music: coming to town 

Unfortunately, the record suffers from a lack of cohesion, and the songwriting falls short. While Shana has a strong and flexible voice, the vehicles for her voice — her songs — don't provide enough to make this a compelling or memorable record. On her softer moments, Morrison sounds similar to Natalie Merchant, but more often we hear a rocking, even strident, vocalist — akin to Alanis Morisette. In the past she's performed with her father's Rhythm and Soul Revue, so presumably she'll cover a few of Daddy's songs in addition to her own. More lately, Shana's slogged through the pubs and clubs circuit in California, so she should feel right at home at Alley Katz. The verdict: Go down and see her - you Van Morrison fans can't really pass up a chance to see his daughter, can you? — Andy Garrigue

Who: Dixie Power Trio

What: "The Virgil Sessions"

Where: May 16 at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens and May 17 at Poe's Pub

Why: Dixie Power's fifth CD showcases all the things that are right about this revved-up jazz and zydeco flavored band. Accordions pump with abandon. A sweet coronet mixes with street parade trombones and saxophones add counterpoint to frame languid guest vocals of Sapphire singer Gaye Adegbalola. A foundation-rattling tuba and rock-steady drums set the rhythmic bottom for a choral sing-along tribute to a real or imagined mechanic who once fixed the band's truck. The occasional electric guitar sneaks in for a jazzy solo. Richmond-based performer Page Wilson adds a fine guest vocal on "Maybe This Romance Must End," changing his style a tad to give the tune an authentic blues-jazz feel. The Dixie original "Tango For Jam-Jam" shifts rhythmic gears effortlessly while "East Coast Zydeco" hits a good dance groove for those of us who can't get to Southwest Louisiana when we would like. Never a stranger to a new musical idea or afraid to take a chance, this quartet disguised as a "trio" has been popular in Richmond for a few years and they return this week for two gigs to showcase songs from "Virgil." A great party band, Dixie Power music is always a wild ride, always a tasty fusion without a hint of confusion. — Ames Arnold

Who: The Moutin Reunion Band

What: "Power Tree"

Where: Bogart's Back Room, Sunday, May 19, 9:30 p.m.

Why: While brother acts are fairly common, from Oasis to the Marsalis clan, twins are still something of a rarity. Twins Francois (bass) and Louis Moutin (drums) are a rhythm section that presumably benefits from the preternatural intercommunication between the identical. After making something of a splash co-leading Moutin Quartet in Europe during the early '90s, Francois moved to New York.

The brothers regroup on "Power Tree," their first U.S. release, which is strikingly ambitious with only one familiar standard, "La Vie En Rose," — and even it is re-imagined. There are three songs by French singer Georges Brassens, and the rest are originals. The variety and the playing, especially the complex bass runs of Francois, are immediately appealing.

Their appearance at Bogart's is a rare chance for Richmond audiences to see international jazz artists in an intimate club environment. — Peter McElhinney


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