Music » Critics' Picks

Critics' Picks: Eilen Jewell, Joan of Arc, Leon Russell, Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt

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Thu., Jan. 27 -- Roots

Sweet-voiced singers playing gentle Americana aren't exactly rare these days. But while Eilen Jewell can play that role well with sunny numbers about being a "lonely rambler girl," she also digs deeper than most, both musically and psychologically. Jewell's latest is 2009's Sea of Tears, in which she and her band summon the dark, David Lynchian side of pre-Beatles rock 'n' roll on songs like the title track and "In the End." Jewell will perform at Thunderbird Café with openers Hero & The Lie. Aaron Jentzen 8 p.m. 4023 Butler St., Lawrenceville. $12 ($14 day of show). 412-682-0177 or


Fri., Jan. 28 -- Acoustic

Expect a stripped-down acoustic set from two songwriting legends at Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland, when Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt make their Pittsburgh stop. The two country-rock notables, who both rose to prominence in the 1980s, have toured together before; this time, it's fresh on the heels of Hiatt's 2010 album The Open Road. (Lovett's most recent came in 2009.) Andy Mulkerin 8 p.m. 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland. $44.50-74.50. 800-745-3000



Fri., Jan. 28 -- Rock

Leon Russell has spent a lifetime flirting with mainstream rock-stardom while holding down a career behind the scenes. A legendary session musician in the early '60s, he became a popular solo artist in the '70s while writing songs that were recorded by Ray Charles and The Carpenters. His latest act was last year's collaboration with Elton John, called The Union; the 2011 Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame inductee will appear (without Sir Elton) at Altar Bar. Chet Vincent & the Big Bend and East Coast Turnaround open. AM 9 p.m. 1620 Penn Ave., Strip District. $27. 412-263-2877 or


Thu., Feb. 3 -- Rock

Guitarist and singer Tim Kinsella may be the only thread running through Joan of Arc's many lineups and musical shifts, but the Chicago indie group is built upon interaction between musicians, not just a backing band. Formed in the mid-1990s from the ashes of Cap'n Jazz, Joan of Arc celebrated 10 years in 2006 with a retrospective, The Intelligent Design of Joan of Arc; the group's latest release, Flowers, came out in 2009. The band has also spawned side projects including Make Believe and Love of Everything. Joan of Arc will play Garfield Artworks on a bill that includes former Arc member Jeremy Boyle, as well as American Cloud Songs and Intergalactic Fantasy Safari. AJ 8 p.m. 4931 Penn Ave., Garfield. $8 ($10 day of show). 412-361-2262 or

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