Local Licks

This week we review Rick Di Dia & Aireene Espiritu, Grace Woods Trio, Ten Ton Chicken, and McCabe & Mrs. Miller.

Rick Di Dia & Aireene Espiritu, The Ten Ton Feather. Rick Di Dia & Aireene Espiritu do rootsy Americana with a whole lot of skill. Country, blues, and folk come together with slightly rough-around-the-edges male and female vocals and lyrics with a melancholy edge to create a sound that’s unexpectedly timeless. Extra points for the particularly skillful banjo picking that lend an eerie edge to “Shine.” (self-released)

At Freight & Salvage (2020 Addison St., Berkeley) on May 22. 8 p.m., $18.50, $19.50

Grace Woods Trio, A Good Day in Red Paper EP. It’s hard to figure out what Grace Woods Trio is going for stylistically. It’s a little bit jazz, and sort of pop, but it’s not an entirely comfortable blend. Vocals are harsh and oddly grating, almost off-key, and the bass is so high in the mix that it’s hard to hear anything else. It’s a puzzling album from a band that’s in need of a much better producer. (self-released)

Ten Ton Chicken, Efitol. Imagine starting with classic Latin rock, then adding reggae, a bit of funk, hints of ska, and some off-kilter humor and you’ve got Ten Ton Chicken, an odd yet fun band. The skill level is higher than you might expect from a band that produced a song as irreverent as “Second Cousin.” Hire them for your next backyard party. (self-released)

At the Starry Plough (3101 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley) on May 27. 9 p.m., $6

McCabe & Mrs. Miller, Time for Leaving. Time for Leaving is a lovely, gentle little slice of blues with some folk and country tinges. Named after the 1971 Western, McCabe & Mrs. Miller may lack Warren Beatty but they have a lot of the movie’s boozy charm. The lyrics read like an homage to the Old West, and everything about the band is smooth and polished. (Magnetic)

At the Starry Plough (3101 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley) on May 20. 9 p.m., free


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