Arlo Guthrie in Concert at CHMH; Sha Na Na Plays Palace; Mr. Smalls Hosts Rising Appalachia (Sat., 11/16/19)

1) Not many folk musicians have the bloodlines or the background of Arlo Guthrie. A son of the late Woody Guthrie—who, along with some other folks—practically invented the modern folk genre. Arlo also learned by playing and singing with his dad’s friend Pete Seeger, who was one of the most compelling live performers in any genre. Guthrie The Younger is best known for his beautiful cover of the railroad-train ballad “City of New Orleans” (above), though many hardcore fans prefer the sly rambling style of his original talkin’-blues number “Alice’s Restaurant”. Expect to hear both when Arlo takes the stage at the Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall on his Alice’s Restaurant Tour with daughter Sarah Lee Guthrie. And when he swings into his father’s anthem “This Land Is Your Land,” be prepared to sing along. 8 p.m. 510 E. 10th Ave., Munhall.  (MV)

2) There might be other rock and roll groups named after nonsense lyrics but there’s only one Sha Na Na. The original members promoted themselves as tough street guys from New York, but they were intellectuals who met and formed as students at Columbia University in 1969. (Former vocalist Robert Leonard became a renowned forensic linguist, a career perhaps inspired by analyzing the etymology of “sha na na.”) The guys got their act together quickly enough to perform at Woodstock in August of 1969, then went on to fame and fortune with their high-spirited brand of throwback R&R and doo-wop. Sha Na Na’s 50th Anniversary Tour visits The Palace Theatre with a lineup including original and/or longtime members Donny York, Jocko Marcellino, and Screamin’ Scott Simon. Opening is Pendulum, a Credence Clearwater revival tribute band. 7:30 p.m. 21 W. Otterman St., Greensburg. (MV)

3) Sisters Chloe and Leah Smith (also known as Leah Song) are the leaders of the band Rising Appalachia. The sisters and other bandmates have created their own vision of Appalachian music which draws on the influences of folk, world, soul, hip-hop, classical, Southern gospel, and other genres. The sisters—who rose out of the quaint Southern town of Atlanta, Georgia—believe in a holistic approach to their craft. Leah Song has said “Music is the tool with which we wield political prowess. Melody for the roots of each of us…spreading song and sound around the globe. Music has become our script for vision—not just for aural pleasure, not just for hobby, but now as a means to connect and create in ways that we aren’t taught by mainstream culture.” The group’s 2008 Evolutions in Sound: LIVE was hailed as “green album of the year” by a writer on The Huffington Post. Opening locally for Rising Appalachia is Raye Zaragoza. 8 p.m. Mr. Smalls Theatre, 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. 

WORDPLAY (“a new spin on storytelling”) by multiple creators. Nov. 15 – 16, Bricolage Production Company. 

4) Bricolage Production Company’s WordPlay is a hybrid event that invites Pittsburghers to submit stories in writing—as long as they’re true, because this is nonfiction, and nonfiction means “not not true.” A chosen few then tell their stories at each WordPlay, with a DJ on hand to accompany the tales by spinning utterly unpredictable music and sounds.  8 p.m. 937 Liberty Ave., Cultural District. (MV) 

5)  Bill Toms and Hard Rain with the Soulville Horns will be rockin’ out Portogallo Peppers N’at this evening. Toms’ slightly raspy, deeply soulful voice and his guitar playing prowess combine with the drums, horns, and the rest of the band to create a hot rock sound. Their latest release is Live, a concert recording from last year at Club Cafe. 8 p.m. 28 Braddock Ave., Braddock.

6) Bodiography Center for Movement and Bodiography founder/artistic director Maria Caruso, with performances by all of Bodiography Pittsburgh’s companies, BCB, BCB2, and BCB3, will be joined by guest artists and choreographers in a new set of works for Multiplicity. Caruso sets the work on Italy’s Matrafisc, as Italy’s Antonello Apicella, Montreal’s Giverny Welsch. Resident artists Kirstie Corso, Nicole Jamison, and Bethany Schimonsky are contributors of the new work for all branches of the company. 8 p.m. Ends tonight. Byham Theater, 101 6th St., Cultural District.

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Rick Handler

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