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Ghosts and Liars, Charlotte Thistle and others

Volcano music scribes tell you where to go

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Thursday, Jan. 24

FOLK charlotte thistle

I’ve always been a sucker for women songwriters. Maybe it’s because they give me insight on how to deal with the opposite sex. But folk singer Charlotte Thistle refuses to give me any tips on how to do this as she pens tunes that speak directly to women. A true folkie, Thistle works solo with an acoustic guitar, and as an artist she ranks up there with Ani di Franco, but isn’t quite so abrasive. This is not to say she’s all fluff and no substance as she can get political and speak out on such topics as war and social injustices, but she does so with an incredible wit.

Thistle has no agenda or goals to sell a billion albums; she just wants to sing her songs. It is with this humble mindset she has garnered such fabulous press and has won over so many fans in the Northwest. Her 2005 debut, A Girl With a Guitar, was a thought provoking and insightful recording, which critics salivated over. With simplicity in her music and complexity in her lyrics, she did a balancing act between the two with candor, humor and intelligence. — Tony Engelhart

[A Rhapsody in Bloom Florist and Café, 7 p.m., all ages, no cover, 3709 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, 253.761.7673]

Friday, Jan. 25

INDIE POP ghosts and liars

In 2006 Some By Sea played their final show. It was the end of a three-plus year run that saw the band become one of the most exciting indie pop acts to emerge from Tacoma in quite some time. Not long after Some By Sea hung up their rock and roll shoes, Chris Du Bray and Rachel Bowman, who’d been priceless cogs in the Some By Sea machinery, created Ghosts and Liars. Along with Eino Holm, A.J. Gard and Lee Haines, the five-some has been gaining traction ever since.

Ghosts and Liars fit into Tacoma’s indie pop scene like an odd colored sweater and an untamed beard. The band’s music, like bittersweet candy with a contemplative aftertaste, is as fresh as it is familiar and well crafted. Ghosts and Liars would fit into any respectable indie rock scene, even a slightly snooty one like Portland’s. Luckily for Tacoma, Ghosts and Liars calls the 253 home.

Continuing a recently impressive string of bookings that has put the Viaduct on the map and the tip of hipsters’ tongues, Ghosts and Liars, along with Garage Voices and Hey Hollywood, will play a show at the all-ages venue on South Tacoma Way this Friday, Jan. 25. Ghosts and Liars are leading the class of indie Tacoma, and the Viaduct is a perfect platform. This is a sure thing. — Matt Driscoll

[Viaduct, Ghosts and Liars, Garage Voice, Hey Hollywood, Gazelles, The Globes, Friday, Jan. 25, 7 p.m., all ages, $8, 5412 S. Tacoma Way, Tacoma, venue]


Saturday, Jan. 26

JAZZ/BLUES the larry hill quartet

A song is just a song if sung without feeling. Example: all “American Idol” contestants. Larry Hill sings with as much feeling as Ray Charles and Otis Redding combined. Too bad he’s not younger and prettier or he could be a contender on Idol.

Hill has been a staple in the Northwest music scene for more than 30 years whose master of the ivories is literally unmatched. Playing a mix of jazz, R&B and blues, he is a well rounded artist who can adapt easily as his repertoire ranges from the classic “You Don’t Know Me” to Van Morrison’s “Moondance.” While he would be great with any number of musicians, he is stupendous because of his band mate — guitar virtuoso Dave Croston.

Another old school musician, Croston’s career has also spanned more than three decades. Not a flashy guitar player, his tones are subtle, understated but effective. He and his classic Gibson are responsible for a very good recording, Pulse of the City, where he flirts with Afro, Cuban and Latin rhythms as well as funk, blues and jazz.

With a killer rhythm section in Lee Gregory (bass) and Peter Boardway (drums), The Larry Hill Quartet is as tight as a snare drum, with just as much kick. — TE

[Robert’s 99th Street, 8 p.m., 99th and Pacific Avenue, Tacoma, 253.536.1464]

Monday, Jan. 28

STRING SWING the tune stranglers

As you know, the Weekly Volcano digs The Tune Stranglers. I have written about the string swing band four times myself. The reason we give the Stranglers so much love is because they are friggin’ awesome. Monday, the band will celebrate its third anniversary of playing every Monday at the Brotherhood Lounge.

I dig it when a band expands my musical universe and forces me to discover artists I’ve overlooked; the Tune Stranglers have succeeded at doing so. The band’s list of influences is a bunch of folks I’ve never even heard of. I mean sure, I’d heard of Earl Scruggs and Bob Wills, but Stuff Smith?

Comprised of Scuff Acuff (washboard, lead vocals), James Schneider (banjo), Eliza Welch (fiddle), Boom Boom “Sweets” Levine (bass), and Rich Sikorski (lead vocals, guitar, ukulele), the Olympia-based acoustic unit incorporates bluegrass, country swing and vintage string jazz. All very accomplished musicians, they placed first place at the Northwest String Summit in 2006. As a live act, the zany quintet creates a relaxed atmosphere and probably wouldn’t mind if you showed up to gig in your underwear or at least kicked your shoes off. — TE

[The Brotherhood Lounge, 7:30 p.m., no cover, 119 Capitol Way N., Olympia, 360.352.4153]

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