Widower, Shane Tutmarc, the Weight and Country Lips play the Comet Tavern tonight at 8 p.m. for $6. The Weight is a Brooklyn country band whose songs come complete with pedal steel, organ and enough twang to curl your eyelashes, but their lyrics about text messaging give them away as urban folk, not true blue backwoods boys. The songs are good, though, so who cares? And the local backers are good too; you can read Brian J. Barr's take on Tutmarc's latest over here, and if you haven't heard Widower yet, they're a pretty solid local country band fronted by Kevin Large, who's accompanied by bassist and singer Heather Cowan, banjo player Dave Ulrich and three members of the Maldives: Tim Gadbois (who plays guitar), Ryan McMackin (who plays drums) and Chris Zasche (who plays pedal steel and guitar in the Maldives and Grand Hallway).
There's also Dr. Lonnie Smith's second show today at Dimitriou's Jazz Alley, which starts at 7:30 p.m. and costs $22.50 (it's also all ages):
A key figure in the rise of the organ in jazz, as well as one of the architects of the soul-jazz sound, "Dr." Lonnie Smith (AKA The Turbanator) is something of a jazz anomaly with his staunchly self-taught approach. Smith doesn't read music, so his playing tends to come from a highly individual headspace where personal expression and gut-level energy are favored over rote formula. These days, thanks to younger groups that have latched onto the organ, the style that Smith helped pioneer has become familiar. But Smith remains a voice to reckoned with. He is known for his assertive approach and colorful personality (the googly eyes, facial expressions, and turban certainly don't hurt), but he also stresses the need to hold back where appropriate. It's not for nothing that Smith refers to the Hammond B-3 as "the monster," and his lyricism and dynamic control demonstrate why, decades after playing with the likes of George Benson, Jack McDuff, David "Fathead" Newmwan, and Lou Donaldson, he is still considered one of the prime ministers of his instrument. With Peter Bernstein and Bill Stewart. SABY REYES-KULKARNI