Music Box: Rod Stewart back on tour with his tantalizingly sweet ballads

After years of playing Great American Songbook jazz standards (four releases now featured in a boxed set), it can be tough to remember the Rod Stewart of The Faces. He's out on tour again, this time on a double-bill with Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks. So the classic rock may re-emerge.

Hard to question his jazz motive as sales of his standards albums were enough to rocket Stewart to a second wave of success. Time moves forward and people get older, and he's gotten older, too.

The Faces, small and larger than life, had a handle on the British bar room sound. The Faces a la rocker Rod Stewart served up a career worth of playful nonsense, down home front-porch swing, and tantalizingly sweet ballads. I think, like Robert Plant, Stewart has decided that the rockers don't suit his vocal chords anymore. Those days are probably long gone.

But with all the bumps absorbed in a lifetime, you're bound to get Stewart's ballads delivered with the singer's unlimited musical passion at the Verizon Center Friday night (7:30 p.m.)

The acclaimed vocals of Courtlyn Carr go over well for a country or pop audience. She's just a great singer who loves a well-written tune. Friday night she performs an intimate show at Rams Head On Stage in Annapolis (8 p.m.) and shows everyone why London's Maverick Music magazine gave her latest EP release four out of five stars. Keenan O'Meara opens the show.

Singer-songwriter Kat Parsons returns to the NightCat in Easton for a night of sexy and exuberant folk pop on Friday (8 p.m.).

RAC and POP ETC. host a dance party at the 9:30 Club on Friday (8 p.m.). RAC (Remix Artist Collective) is responsible for re-interpretations and remixes of songs for artists blending hip-hop and electro drum samples, analog synthesizers, melodic hooks, and original performed instrumentation. They've worked on songs by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Death Cab, U2, Kings of Leon and many others.

Get down with The Dan Band as they perform at Rams Head Live! in Baltimore (8 p.m. doors, all ages welcome).

Also this Friday, Grammy Latino winner Gianmarco (Javier Zignago Alcóver) performs his Peruvian love songs at the Fillmore in Silver Spring (8 p.m.). And there's a galaxy of classical music awaiting you as the National Symphony Orchestra performs Gustav Holst's "The Planets" in front of the latest NASA film footage at Wolf Trap on Friday (8 p.m.).

All weekend there's a killer Tribute to Jimmy Smith and Wes Montgomery at Blues Alley in Washington (8 and 10 p.m. shows tonight through Sunday). The band is stacked with the talent of Jimmy Cobb (Miles, Coletrane, Cannonball), Larry Coryell (Mingus, Chico Hamilton, Gary Burton), and Joey DeFrancesco (the living essence of Jimmy Smith on Hammond B3). What more could you possibly need?


Southern country rocker Dean Crawford brings his Dunn's River Band to entertain his growing Mid-Atlantic fan base as he rocks Rams Head On Stage this Saturday (8:30 p.m.), while at Rams Head Live! you can have The Beatles and some great reggae as Yellow Dubmarine combines the two (8 p.m. doors). Psycho Killers join the fray for an evening of dancing and fun. Yellow Dubmarine most recently tackled the complete "Abbey Road" album in an irie dub style.

Also reggae bound, 311 and Slightly Stoopid play a double bill of reggae-based alternative rock at Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, Va., (6:30 p.m. gates).

Folky bass player and songwriter Tom Freund performs his satisfying Americana music at the NightCat this Saturday (7 p.m.). Freund has been touring as bassist with Graham Parker and with Brett Dennen, while also sitting in for a session with Mandy Moore. For the late show, Easton welcomes Carrie Manolakos to the NightCat (9 p.m.). She's an iTunes pop-rock sensation with her cover of Radiohead's "Creep" climbing the charts. Carrie has kept busy over the years in Broadway musical tours of "Wicked" and "Mamma Mia!"

Local D.C. musicians team together for yet another Bandhouse Tribute Gig, this time celebrating the music of Stevie Wonder at the Fillmore in Silver Spring on Saturday (7:30 p.m.).

Enrique Iglesias and Jennifer Lopez bring their extravaganza to the Verizon Center Saturday (7:30 p.m.). Iglesias is the writer of the latest Jennifer Lopez hit, which is the title of the Dance Again Tour.

Also this Saturday night, the National Symphony Orchestra performs Beethoven's "Ninth Symphony" under the stars at Wolf Trap in Vienna, Va. (8 p.m.).


Rams Head On Stage in Annapolis welcomes Joshua Radin's Underwater Tour with Tristan Prettyman and My Name is You on Sunday (7 p.m.). Radin rose to No. 1 on the iTunes Alternative Chart with the release of "The Rock and the Tide." He originally found recognition for his music after placing his first composition, the song "Winter" on the television show "Scrubs." His folk rock sound has been compared to that of the late singers Nick Drake and Elliott Smith.

Also this Sunday, country songwriter Jim Lauderdale works his magic with the Gospel Supper tour stopping at Hill Country in Washington, D.C. (6 p.m.). For $15 you can get into the show and for another $20 you can get a complete dinner.

Old school R&B acts join forces for a massive night of soul classics at the Verizon Center this Sunday (6 p.m.). The lineup includes Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, Patti LaBelle, the O'Jays, Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds, plus eight-time Grammy-nominated R&B singer Tank.

Get over-amped this Sunday at Jiffy Lube Live at the Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival featuring Motorhead, Slipknot, Slayer and Anthrax (1:30 p.m. gates). Or, if you prefer laid back, there's classic 60s Top 40 rock at the Happy Together Tour as the Turtles, Micky Dolenz, Gary Puckett & the Union Gap, the Grass Roots and the Buckinghams all converge on the Filene Center at Wolf Trap (8 p.m.).


At Rams Head On Stage Monday night, the hits keep coming as Toad the Wet Sprocket led by singer Glen Phillips plays two shows in Annapolis (6 and 9 p.m.). It's jangly pop tunes straight to the heart with catchy staples such as "Walk on the Ocean," "All I Want" and "Something's Always Wrong."

The big classic rock show this Monday night pairs Santana, fresh off his casino gigs, and the Allman Brothers Band ganging up for a night of rock fusion at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia (5 p.m.). It's a very limited, six-night tour that the two bands will embark on together, hailing their glory years performing for visionary San Francisco rock promoter Bill Graham. These are two of the original "jam bands" both of which took their cues from jazz artists such as John Coltrane and Miles Davis, plus blues originals such as Bobby Blue Bland and Blind Willie McTell.

Carlos Santana continues to plow the spiritual ground with a plea to step lightly as we live and breathe.

The Allman Brothers Band shed one of their supremely gifted guitarists, Dickie Betts. The loss of one king, however, resulted in the addition of two aces as slide maven Derek Trucks (a shoo-in for the late Duane Allman's seat at the table), and Warren Haynes (Govt Mule, Phil and Friends). Greg Allman continues to inject his soulful and muscular vocals to many of the brother's tunes. The Allman Brothers Band has been awarded 11 Gold and five Platinum albums between 1971 and 2005. Rolling Stone ranked them 52nd on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time in 2004.


Get with the first family of soul on Tuesday night, Kindred the Family Soul that is, performing at Rams Head On Stage for two shows (6:30 and 9:30 p.m.). Husband and wife Fatin Dantzler and Aja Graydon seemingly came out of nowhere in 2003 to release what was likely the most critically acclaimed soul album of that year, "Surrender to Love," under their moniker Kindred the Family Soul. Sounding something like an updated Womack and Womack but with the underlying joyousness of Ashford & Simpson, the duo was a breath of fresh air as they sang of their deep love for each other and their family, even while acknowledging the challenging, often monotonous existence of daily life.

English indie rock band Bombay Bicycle Club plays Rams Head Live! in Baltimore this Tuesday (7 p.m. doors, all-ages show), while Malian Afro-pop couple Amadou & Mariam illuminate the 9:30 Club in D.C. with lovely and rich Bamako harmonies (7 p.m.). Toadies and Helmet perform at the Fillmore in Silver Spring on Tuesday (8 p.m.).


For two nights next week you can bathe in the sounds of the singularly sensational Pat Metheny Unity Band performing at Rams Head On Stage (8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday).

Metheny has won guitar player polls for "Best Jazz Guitarist," and Grammy Awards at every turn (19). He has put together another killer lineup for the current tour of The Pat Metheny Unity Band. The lineup for this project includes sax player Chris Potter, drummer Antonio Sanchez and rising young bassist Ben Williams. The last visit to Rams Head On Stage by the Pat Metheny Group (which included Antonio Sanchez) was not only sensational but, for me, transcendent.

Metheny's guitar virtuosity is blindingly rich and brilliantly colorful, unscathed after so many choice years. To perform at this level the rest of the band must be made up of the world's finest jazz musicians, and it is.

Other Wednesday shows include Freedy Johnston performing at the NightCat in Easton (8 p.m.), George Thorogood & the Destroyers appearing at Wolf Trap (8 p.m.), and Santo Domingan guitarist Joan Soriano "the Duke of Bachata" performing a free summer concert at the Mansion at Strathmore in North Bethesda (7 p.m.).

Thursday, Aug. 2

Next Thursday in the late morning, don't miss African drum and dance band Farafina (meaning "Spirit of Africa") performing a very special family show at the Music Center at Strathmore (11:30 a.m.).

The Temptations will have you singing along to their hits at Wolf Trap next Thursday (8 p.m.). With an impressive series of Top 10 hits including "My Girl," "Can't Get Next to You," "Just My Imagination" and "Papa was a Rolling Stone," the Temptations have understandably been dubbed by Billboard as "the definitive male vocal group of the 1960s."

The rip roarin' acoustic roots riot known as Old Crow Medicine Show breaks out a fresh set of tunes from their new album, "Carry Me Back," as they perform at the sold-out 9:30 Club next Thursday and Friday.

Singer-songwriter Rebecca Loebe of "The Voice" television fame plays folk songs at the NightCat in Easton next Thursday (8 p.m.).

And just announced for a show at the Avalon in Easton - Lucinda Williams in an intimate duo evening with guitarist Doug Pettibone on Aug. 15 (8 p.m.). Tickets area available at the Avalon box office.

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