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A Varied And Thrilling Music Scene

After the carols and Messiahs have faded, the ball has dropped, and the New Year’s revelers are recovering, Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Steve Earle will put in an appearance at Club Helsinki Hudson, NY. Earle’s music has been variously described as country, Texas country, rockabilly, rock, folk and blues. He is an acolyte of the late songwriter Townes Van Zandt, whom he honored with the album “Townes,” covering many of his teacher’s songs. Earle’s current style shares a certain hard-driving, rough-hewn style with the likes of T-Bone Burnett, who produced Earle’s latest, Grammy-nominated album, “I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive” (the title of Earle’s first novel, published earlier this year). Earle’s life story could be the stuff of a gritty HBO drama, and in fact he has also acted on the HBO series “The Wire” and “Treme.” His career was nearly derailed by a severe heroin addiction in the 1990s, but in 1996 he was nominated for a Grammy for his comeback album “Train a Comin.” Earle has been married no fewer than seven times and has been the subject of a documentary, “Just an American Boy.” Widely known for his political activism as well as his music, Earle has been a prominent and sometimes controversial figure in anti-war and environmental causes. His music has become more overtly political in recent years, but also moves more freely among diverse styles and genres. Steve Earle will be at Club Helsinki Hudson (405 Columbia St. in Hudson, NY) Jan. 8, at 8 p.m. For reservations in the restaurant or club call 518-828-4800. For information, go to www.helsinkihudson.com. In another vein, I had the pleasure of hearing Gounod’s “Faust” by the Met on the radio last Saturday. This is one of the most memorable operatic events of the season, with a trio of breathtaking singers in the lead roles: baritone René Papa as Mephistopheles; tenor Jonas Kaufmann, Faust; and soprano Marina Poplavskaya, Marguerite. On Dec 17, at 1 p.m., the Bardavon is airing an HD broadcast of “Faust” at the Ulster Performing Arts Center (UPAC) in Kingston, NY, and so is the Warner Theatre in Torrington. 2Tickets for the UPAC are $23, $12 for children. Call the Bardavon at 845-473-2072 or the UPAC at 845-339-6088. Tickets for the Warner are $20, $10 for children. Call 860-489-7180.

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