Less than a week after South by Southwest wraps, the Austin music scene's unofficial mayor hikes up to Kansas City for an evening at Knuckleheads. Alejandro Escovedo — formerly of Rank and File and the Nuns, now a beloved Americana singer-songwriter — is performing with his acoustic band, the Sensitive Boys. He also has a good many musician friends here in KC, so a few surprise appearances from local players wouldn't be totally surprising.
Thursday, March 21, at Knuckleheads Saloon (2715 Rochester, 816-483-1456)
She's a Keeper
In a town (and world) increasingly flooded with rustic folkie bands, She's a Keeper stands out due to its youth — I'm pretty sure some of its members are teenagers — and what seems to be a natural gift for harmony and arrangement. To my ears, the group's use of banjos, mandolins and cello is less evocative of Mumford and Sons than it is a gentler, less offensive folk act like Nickel Creek — though it's possible that nobody in the band is old enough to even remember that group.
Saturday, March 23, at Czar (1531 Grand, 816-421-0300)
Woody Guthrie would have turned 100 last year. To celebrate, his folk-singer son, Arlo Guthrie, is touring the country playing old Woody Guthrie favorites. Expect plenty of storytelling and probably a good 20 minutes' worth of "Alice's Restaurant."
Sunday, March 24, at Yardley Hall, Johnson County Community College (12345 College Boulevard, Overland Park, 913-469-4445)
Mid-'00s contemporaries Modest Mouse and Death Cab for Cutie broke through to the mainstream playing a similar kind of cold, earnest rock, but no such luck for Pinback. The San Diego act is maybe a little too unassuming for the masses — no monster hooks, no sexy back story — but the dynamic interplay between core members Rob Crow and Zach Smith has resulted in some very smart, fresh, mathy (in a good way) rock songs over the years. And they've cultivated a loyal fanbase: A herd of enthusiastic, lyrics-reciting emo dudes packed the Riot Room for Pinback last spring. Given that the band has just released Information Retrieved, its first album in five years, that should be true this time around as well.
Friday, March 22, at the Riot Room (4048 Broadway, 816-442-8179)