Music roundup for Oct. 31-Nov. 6, 2013

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By Bill Livick, Special to The Gazette
Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Ricky Skaggs and Bruce Hornsby at 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1, Potawatomi Bingo and Casino, Northern Lights Theater, 1721 W. Canal St., Milwaukee. Kentucky Thunder also performs. Tickets: $55-$65. Call Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000.

Bluegrass star Ricky Skaggs and versatile pianist, singer and songwriter Bruce Hornsby will reunite Friday for a show of original tunes from both performers and a few covers of hit songs redone in bluegrass fashion.

In 2007 the pair released the album “Ricky Skaggs & Bruce Hornsby,” which reached No. 1 on Billboard's bluegrass chart. The album features reworkings of Hornsby originals as bluegrass tunes, along with traditional songs and a Skaggs original.

This year, Skaggs and Hornsby released their second album together, the live recording “Cluck Ol' Hen.” It's been placed in the bluegrass category for this year's Grammy Awards vote.

The pair first worked together in the early 1990s when both appeared on the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's “Will the Circle Be Unbroken Vol. 2” album.

Since then, Hornsby and Skaggs have teamed up for several tours.

The reception they received was not always positive. Traditional bluegrass purists don't like people messing with their music, but Skaggs said playing with Hornsby stretches the boundaries of what he and his band, Kentucky Thunder, can do on stage.

“He's such a great musician,” Skaggs said in a telephone interview. “He has a real love for tradition, but he loves a good gumbo, too. So you never know when he might throw in some Professor Longhair or Leon Russell into traditional bluegrass. I love that, too.”

Skaggs' bluegrass roots go back to his childhood, when he performed with Bill Monroe and appeared on Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs' television show. In his late teens, he became a member of Ralph Stanley's Clinch Mountain Boys. He later joined Emmy Lou Harris' band.

Hornsby broke onto the national music scene in the 1980s with such hits as “Long Valley Road” and “That's Just the Way It Is.”

His more recent forays into bluegrass are part of a larger journey that takes him into the worlds of jazz, jam-band rock and the music he creates with his own band, the Noisemakers. He has toured or collaborated with the Grateful Dead, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones and the jazz bassist Christian McBride and drummer Jack DeJohnette.

Chris Cornell at 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2, Orpheum Theater, 216 State St., Madison. Tickets: $37.50. Call Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000.

Chris Cornell rose to fame as the lead singer in the Seattle grunge band Soundgarden. He formed the band in 1984 with friends Kim Thayil and Hiro Yamamoto, with Cornell originally on drums and vocals.

Soundgarden became one of the most successful bands to emerge from Seattle's 1990s grunge scene. But creative differences caused the group to split after the release of its 1996 album, “Down on the Upside.”

By 1997, Cornell was working as a solo artist. After leaving Soundgarden, he released the solo studio album “Euphoria Morning.” For a self-penned single, “Can't Change Me,” he was nominated for best male rock vocal performance at the 2000 Grammy Awards. He also was hired to score music for the film “Mission: Impossible II,” crafting the song called “Mission 2000.”

After releasing “Euphoria Morning,” Cornell joined the remaining members of Rage Against the Machine and formed a new band, Audioslave. He recorded three studio albums with Audioslave before leaving to again work as a solo artist in 2007.

In 2007, Cornell supported Aerosmith on at least two legs of the band's 2007 world tour.

In January 2010, Cornell announced plans for Soundgarden to reform and to headline Lollapalooza 2010. Since then, he has performed both as a member of Soundgarden and as a solo singer and guitarist. He has released four albums as a solo artist, including “Songbook” in 2011.

Stephen Marley at 9 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2, Barrymore Theatre, 2090 Atwood Ave., Madison. Tickets: $24. Call Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000.

Stephen Marley, 41, has reggae royalty in his blood. Born in Wilmington, Del., and raised primarily in Jamaica, he is the son of reggae legend Bob Marley and singer Rita Marley. Stephen Marley also is a five-time Grammy Award winner.

He began singing at age 8, when he took lead vocals on the single “Sugar Pie.” He later was part of the reggae group Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers with three of his siblings. He produced much of his brother Damian Marley's three solo albums, most notably “Welcome to Jamrock” in 2005, and performed on several tracks. He also produced for brother Julian Marley, and he was executive producer and performed on the 1999 Bob Marley mash-up “Chant Down Babylon.”

In 2003, Stephen and his brother Damian put together an album under the group name of Marley Boyz.

Stephen Marley's debut album, “Mind Control,” was released in March 2007. He won a Grammy for best reggae album in 2012 for his newest work, “Revelation Pt. 1: The Root of Life.”

Basia Bulat at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 6, Stoughton Opera House, 381 E. Main St., Stoughton. Tickets: $25. Call 608-877-4400.

Toronto-based singer-songwriter Basia Bulat projects a powerful voice to go with raw emotion on her new album, “Tall Tall Shadow.”

The album, released late last month, is the 29-year-old multi-instrumentalist's third full-length album since her debut, “Oh, My Darling,” in 2007.

Bulat, who grew up in Ontario and has been compared to a young Joni Mitchell, performs on guitar, autoharp, hammered dulcimer, piano, ukulele and charango, a ukulele-like instrument from South America.

Bulat and her brother, who plays drums and percussion in her band, were raised by a music teaching mother and the sound of “oldies” on the radio. She recorded an independent EP in 2005, and that led to a recording contract with Rough Trade Records.

Several of her songs caught on with college radio in North America and Europe, where Bulat has toured extensively.

She has received lots of critical acclaim over the last five years for her “rare, extraordinary voice” and simple songs that morph into “engrossing accounts of desire and regret.”

A review of her new album in the New York Times noted a “sound that nods to Fleetwood Mac and early Joni Mitchell” and described her voice as “warm and honeyed.”

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