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The best of the season’s roots, world, folk, and blues
By TED DROZDOWSKI  |  September 12, 2007

RODRIGO Y GABRIELA: set their guitars on fire at the Orpheum October 17.

Fall preview 2007
“Happy endings: Bad news begets good tunes.” By Matt Ashare. 
“Busy busy: Something for everyone this fall.” By Debra Cash. 
“Stage worthies: Fall on the Boston boards.” By Carolyn Clay. 
“Basstown nights: The new scene emerges; Halloween preparations.” By David Day. 
“War, peace, and Robert Pinsky: The season’s fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.” By John Freeman.
“Trane, Joyce Dee Dee, Sco, and more: A jam-packed season of jazz.” By Jon Garelick. 
“Turn on the bright lights: Art, women, politics, and food.” By Randi Hopkins. 
“War zones: Fall films face terror at home and abroad.” By Peter Keough. 
“Locked and loaded: The fall promises a double-barreled blast of gaming greatness.” By Mitch Krpata.
“BBC? America!: The networks put some English on the fall TV season.” By Joyce Millman. 
“World music: The BSO goes traveling, and Berlin comes to Boston.” By Lloyd Schwartz.
“Singles scene: Local bands dig in with digital.” By Will Spitz. 
It’s payback time for Boston’s blues and roots music scene. On October 28 there’s a benefit concert for the family of the late promoter and musician TEO LEYASMEYER at the Arlington Regent Theatre (7 Medford St; 781.646.4849).

The show will feature a stellar line-up of locally based players with national reputations, along with some still-to-be-announced stars. So far JERRY PORTNOY, DAVIDMAXWELL, MATT MCCABE, MICHAEL “MUDCAT” WARD, RICKY “KING” RUSSELL, JEFF PITCHELL, DARRELL NULISCH, MIKE WELCH, BRIAN TEMPLETON, PER HANSON, RACKY THOMAS, NICK ADAMS, and SAX GORDON BEADLE — a blues who’s who — have signed on.

“Everybody loved Teo,” says guitarist Peter Ward (Michael’s brother), who, along with long-time Boston impresario Fred Taylor, is staging the benefit. “He was a champion of so many artists and was quick to lend a helping hand. Now it’s time for those who were touched by him, the musicians and fans who benefitted from what he did, to reach out to his family.”

By the time of the Leyasmeyer benefit, the fall roots-music calendar will be fully revved. Here’s a rundown of other highlights.

The annual free BOSTON BLUES FESTIVAL takes over the Hatch Shell September 22 and 23, from noon to 6 pm. On Saturday, it’s New Englanders LLOYD THAYER, RYAN HARTT & THE BLUE HEARTS, BILLY BLUE, and the WHITE OWLS leading up to turban-wearing lap-steel ace SONNY RHODES backed by the BRIAN TEMPLETONBAND. The great songwriter SIR MACK RICE headlines Sunday, with CHICAGO BOB NELSON, the MYSTIX, CHRIS STOVALLBROWN, MADELINE HALL, and JEREMYLYONS opening (more at

Folksinger JOHNNY IRION brings his band to Johnny D’s (17 Holland St, Somerville; 617.776.2004) on the 27th; local retro hounds TARBOX RAMBLERS appear there on the 28th. Across the street that same night at the Somerville Theatre (55 Davis Square), hot Irish acoustic traditionalists LÚNASA take the stage. And Boston folk-scene legend BILL STAINES holds court at Harvard Square’s Club Passim (47 Palmer St; or 617.492.7679) on September 29.

Brazilian-American singer ANITA COELHO plays Johnny D’s on the 4th, even as J.J. GREY AND MOFRO get Southern jams going at the Roxy (279 Tremont St). Also that night, local roots superstars SESSION AMERICANA make their Brattle Theatre debut (40 Brattle St, Cambridge;, and Woodstock legend COUNTRYJOE MCDONALD brings his Woody Guthrie tribute to Club Passim.

Asian zither may sound esoteric, but it’s also beautiful under the hands of the quartet THREE ZEE PLUS, who play Room 14W-111 of MIT’s Killian Hall (160 Memorial Drive, Cambridge; 617.253.2826) October 7 at 3 pm. An hour later in MIT’s Tang Center (2 Amherst St, Cambridge; 617.258.7971), violinist T.N. KRISHNAN, a top practitioner of the Carnatic and Hindustani traditions of Indian classical music, performs.

Geoff Bartley’s acclaimed Monday acoustic nights at Central Square’s Cantab Lounge (738 Mass Ave; 617.354.2685) begin a blues series on the 8th with MISS TESS; she’s followed by LISA MARIE & PAUL SPIEDEL on the 15th, MARTIN GROSSWENDT on the 22nd, and local lap-slide hero LLOYD THAYER on the 29th. Blues continues the next night at Johnny D’s with New England acoustic giant PAUL GEREMIA and DAVE HULL.

The Regattabar in Harvard Square’s Charles Hotel (1 Bennett St; www.regattabarjazz.comor 617.395.7757) becomes Little Argentina on the 11th with TIERRA TANGO featuring Buenos Aires singer KATIE VIQUEIRA. And Boston becomes Little Ireland — oh, scratch that, it already is — when the great MARY BLACK headlines the Berklee Performance Center (136 Mass Ave, Boston) on the 13th. Also that night, in Central Square, West African fusion band MAMADOU play ArtsCentral (18 Temple St; And on the 13th and 14th, folk legend and activist HOLLY NEAR is at Club Passim.

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  Topics: Music Features , Rodrigo Gabriela , Teo Leyasmeyer , Wanda Jackson ,  More more >
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