release due to a dissolved relationship with a fellow band member.
Her debut album, "Alas, I Cannot Swim," was released in February 2008 and later was nominated for the 2008 Mercury Music Prize. The album and subsequent singles were released on Virgin Records.
Marling released her second album, "I Speak Because I Can," in March 2010. The album's more mature sound and lyricism appealed to a broader range of listeners. It was preceded by two singles, "Goodbye England (Covered in Snow)," released in December 2009 and "Devil's Spoke" in March 2010. The album entered the UK albums chart at No. 4 and was nominated for the 2010 Mercury Music Prize.
Marling's third album, "A Creature I Don't Know," was released in September 2011, and her latest came out this May. "Once I was an Eagle" reached No. 3 on the UK albums chart.
8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15, The Rave, 2401 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee. Tickets: $25-$94. Call 414-342-7283.
Country music singer Billy Currington has released four studio albums since his 2003 debut. He also has released 11 singles to country radio, six of which reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. Three others made the Top 10.
Currington was born and raised in Georgia and moved to Nashville after high school in hopes of a career in music. His self-titled debut album was released in 2003, with the single "Walk a Little Straighter" peaking at No. 8 and establishing him as a major performer in Nashville. His second single from the album, "I Got a Feelin'," reached the Top 5.
In 2004, he recorded a single with Shania Twain that also made the Top 10. The next year he released his second album, "Doin' Somethin' Right," which peaked at No. 2 on the Top Country Albums chart and No. 11 on the Billboard 200.
The album produced Currington's first No. 1 single, "Must Be Doin' Somethin' Right." A second single from the record was also No. 1: "Good Directions."
His third album, "A Little Bit of Everything," was released in October 2007 and produced four hit singles. His next album, "Enjoy Yourself," also contained four hit singles, including the No. 1 song "Pretty Good at Drinkin' Beer."
Currington was nominated for a 2006 Grammy Award in the male country vocal performance category for his song "People Are Crazy."