DONNA THE BUFFALO, the host of the annual GrassRoots Festival, offers innovative iterations on Zydeco and other danceable grooves. Though they’re on the road for a fair part of the year, they traditionally perform a show in the late spring or early summer, which is a special treat for local fans. Friday, May 20, 2011, they’ll stop by Castaways for the first time in a few years; the twangy and talented Double E will open the 9:00 p.m. show.
Tara Nevins, a founding member of Donna the Buffalo, just released “Wood and Stone,” her first solo album since 1999. Produced by Larry Campbell, guests include Levon Helm, Jim Lauderdale, Allison Moorer, and Teresa Williams.
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Lately Ithaca has been the site of several recently discovered lost literary masterpieces. “Cleaning Nabokov’s House” appeared earlier this year to rave reviews, and a few weeks ago the internet was abuzz with word that a manuscript by Italo Calvino had surfaced as well. Stunning scholars and literature fans alike—including Michiko Kakutani, Barbara Kingsolver, and Jonathan Lethem—this manuscript appears to be the lost sequel to “If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler. Friday, May 20, 2011, OdesseyWorks will present a reading from the literary curiosity at 7:30 p.m. at Buffalo Street Books. Readers include Abraham Burickson, Megan Coe, Will Cordeiro, Laurel Lathrop, Bob Proehl and Silviana Russo.
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Jason Isbell, who records with the band 400 Unit, is a gifted singer and songwriter who bridges the gap between Josh Ritter and Jay Farrar. Formerly of the Drive-By Truckers, he has recently released his strongest collection as a solo artist yet: “Here We Rest,” a collection of eleven story songs, portraits of people both immediately recognizable and wholly unique. The stories are revealed in ways both subtle and direct. The result is what GQ Magazine called “the album of the first third of the year.” With Maria Taylor from Azure Ray (9:00 p.m. Saturday at the Haunt).
Friday Happy Hour
Toivo plays a unique mix of Tex-Mex, Finnish and traditional music from the Finger Lakes and around the globe. The band released a lovely CD a few years back called “Laughing Shoe” (5:30 p.m. Friday at Felicia’s).
Luke G. & Owen E. perform 50s and 60s jams (8:00 p.m. Saturday at the Westy).
The former front man of Revision, Nick Bullock has lately been performing with a new group called Sound Awake, which showcases more pop and folk than funk. Bullock also performs solo, and his clever covers (Radiohead, Leonard Cohen) are coupled with original material sure to make you remember why he’s first in his class at the school of rock (7:00 p.m. Sunday at Felicia’s).