Ray LaMontagne at Benedum; Hard Rock Hosts Joe Grushecky and The Houserockers (Wed., 9/13/23)

1) Singer-songwriter Ray LaMontagne has such a diverse and well-honed repertoire that you might think he came from a family of musicians or even a music school, but he’s got a gritty origin story. In the early 1990s he was a young man on the rural blue-collar track, working at a shoe factory in Maine. One morning his radio alarm lifted him out of slumber with a solo number by Stephen Stills, “Treetop Flyer.” Ray found himself spellbound. He called the moment his artistic awakening to a musical destiny. He immersed himself in listening to the modern American “classics,” from Dylan to Aretha Franklin. Then, while living in a cabin with no electricity, LaMontagne had to stop listening and start creating his own. Eventually he played local gigs … got discovered by higher-ups … and when his 2004 debut album Trouble earned combined major-label release in the U.S. and U.K., a new musical phenom emerged.  LaMontagne’s eighth and most recent studio album was 2020’s Monovision. For a sense of his stylistic range, compare “Broken Sky”—the A side on a recent 7-inch vinyl—with “Strong Enough” in the video up top. Ray LaMontagne and his trio now bring their Just Passing Through tour to Pittsburgh. 7:30 p.m. Benedum Center, 237 7th St., Cultural District. (M.V.) 

2) Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers are such a talented rock outfit that they could easily be one of our Spotlight Picks every month. Tonight they perform at Hard Rock Cafe. Grushecky has in the recent past reissued a 25th Anniversary edition reissue of Grushecky and The Houserockers’ classic, American Babylon, which was produced by Bruce Springsteen. 7:30 p.m. 230 W. Station Square Drive, Station Square. (R.H.)

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Rick Handler

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