Black Label Society, 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 8, The Rave, 2401 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee. Tickets: $35-$45. Call 414-342-7283.
The Los Angeles-based heavy metal band Black Label Society is now touring to support its recently released album “Grimmest Hits.”
The band is led by founder and frontman Zakk Wylde, who established the group in 1998 and performs on guitar, piano and lead vocals. His bandmates are John DeServio on bass, Jeff Fabb on drums and Dario Lorina on rhythm guitar.
Wylde first gained fame in 1988 when he replaced Jake E. Lee as a lead guitarist and co-writer for Ozzy Osbourne. He has continued to work with Osbourne off and on ever since. Along with leading Black Label Society since 1999, he also has fronted the Black Sabbath cover band Zakk Sabbath since 2014.
Black Label Society has released 10 albums, with its debut, “Sonic Brew,” coming out in 1998. The band has gone through numerous lineup changes over the years, with 14 players having cycled through. The group is known for its thunderously loud performances and Wylde’s intricate, shredding guitar style.
Portugal. The Man, 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 11, Overture Hall, Overture Center for the Arts, 201 State St., Madison. Tickets: $39.50-$42.50. Call 608-258-4141.
Portugal. The Man is a band from Wasilla, Alaska, that formed in 2003 while its key members—singer-songwriter John Gourley and bassist Zach Carothers—were still in high school. The band has released eight full-length studio albums including its latest, “Woodstock,” last year.
The band originally started as Gourley’s side project with Carothers on bass. Gourley and Carothers then teamed up with Wesley Hubbard, Nick Klein and Harvey Tumbleson to form Portugal. The Man.
The band left Alaska and moved to Portland, Oregon, with the intent of recording and touring in the summer of 2004. The next spring, Klein and Tumbleson left, and Jason Sechrist joined the band soon after. The band released its debut album in 2006.
The group released its second album in 2007 and toured the U.S. and Europe. It played at Bonnaroo and at Lollapalooza in 2009 before releasing its fourth album, “The Satanic Satanist,” and signing with Atlantic Records in 2008. Portugal. The Man released three albums between 2010 and 2013.
The band spent the next three years working on “Woodstock” but was never satisfied with the recorded tracks. On a trip home to Alaska, Gourley was encouraged by his dad to release another album when he discovered his father’s ticket stub for the legendary 1969 Woodstock music festival. That inspired him to create a record that would rally fans to work for a better world.
Jorma Kaukonen, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 15, Stoughton Opera House, 381 E. Main St., Stoughton. Tickets: $25. Call 608-877-4400.
Guitarist, singer and songwriter Jorma Kaukonen, a founding member of Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna, returns to Stoughton Opera House as one of the country’s leading performers of American roots music, seamlessly melding acoustic blues, rock and folk.
At 77, Kaukonen remains a musical force and demonstrates why Rolling Stone magazine ranked him No. 54 on its list of 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.
Along with Paul Kantner and Mary Balin, Kaukonen formed Jefferson Airplane in 1965. He served as the band’s lead guitarist and one of its chief songwriters.
Around 1970, he and bassist Jack Casady (and later fiddler Papa John Creach) left the band to form Hot Tuna, which performed electric rock and acoustic blues. This allowed Kaukonen to show off his fingerpicking guitar style. The band released five albums in the 1970s before taking an extended hiatus.
Kaukonen then began a solo career that has produced 12 studio albums (often with Casady or mandolin player Barry Mitterhoff supporting).
Kaukonen said despite his early reputation as an electric guitarist playing psychedelic music, he thinks of himself as a storyteller.
“I sort of became a guitar player incidentally, almost accidentally,” he said. “A lot of people are aware of me because of the Airplane and certain aspects of Hot Tuna and stuff like that. But for me, my own music has always been about the song, and I consider myself to be pretty much a folksinger/storyteller.”
Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn, 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16, Capitol Theater, Overture Center for the Arts, 201 State St., Madison. Tickets: $34.50-$59.50. Call 608-258-4141.
The husband-wife duo of Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn are two extraordinary banjo players with very different playing styles.
Fleck rose to fame as leader of Bela Fleck and the Flecktones—an experimental fusion of jazz, bluegrass and folk music—and has been one of the world’s most innovative musicians since he formed the group in 1998. Before that, he spent nine years in New Grass Revival, one of bluegrass music’s seminal bands.
Since establishing the Flecktones, Fleck has performed on banjo with jazz icons such as Chic Corea, with world-class symphony orchestras and classical music performers such as the Nashville Symphony Orchestra and bassist Edgar Meyer, and with world music masters such as Zakir Hussain.
Washburn is a former member of the all-woman folk group Uncle Earl and also Sparrow Quartet. She plays a traditional clawhammer banjo in a style common in traditional old-time American music.
In 2005, Fleck and Washburn met at a square dance in Washington, D.C. Later that year he produced her first album, and the couple married in 2010. When their first child was born in 2013, Fleck and Washburn began performing and touring as a duo.
Fleck has released 12 solo studio albums including 14 albums with the Flecktones and nine with New Grass Revival. He has been nominated for 30 Grammy Awards dating back to 1998 and has won 15. He has been nominated in more different musical categories than anyone in the history of the Grammy Awards, according to his website.