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Check It Out

Check It Out!: September 12, 2013

Various Artists —

Sweet Relief III:

Pennies From Heaven (Vanguard)

Twenty years ago, the first Sweet Relief benefit album was released as a means of helping singer-songwriter Victoria Williams pay escalating bills relating to her treatment for multiple sclerosis. Not only did it spawn a sequel for the late Vic Chesnutt (Sweet Relief II: Gravity of the Situation), but the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund, which maintains a fund for musicians in financial need and oftentimes requiring medical care. Given that most artists can’t afford health insurance, it’s a very real problem in the music world. This current installment was spearheaded by Sheldon Gomberg, owner of L.A.’s Carriage House Studios and a Sweet Relief beneficiary himself. Using a backup band featuring members of Elvis Costello’s Attractions (Pete Thomas)and Imposters (Davey Faragher), the assorted artists here picked songs based around a loose theme related to help or need.

While a number of contributors chose to dip into the Great American Songbook (Ron Sexsmith “Pennies from Heaven,” Sam Phillips “Hey Big Spender”) others went down the classic rock path. Among the most effective covers are Quebecois Genevieve Toupin’s reading of fellow Canadian Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold,” Tina Schlieske (of Tina and the B-Sides Fame) gritty take on “With a Little Help from My Friends” and Ben Harper’s soulful “Crazy Love.” Fittingly enough, Williams chimes in with a wistful walk through the Sam Cooke classic “Change is Gonna Come.”

September 14


Queen Extravaganza @ NYCB Theatre @ Westbury, 960 Brush Hollow Rd., 9 p.m.

$52. 877-598-8497

 To paraphrase Beatlemania, this isn’t Queen but an incredible simulation. Maybe that’s a stretch given the fact that while frontman Marc Martel sounds like the

late Freddie Mercury, he looks nothing like him. Produced by Queen founding members Brian May and Roger Taylor, this is their group’s official tribute band. Working along with longtime Queen keyboardist Spike Edney as global music director, the duo pulled together a sextet that winds up performing 20 classics songs including “Killer Queen,” “Under Pressure,” “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “A Kind of Magic.”

September 15

Billy Crystal @ Book Revue,

313 New York Ave. 7 p.m. Free.


Even though he’s called California home since 1976, Billy Crystal is a Long Island native who’s been popping up fairly regularly with his last appearance donating a $1 million check to a Hurricane Sandy relief fund for his Long Beach hometown. His latest appearance in Huntington finds him flogging his memoir, Still Foolin’ ‘Em. In it, he not only jokes about getting old but shares a number of anecdotes that include his briefly playing for his beloved New York Yankees, numerous times hosting the Academy Awards and growing up on the Island.

Important note: All books signed at Book Revue events must be purchased at Book Revue. If you purchased the book prior to the event please save your receipt. If you purchased the book from somewhere else, you can still get it signed, Book Revue just asks that you make a purchase in the store of equal or greater value to that book.

September 15

Dix Hills

Lady Sings The Blues: A Tribute To Billie Holiday

@ Dix Hills Performing Arts Center, 305 North Service Rd. 2 p.m. $20.


Former fashion design major and Five Towns grad Tierney Ryan will be doing her homage to Lady Day by way of a set that features a number of gems from the late jazz great’s canon including “Fine and Mellow,” “Willow Weep for Me” and “Lady Sings the Blues.”

September 17, 18 & 20


Pixies @ Bowery Ballroom, 6 Delancey St., 9 p.m. $45. 866-858-0008

Ever since the Pixies reconvened in 2004, fans too young to see them the first time ‘round got to cross the band off their wish list, with the excitement over this long-awaited reunion being further stoked by whether or not this influential quartet would record any new material (so far it’s only been the ’04 iTunes single “Bam Thwok” and a Warren Zevon cover for a tribute album.) So while the band teased that the alt-rock icons might address this dearth of new songs by heading into the studio, apparently it wasn’t wishful thinking as the Pixies just released EP1. It did come at the expense of Kim Deal, who left the band and was subsequently replaced by Kim Shattuck of The Muffs. With Reignwolf. (Also appearing on September 19 @ the Music Hall of Williamsburg, 66 N. Sixth St. Williamsburg 212-486-5400

September 18


Robbie Fulks @ Mercury Lounge, 217 E. Houston St. 6:30 p.m. $18.50.


If ever there was an artist with an ax to grind with Music Row, it’s insurgent country gadfly Robbie Fulks, who went so far as to write a song called “F*** Nashville.” Over the span of seven studio albums, the Pennsylvania native has hardly been shy about his traditionalist roots, dishing out lyrics both hilarious and biting, oftentimes framed in the kind of hard twang that evokes the influence of Bakersfield and the rowdiest of Texas honky-tonks. On his new album Gone Away Backward, he tapped indie rock production guru Steve Albini to oversee this stripped-down collection of forlorn acoustic ballads that hearken back to 1920s-era old timey music with a 21st-century bent. With the Stephen Clair Trio.