Weekend Music Picks

Lucinda Black Bear

Here are musician Ken Beasley’s top music picks on the Lower East Side this weekend:

Sarah Jarosz

SARAH JAROSZ – Sat., 1/29 | 7PM at Rockwood Music Hall

Texas songwriter and Grammy nominee, Sarah Jarosz, has been amassing industry, peer, and audience recognition for several years now (she’s only 20) and she’s coming to New York to play a month long residency at the Rockwood. A deft multi-instrumentalist (mandolin, guitar, banjo), Jarosz also has a knack for taking the “stripped-down” approach of performance to its heart-wrenching brink, with darkly gorgeous songs and a beautiful crystalline voice.

The New York Times called her debut album Song Up In Her Head – “an un-retouched gem,” and now she is completing work on her follow-up, The New 45. Be sure to catch her while she’s in town. FREE // 196 Allen St.

LESLIE MENDELSON – Sat., 1/29 | 9PM at Rockwood Music Hall

Leslie Mendelson

Later, on the same night, Leslie Mendelson’s big, soulful voice will fill the Rockwood space. The singer/songwriter’s latest project, the infectious and inventive Melody Kills, has been building steam over the last half year, with a debut recording to be released any minute now. This solo show, however, is a chance for Mendelson to stretch out and connect with the audience one-on-one, something she does extrordinarily well. Leslie is quite comfortable handling all that stage by herself. With solid skills on piano and guitar, she has a tremendously charming presence, is a skilled improviser, and boasts a large container full of smart pop originals and crowd-pleasing covers. FREE // 196 Allen St.

LUCINDA BLACK BEAR – Sun., 1/30 | 7PM at Mercury Lounge

Lucinda Black Bear

There are a lot of really good indie-folk bands floating around out there, but few have the kind of depth of composition that New York City’s Lucinda Black Bear has. When listening to tracks from their latest recording, “Knives,” one gets the impression that every violin pluck, brushed high-hat and ever-so-slightly detuned guitar string has been placed with obsessive care and dedication, like a model train enthusiast with a magnifier and a tiny brush working to get the pin-striping on the miniature engineer’s overalls just right. The labor of love really pays off though, as Lucinda Black Bear’s train chugs down the track like a monster, with a whistle that can be heard down the block. $10 // 6 Delancey St.

Splitting his time between performing and producing, contributor Ken Beasley primarily plays with his own roots/rock band, Ken Beasley & Co., as well as the power punk outfit Missy Sport, while also curating the Underground at the Abrons music series on the Lower East Side.