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Weekend music

Josh Ritter, Sloths, Sheila E. grace Tucson stages

One of the liveliest gigs I've ever seen in this town was a Sunday-night show back in 2007 at the former Plush (now Flycatcher) on Fourth Avenue. I'd first become aware of Josh Ritter hearing tracks off his 2006 album The Animal Years, but this was the first time I'd seen him and his band in person. 

The band was stellar that night, playing Wurlitzer-tinged Americana rock with a hint of Mark Twain-era riverboat gambler style right down to the organist/bass player's Snidely Wiplash mustache. Ritter himself played with warmth and enthusiasm, joking with his band, conversing with his audience and frequently breaking into a slow, astonished ear-to-ear grin, like he  couldn't believe he got to do this kind of thing for a living. 

The Idaho native literally has a degree in the American songbook, having changed his undergrad major at Oberlin College from neuroscience to "American History Through Narrative Folk Music" after hearing the Bob Dylan song "The Girl From The North Country." 

Now 20 years into an accomplished career as an independent artist, Ritter boasts a catalog of 10 full-length albums and a New York Times best-selling novel. Much of his work has been backed by members of his touring grup, known as The Royal City Band after a line in Ritter's song "Thin Blue Flame" off Animal Years. 

Ritter returns to Tucson this Monday at the Rialto Theatre in support of his newest album, Gathering, released late last year on Pytheas Records. Attendees of the show can redeem a free digital recording of the album with ticket purchase. 

Josh Ritter and The Royal City Band, along with opener Nicki Bluhm play the Rialto Theatre at 8 p.m.For more information, visit the venue's website at www.rialtotheatre.com.

Oh, Sheila...

Also playing at Rialto this week is a very, very different show, but one equally worth seeing. On Sunday night, the legendary Sheila E. comes to town, as one of the headlining acts for the Tucson Jazz Festival, a two-week music showcase taking place in Downtown and the U of A area.

The daughter of long-time Santana percussionist Pete Escovedo and cousin of indie artist Alejandro Escovedo, Sheila E. joined the "family business" and became a renowned percussionist and drummer at a young age. 

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Escovedo is probably best known for her longtime association with Prince - in addition to once being engaged to the "Purple One," Esocvedo played drums with Prince and The Revolution for a number of years and lent vocals to the hits "Let's Go Crazy" and "Erotic City" before launching a solo career in the mid-80s with the Grammy nominated album "The Glamorous Life."

Sheila E. has enjoyed a long and remarkable career in the intervening years, both as a Latin/Jazz/Funk/Pop/Rock drummer and percussionist, music director and vocalist. She is currently touring to support her latest album Iconic:2017, a follow up to 2013's Icon.

Sheila E. plays Rialto Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Check out www.rialtotheatre,com for more info.

The Sloths are back, with a little help from the Resonars

Some of Tucson's best local rock bands draw their inspiration from the early and mid-60s garage rock movement, perhaps none so well as Midtown Island Studios house band and local ambassadors of modern psych garage done right, the Resonars. 

Therefore it's only fitting that  legendary California garage pioneers the Sloths would tap the Resonars for their current West Coast tour which kicks off Saturday night at Flycatcher. The Sloths, best known for their 1965 single "Makin Love" recently regrouped and are now recording on the Resonar's label Burger Records. 

The Sloths, The Resonars and Whispering Wires play Flycatcher at 9 p.m. For more info head to www.flycatchertucson.com.

Check your local listings...

Friday, Jan. 12
    • Mason - 9 p.m. at Saint Charles Tavern (S of Downtown)
    • Street Blues Family (Zaya's Birthday Show) - 9 p.m. at Flycatcher (Downtown)
    • Lasso, Sunfucked, & Fleece Deejays - 9 p.m. at Club Congress (Downtown)
    • The Order of Elijah,We Were Giants, Beast Of Bailey Downs, Armed For Apocalypse, The Abstract - 7 p.m. The Loudhouse (North Tucson)
    • Solidarite Sympa - 7 p.m. at Monterey Court (North Tucson)
  • Saturday, Jan. 13

    • The Sloths,The Resonars,Whispering Wires - 9 p.m. at Flycatcher (Downtown)
    • The Paladins - 8 p.m. at 191 E Toole (Downtown)
    • Freddy Parish - 8 p.m. Exo Bar (Downtown)
    • John Clark Band - 9 p.m. at Saint Charles Tavern (S of Downtown)
    • The Coolers - 7 p.m. at House Of Bards (Central Tucson)
    • SKITN Acoustic Show - 8 p.m. at Fini's Landing (North Tucson)

    Sunday Jan. 14

    • Amor Deluxe - 6 p.m. at Che's 
    • Sorxe, Methra, Mother of Thousands - 9 p.m. at Flycatcher (Downtown)
    • Sheila E. - 7:30 p.m. at Rialto Theatre (Downtown)

    Monday Jan. 15 

    • The Black Market Trust - 7 p.m. at Club Congress (Downtown)
    • Josh Ritter & The Royal City Band - 8 p.m. at Rialto Theatre (Downtown)

    Tuesday,  Jan. 16 

    • Lounge Sounds w/ Paul Jenkins - 7 p.m. at The Flycatcher (Downtown)
    • Travesura - 7 p.m. at Club Congress (Downtown)
    • Pinback - 8 p.m. at 191 E Toole (Downtown)

    Wednesday, Jan. 17

    • Audio Push w/ New Elite, T. Will, V. Mendez, Simplistic  & Adobe House - 7 p.m. at Club Congress (Downtown)
    • Railgun, Ninja Gandhi, Conceived By Thunder - 8 p.m. at The Loudhouse (North Tucson)
    • Open Mic - 7 p.m. Sky Bar (Downtown)
    - 30 -
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