April showers bring May flowers – and some pretty good shows. This May seems particularly heavy in the “veteran singer-songwriter” category, along with some up-and-coming Vancouver talent. Let’s look at some of the music acts that might not have the marquee value of Rihanna but are worth checking out.
May 1 – Paul Kelly at the Rio Theatre (1660 E. Broadway). Australian singer/songwriter Paul Kelly is huge back home and has a cult following in North America. His songs are smart, literate (he’s written at least one song based on a Raymond Carver short story) and tuneful, and he’s touring in support of his 19th album, Spring and Fall. Dan Kelly opens. Show: 9 p.m. Tickets: $25 at ticketweb.
May 2 – T. Nile at the Biltmore Cabaret (2755 Prince Edward St.). One of the top music prizes in British Columbia if not the country is the triple-digit Peak Performance Prize. One of this year’s finalists for the prize, Vancouver singer/songwriter T. Nile, previews some songs from her upcoming album Thursday night at the Biltmore. The bill also includes Fields of Green, Dirty Spells, Colour The Wild, and Melissa Bandura. Show: 9 p.m. Tickets: $12 at the door.
May 11 – Richard Thompson at the Rio Theatre (1660 E. Broadway). An acclaimed guitarist – Rolling Stone magazine named him one of the “20 Greatest Guitarists” – and songwriter, Richard Thompson is on tour for his 22nd album, Electric. Show: 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $39.50.
May 17 – Bill Baird at The Cobalt (917 Main St.). For those adventurous musical souls, Oakland-based psychedelic pop musician Bill Baird will be in town to play tracks from his new album Spring Break of the Soul. A small ensemble of local musicians will help Baird realize the songs, which (may) include his cover of the Christopher Cross track “Sailing”. The V.Vecker Ensemble and Dissonant Disco open. Show: 8:30 p.m. Tickets: $10 in advance at Red Cat Records (4332 Main St.), Highlife Records (1317 Commercial Drive) and Zulu Records (1972 W. 4th St).
May 18 – Yo La Tengo at the Commodore Ballroom (868 Granville St.). The Hoboken, NJ indie-rock band plays two sets, one acoustic and one not, in support of their latest album Fade. Show: 9:30. Tickets: $25 at Ticketmaster.
May 28 – Eugene Ripper at the Railway Club (579 Dunsmuir). Trailblazing folk rocker Eugene Ripper aka Bruce Charlap reports his latest, Fast Folk Underground III (Quiet Light) lives up to its title. “It’s a mellower ride than some of my other stuff,” he told us, “incubated over the course of more than 1000 evenings of pulling out an acoustic and playing for my mom in her long-term care home after my papa passed away. I found some new keys for my voice and laid back. Anyway, that’s the way it went down this time around.” Cover charge is $10 and includes a copy of the album. Show: 7 p.m. Tickets: $10 (at the door).