.Calendar Picks: Week of Jan. 11-17

THURSDAY

BLUES

COCO MONTOYA

Renowned left-handed bluesman Coco Montoya decided to bring his road-tested bandmates into the studio for the first time on his latest album, Writing On The Wall. The album combines Montoya’s inventive guitar playing and soulful, raspy vocals with the talents of keyboardist and songwriter Jeff Paris, bassist Nathan Brown and drummer Rena Beavers. The resulting musical alchemy of blues, rock and soul is fiery and rich, simmering with classic blues energy. The well-seasoned band is back on the road for a cross-country tour kicking off in California. – SONYA BENNETT-BRANDT

INFO: 8pm, Freight & Salvage, 2020 Addison St., Berkeley. $26-$31. 510.644.2020.

FRIDAY

COUNTRY

JENNY DON’T AND THE SPURS

There are two types of people: Those who love modern country and those who prefer the classics. People who fall into the former crowd have no problem finding the label-created, radio-pop-friendly sounds cranking out of Nashville. But for those in the latter crowd, finding musicians and songwriters who evoke Merle Haggard, Marty Robbins or Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys takes some digging. For the past dozen years, Jenny Don’t and the Spurs have rolled out independent country and western tunes with a punk-rock attitude and rockabilly coolness. Their fifth album, Fire on the Ridge, came out in 2021, and this tour finds them on the cusp of dropping their sixth record sometime later this spring. – MAT WEIR

INFO: 8:30pm, Ivy Room, 860 San Pablo Ave., Albany. $15/adv, $18/door. 510.526.5888. 

FUSION

FULA BROTHERS

Fula Brothers combines West African sounds with American folk-guitar stylings to create an exuberant fusion. Mamadou Sidibe brings Malian influences rooted in his illustrious status as the first musician to take the ancient hunter’s harp outside traditional hunter ceremonies. The instrument he helped to develop decades ago, known as kamale ngoni, finds lovely synchronicity alongside Walter Strauss’ fingerstyle guitar and Brian Rice’s Latin-leaning percussion. Once the vocals enter the mix, this trio reaches transcendent territory, giving their audience a sound feast unlike any other. Acoustic Guitar magazine describes the music as “a joyous, ebullient chorus.” – ADDIE MAHMASSANI

INFO: 7:30pm, The Sound Room, 3022 Broadway, Oakland. $25-$32.50. 510.708.7691.

SATURDAY

SOUL

IN THE NAME OF LOVE: FEATURING THE MUSIC OF STEVIE WONDER

Cancel plans and park your heinie at the Paramount Theatre this Saturday for the cultural event of the season. The 20th-anniversary concert carves its annual heart-shaped circle around the legacy work of Martin Luther King Jr. through Stevie Wonder’s music. Top Bay Area talent includes the ebullient jazz singer/composer Rhonda Benin, vocally dexterous hip-hop artist Kev Choice, honey-toned Nona Brown and other special guest artists. Their original arrangements of Wonder’s songs are presented in collaboration with Awesome Orchestra Collective and the Howard Wiley band. Sabrina Thomas, of Building Futures, will receive the 2024 Oakland Citizen Humanitarian Award. – LOU FANCHER

INFO: 7pm, Paramount Theatre, 2025 Broadway, Oakland. $13.50-$103.50. 510.893.2300.

LATIN JAZZ

THE JOHN SANTOS SEXTET

Cherished Bay Area renaissance man John Santos has been an extraordinary force in Afro-Latin music for 50 years. He’s a prolific producer, multi-percussionist, historian, writer, teacher, composer and bandleader who’s fostered Bay Area musical talent for decades by orchestrating unique collaborations and vibrant live performances that bridge generations and styles. The John Santos Sextet is celebrating the release of their latest recording project, Vieja Escuela, an old-school tribute to Afro-Latin Jazz legends. Special guests include Cuban percussionist Orestes Vilató, Bay Area violinist Anthony Blea, Peruvian violinist and vocalist Fernanda Bustamante, and Mexican vocalist and multi-instrumentalist José Roberto Hernandez. – SB

INFO: 8pm, Freight & Salvage, 2020 Addison St., Berkeley. $30/adv, $35/door. 510.644.2020.

SUNDAY

ROCK

SEAN O’BRIEN AND HIS DIRTY HANDS

If you’ve been to the Ivy Room—heck, if you’ve listened to more than one or two Bay Area bands in the past 20 years—you’ll have rocked with O’Brien. The prolific lead singer/songwriter and indie creator/collaborator formed his permanent band, the Dirty Hands, in 2006. Now featuring O’Brien with guitarist Damon Wood, bassist Kevin T. White and drummer Ihor Pacholuk, the band plans three new album releases in 2024. Also appearing is East Bay band Cornbread Willie, whose mix of original and cover songs highlights acoustic string instruments and Americana folk and country-style vocals. – LF

INFO: 3pm, Ivy Room, 860 San Pablo Ave., Albany. $12. 510.526.5888.

MONDAY

JAZZ

AZURE MCCALL

Azure McCall is not just a jazz singer; she identifies as a storyteller. Known as Hawaii’s first lady of jazz, she was born in Berkeley but spent 30 years living and working in the Aloha State. There, she received the Na Hoku Award—the Hawaiian equivalent of a Grammy—introduced a scat program in Hawaiian public schools and even performed for Barack Obama at a 2008 pre-election event in his home state. Always eager to give back to her community, McCall’s latest musical adventure finds her teaching at the Oakland Public Conservatory of Music and the Jazzschool in Berkeley. – AM

INFO: 8pm, Yoshi’s, 510 Embarcadero West, Oakland. $24. 510.238.9200.  

WEDNESDAY

ELECTRONIC

BO EN

It’s no surprise that today’s music industry isn’t here for the musicians. Rarely do musicians make money off their actual music, relying instead on T-shirts, hot sauces, clothing brands, jewelry brands, liquor, marijuana strains, headphones and more. The point is that today’s musicians need to diversify, and Calum Bowen (English electronic musician and producer Bo En) knows a thing or two about it. Along with writing and releasing his solo records, Bowen is a well-established and celebrated video game soundtrack composer. His work includes the soundtracks to Pikuniku, Lovely Planet, Up Up Ubie, Ooblets and many more. – MW

INFO: 8pm, The New Parish, 1743 San Pablo Ave., Oakland. $25. 510.227.8177. 

COUNTRY

DANIEL DONATO’S COSMIC COUNTRY

Nashville prodigy Daniel Donato went from winning Guitar Hero as a kid to busking as a young teen, then landed a spot as the youngest regular musician in the Don Kelley Band at 17. Now he describes his sound as “21st-century cosmic country,” a mix of the classic country gold and honky-tonk with psychedelic jams and a hefty dose of the Grateful Dead. Donato’s fans call themselves “DD Heads” to honor his unique blend of styles. Despite a medley of influences, Donato’s music feels natural and cohesive, simultaneously rooted in traditional jam-band country and charged with unique young Millennial trailblazing energy. – SB

INFO: 8pm, Cornerstone, 2367 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley. $21/adv, $26/door. 510.214.8600.

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