Thursday, Feb. 14 — Still no plans for the weekend? City Pulse has tracked down some innovative singer-songwriters hitting area venues this week. If none of these float your boat, check out the newest edition of Turn It Down — a survey of Lansing’s musical landscape — in this week’s issue of City Pulse.
Susan Werner at Ten Pound Fiddle
Hailed as an innovator of modern songwriting by the Boston Herald, Chicago Tribune and the New Yorker, Susan Werner continues her cross-country spring tour in East Lansing on Friday at the Ten Pound Fiddle. Werner has been lauded for her wittiness and literary songwriting style, as well as good fun and occasional raunchiness. Her newest album, “Kicking the Beehive,” is an effort in Chicago blues and southern jazz recorded in Nashville. The album returns to more than just Werner’s musical roots.
For inspiration, Werner took a pilgrimage from Memphis to New Orleans along the Mississippi River, leaving behind her computer in favor of a pen and paper, seeing and hearing the origins of the blues and having adventures along the way. The result is a sincere and heartfelt collection that has impressed critics and garnered attention nationwide.
Friday, Feb. 15 @ Unitarian Universalist Church, 855 Grove St., East Lansing. All ages, $15 Public, $12 Fiddle Members, $5 students, 8 p.m.
Benjamin Francis Leftwich at Mac’s Bar
U.K.-born musician Benjamin Francis Leftwich stops in Lansing Sunday with his own brand of acoustic indie-pop. Leftwich has called both Australia and the U.K. home, and he’s spent time recording in France. He first fronted an indie pop group, The Nicoles, before starting a solo career in his early twenties.
Leftwich has claimed Elliott Smith and Bruce Springsteen as inspiration, though listeners will find more in common with Iron & Wine and Mumford and Sons, or even the melancholy mood of The Fray. To date, Leftwich has one LP, “Last Smoke Before the Snowstorm,” and a handful of EPs, including 2012’s “In the Open.” A special addition of “Last Smoke Before the Snowstorm” is now available as part of Leftwich’s North American tour. Opening the Mac’s show is Dave Samano and Liz McDaniel.
Sunday, Feb. 17 @ Mac’s Bar, 2700 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing. All ages, $8 advance, $10 doors, 7 p.m.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo at The Wharton Center
Formed in 1960 in the South African city of Durban by young farmer Joseph Shabalaba, Ladysmith Black Mambazo has spent over fifty years spreading rich musical tradition as well as near-perfect musicianship.
The signature style of the long-running group originates from a form of music called isicathamiya (is-cot-a-ME-Ya), created by black South African mine workers. The famous a cappella group has received critical acclaim since its first Grammy win in 1988, and has recorded dozens of studio albums, most recently its live album, “Singing for Peace Around the World.”
They have also recorded with hugely successful names such as Paul Simon, Dolly Parton, Josh Groban and Melissa Ethridge. Their name is also on blockbuster film soundtracks, including “The Lion King,” “Coming to America,” “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen,” and “Invictus.”
Wednesday, Feb. 20 @ Wharton Center, 320 Wharton Center, East Lansing. All Ages, $28-$41, 7:30 p.m.