Lions & Lambs
An Oil City native, singer-songwriter David Bavas spent his formative years in the Appalachian foothills. These days, he lives in Nashville. For this record, he draws on romantic elements of both places, resulting in stripped-down Americana that feels familiar while specific to no place in particular. Sometimes it's too cute (lyrics like "I don't rent French films / I don't read philosophy" are a tad cartoony), but thanks, in part, to producer Kevin Suggs — who has worked with The Shins and Cat Power — the feel of the record is spot-on: A couple tracks could pass for lost Townes Van Zandt songs.
DAVID BAVAS with PAUL LABRISE. 7 p.m. Sat., March 21. Club Café, 56 S. 12th St., South Side. $8. 412-431-4950 or www.clubcafelive.com
Bill Toms & Hard Rain
Deep in the Shadows
Bill Toms has been in the rock 'n' roll game for a long time, going back to the late '80s, when he was lead guitarist for Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers. And his newest record is what you would expect from someone who once had an album produced by Bruce Springsteen. No serious ground is broken here, but that isn't a bad thing: From the bombastic horns of opening track, "I Got No Use (For What You're Selling Me)," to the driving piano on "Treat Me Like a Man," this rollicking collection does big, bluesy rock right.
BILL TOMS & HARD RAIN CD RELEASE. 9 p.m. Sat., March 28. Club Café, 56 S. 12th St., South Side. $12. 412-431-4950 or www.clubcafelive.com