Jan. 17

Puttin’ on the Fritz

by: COURTESY OF JEN AND CHRIS CREED - Anna Fritz, of Portland Cello Project, plays at Secret Society Ballroom Jan. 17.Portland Cello Project’s Anna Fritz will release her solo album “The Gospel of Tree Bark,” at this show, which will also feature a set from Timmy Straw and a sing-a-long with The Saloon Ensemble. You can watch a video of the title track at, which shows her and two mysterious compatriots masked as woodland animals dancing in urban Portland and somewhere in the woods as well. It’s very Celtic Wiccan type stuff, and Fritz’s alto voice knows how to throw down a good meaty introspective lyric against a classical-meets-folk-ballad progression.

Anna Fritz, Timmy Straw, The Saloon Ensemble, 9 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 17, Secret Society Ballroom, 116 N.E. Russell St. $10. Info: 503-493-3600,

Jan. 18

A King’s court

Portland’s best jazz, blues, gospel, funk, soul and roots musicians will be turning out to perform for Martin Luther King’s birthday, in a benefit for the NAACP’s ACT-SO Youth Advancement Program. The program encourages academic and cultural achievement among African-American high school students. Performers include such Portland jazz and R&B artists Gordon Lee, Reggie Houston, Ural Thomas, Shirley Nanette, LaRhonda Steele, Lloyd Jones, Janice Scroggins and Carlton Jackson and Gary Harris, among others. Younger jazz/blues artists like Devin Phillips, Joe McMurrian and pianist Steve Kerin will also perform. And socially minded musicians such as Kory Quinn, Hunter Paye and hip hop artist Mic Crenshaw will appear. Playing washtub bass with the Tin-Pan Alley Cats will be Christopher Yarrow, whose father Peter Yarrow, sang “Blowin’ in the Wind” prior to King’s 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech.

NAACP benefit, 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18, Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 N.E. Alberta St. $20, $10 students, Oregon Trail Card holders; $50 VIP. Info: 503-19-6055,

Back alley bluegrass

Portland’s Back Alley String Band plays bluegrass chestnuts mixed with original songs and a few jazz standards. The group has been gigging for seven years, playing mostly on the west side of town, but is venturing across the river for this show, playing songs that should please fans of Del McCoury and Bill Monroe. The band features Michael Tevlin on guitar, Gareth Tabor on guitar and dobro, Rich Bayless on bass, Juliana Trivers on fiddle, Janet Tabor on mandolin and Jim Clark on banjo and ukulele.

Back Alley String Band, 9 p.m., Friday, Jan. 18, Mickey Finn’s, 4336 S.E. Woodstock Blvd. Free. Info: 503-788-1587.

Jan. 23

Another realm of hip entirely

Good heavens, is there anyone who defines hip indie hero better than Ken Stringfellow? The cat is: a founding member of power popsters The Posies (say that three times fast); played with Big Star for about seven years (until Alex Chilton died); also played with R.E.M. for a decade; AND Ringo Starr covered “Golden Blunders,” the hit he co-wrote with fellow Posie Jon Auer. Stringfellow is promoting his fourth solo album “Danzig in the Moonlight,” the title track of which features his thoughtful lyrics and penchant for complex chord changes, which nonetheless flow in an almost classical way.

Ken Stringfellow, 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 23, Music Millennium, 3158 E. Burnside St. Free. All ages. Info: 503-231-8943,

Ken Stringfellow, The Maldives, 9 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 23, Mississippi Studios, 3939 N. Mississippi Ave. $13 in advance, $15 at the door. Info: 503-288-3895,

‘Round town

One of the Northwest’s finest harmonica players and a pillar of the local blues scene, Bill Rhoades and his band The Party Kings will be rockin’ the stage at 9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18, in Duff’s Garage, 1635 S.E. Seventh Ave. $8. Info: 503-234-2337,

After more than a dozen years, San Francisco’s Balkan Romani band Brass Menazeri is splitting up. You can catch them one more time with Opa Groupa at 9 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24, in the Secret Society Ballroom, 116 N.E. Russell St. $10. All ages. Info: 503-493-3600,

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