Sleepy Hollow’s Shows to See: Justin Townes Earle, Kat Edmonson and more

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Justin Townes Earle | Photo courtesy of the artist
Justin Townes Earle | Photo courtesy of the artist

There is nothing better to keep your spirits up during this relentless onslaught of cold air than to take some time to go see live music. For those of you looking to extend your Sleepy Hollow experience beyond the confines of Saturday and Sunday mornings, here is a rundown of some upcoming concerts we think you ought to check out.

Sean Watkins @ World Cafe Live Philadelphia, Thursday, 2/26 (All Ages, $15)

Fans of contemporary acoustic pioneers Nickel Creek should take the opportunity to see guitarist Sean Watkins at an intimate performance upstairs at World Cafe Live Philadelphia this Thursday. Though less traditional than his better-known work with Nickel Creek, and less chamber-oriented than his bandmate Chris Thile’s recent non-“Creek” excursions, Watkins’ 2014 release, All I Do is Lie, is an excellent set of ten introspective and well-crafted compositions. Ultimately, of course, it’s his guitar playing that steals the show, “saying” more in the album’s instrumental closer, “Meredith,” than many can write in word across an entire album.

Justin Townes Earle @ The Strand-Capitol PAC, Friday, 2/27 (All Ages, $24), @ Sellersville Theater, Monday, 3/2 (All Ages, $25-$39.50)

There will be two opportunities to see Justin Townes Earle in our area (he is also playing a sold out show at the Arden Concert Gild on February 26th): next Friday at The Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center in York, PA and the following Monday at The Sellersville Theater. He is in the midst of what is arguably the artistic peak of his career having released two phenomenal albums, Single Mothers and Absent Fathers, in the past six months. Living up to his name, Justin Townes Earle has internalized the songwriting expertise passed down from his father Steve and his hero, the late Townes Van Zandt. If there is any experience in the present day akin to seeing Van Zandt’s genius in person, it’s watching Justin Townes Earle perform.

Dan Wilson @ World Cafe Live Philadelphia, Saturday, 2/28 (All Ages, $22)

Any songwriters looking for an opportunity to get some cheap advice need look no further than Dan Wilson’s stripped-down “Words & Music” performance this Saturday, upstairs at World Cafe Live Philadelphia. The Minneapolis native is best known to the public for his work with the now-defunct power pop band Semisonic. But those believing the “Closing Time” author to be a mere one-hit-wonder need look more closely–Wilson has written popular songs for a remarkably diverse array of artists including John Legend, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and Adele, with whom Wilson shared a Grammy for the 2011 chart-topper “Someone Like You,” which he produced and co-wrote. His 2014 release, Love Without Fear, has a number of selections particularly suited to the Sleepy Hollow experience, and that, paired with his rich body of work, should equal an undeniably rewarding experience for those in attendance.

Kat Edmonson @ The Baby Grand Opera House, Sunday 3/1 (All Ages, $26)

Two days after she joins us for our upcoming Free at Noon concert, Kat Edmonson will grace the stage at Wilmington’s Baby Grand, housed in the same building as the city’s historic Grand Opera House. The venue, which shares its name with a long-closed jazz club where Jimmy Smith recorded an early live Blue Note LP, is the perfect backdrop for a singer/songwriter whose style blends the theatrical and cinematic with the most classic elements of pop and, yes, jazz. Last year’s The Big Picture synthesized Edmonson’s influence into her most vital statement yet, blending acoustic guitars, lush orchestration, and the occasional pedal steel with her increasingly focused songwriting. Her vocals recall any number of great mid-twentieth century jazz vocalists, especially the musically like-minded Blossom Dearie, but also more contemporary touchstones including Dawn Landes and the softer side of Nellie McKay. It’s music that begs for the kind of space The Baby Grand provides in a modest, but ever-more vibrant city just south of Philadelphia.

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