Concert Previews

At 75, Wanda Jackson - "the Queen of Rockabilly" - is enjoying new attention.
At 75, Wanda Jackson - "the Queen of Rockabilly" - is enjoying new attention.
Posted: October 12, 2012

Kermit Ruffins

While you weren't watching, the Blockley, the University City club that once upon a time housed the Chestnut Cabaret, has become the local stopping point for touring New Orleans musicians, especially brass bands. A peek ahead at the venue calendar shows horn-happy outfit the Soul Rebels due on Wednesday, funkateers Ivan Neville and roots rocker Anders Osborne on Nov. 3, Big Sam's Funky Nation on Dec. 2, and ReBirth Brass Band on Dec. 30. The seasonal influx from the City That Care Forgot kicks off Friday with one of contemporary New Orleans' biggest stars, trumpeter Kermit Ruffins, the Louis Armstrong acolyte, former ReBirth member, and regular on David Simon's HBO drama Treme. Ruffins is a seasoned entertainer, a formidable bandleader - he'll be playing with his jumping outfit the BBQ Swingers on Friday - and, as his 2010 album Happy Talk demonstrates, a vocalist with an impressive knack for dressing up the Great American Songbook in Crescent City joie de vivre.

- Dan DeLuca


Kermit Ruffins & the BBQ Swingers with the Mummers feat. New Sound Brass at the Blockley, 38th and Chestnut, at 9 p.m. Friday. Tickets: $18, $20. Phone: 215-222-1234, www.theblockley.com.

Calexico

Calexico may have abandoned its native Tucson for the outskirts of New Orleans to record Algiers, its seventh studio album, but that didn't drastically alter the dusky desert sound. Drummer Joey Burns and guitarist and vocalist John Convertino have always painted with a varied palette any way. Burns has described Calexico's style as encompassing "Portuguese fado, '50s jazz, Gypsy or Romani music and its offshoots, '60s surf and twang from Link Wray to country's Duane Eddy, the spaghetti-western epics of Ennio Morricone, and dark indie rock singer songwriters." That's an apt list, although it neglects the many Mexican elements, especially the mariachi horns that grace songs both on Algiers and throughout Calexico's catalog, and downplays the wide-screen crescendos that become even more powerful live, as Friday's show at Union Transfer will no doubt prove.

- Steve Klinge


Calexico and Dodos play at 9 p.m. Friday at Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St. Tickets: $20. Information: 215-232-2100, www.utphilly.com.

Wanda Jackson

She'll be 75 in a week, and Wanda Jackson is enjoying a new round of attention and acclaim. The pioneering female rocker and "Queen of Rockabilly" made a splash last year with the Jack White-produced The Party Ain't Over (playing off the title of her 1958 rocker "Let's Have a Party"). Now she's back with another tellingly titled set, Unfinished Business, produced by another young admirer, Justin Townes Earle. Besides showing that she's still hot as a pistol, it also shows that she's more than just a "Fujiyama Mama," ready to blow her top. She's a versatile singer with a voice that can be both serrated and sultry. So she delivers punchy R&B with "Tore Down" and "Old Weakness (Coming on Strong)"; lean, mean rock with "It's All Over Now"; girl-group pop with "Pushover"; uplifting gospel with "Two Hands"; and a killer country ballad, "Am I Even a Memory?" as a duet with Earle. It all adds up to someone who sounds far from finished.

- Nick Cristiano


Wanda Jackson, with Daniel Romano, at 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Sellersville Theater, 24 W. Temple Ave., Sellersville. Tickets: $29.50 and $40. Information: 215-257-5808, www.st94.com.

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