GREENE DAY: Ask any musician: a good guitarist is hard to come by. Sure, nine out of 10 frat guys have probably picked up an acoustic at some point in their mating career, but it takes a mighty talent and sharp wit to truly master the electric axe. That’s why some of music’s greatest shredders (Keith Richards, Jimmy Page, Tom Morello) often outshine their frontmen. It’s also why I encourage you to check out S.B.’s own guitar maestro, Alastair Greene, when he drops his newest album this Saturday, June 27, at Whiskey Richards (435 State St.). The new disk, titled Walking In Circles, is anything but a rehashing of Greene’s multifaceted musical past. The title track is a swampy blues rock out that packs in solos aplenty (including one swinging harmonica breakdown), proving Greene’s impeccable command of his instrument and begging his listeners to boogie along. The party starts at 9 p.m. and promises discounted albums, new tunes, and guest appearances by just a few of Greene’s many musical cohorts. Call 963-1786 or visit agsongs.com for show info.
And for those who can’t make it out, worry not, as Greene will be hitting the airwaves to promote Walking In Circles, too. On Thursday, June 25, catch him on Leo’s Bluesland on KCSB 91.9 from 8 to 10 p.m. On Monday, June 29 he’ll swing by KCSB’s Views of the Blues with Steve Daniels from 2 to 4 p.m. Visit kcsb.org for details.
EXTREME ENTERTAINMENT: Listening to Byron Friedman‘s twangy tunes and heartfelt lyrics would lead you to believe the kid’s been writing music since grade school - and then you get the back story. Friedman, a former nationally ranked ski star, moved to S.B. and picked up the guitar after a serious injury crushed his hopes of Olympic glory back in 2005. Since then, the young singer-songwriter has self-released a folksy debut album (2006’s Road Sodas) and a winning follow-up (this year’s Matchstick Memories). Friedman will play a show alongside fellow folk rocker, Rusty Lindsay, next Thursday, July 2, at SOhO (1221 State St.) at 8:30 p.m. Call 962-7776 or visit sohosb.com for details.
AGUA CALIENTE: It’s no surprise that the on-again, off-again relationship between the Florida punk rockers of Hot Water Music would eventually lead band members to strike out solo. What might be surprising, though, are the sounds coming out of former frontman Chuck Ragan‘s singer-songwriter effort. Gone are the crunching guitars and speed drumming backdrops of Hot Water Music’s past, and in their place are fiddles - lots of ‘em. Ragan’s signature deep vocals are still alive and well, as is his emotive presence, but the sound is more old school Cash country then anything close to punk rock. The result is something well worth any HWM fan’s attention, and likely to appeal to those who never even knew the band existed in the first place. For a taste, head on over to myspace.com/chuck ragan, or check him out live when he plays Velvet Jones (423 State St.) this Saturday, June 27. Call 965-8676 or visit ticketweb.com for tickets.
HUNGRY, HUNGRY HIPSTERS: With school out and subleasers slowly swarming in, it’s official - summer in Isla Vista has begun. Lucky for us year-rounders, the folks at SBDIY are booking shows through the warm summer months, meaning more music and more parking for non-I.V. concert goers. This Thursday, June 25, head up to the Isla Vista Food Co-op (6575 Seville Rd.) at 5 p.m. when they host Dustin and the Furniture, Wabash, and Y Lime. These three Chicago-based bands promise two-plus hours of lo-fi goodness, plus the added bonus of having a goodie-filled grocer double as a show venue, which means plenty of snacks. My best bet: Wabash, which consists of one kid, his keyboard, and a sing-speak approach that calls to mind the great Ben Folds. Visit sbdiy.org for show details.