Nov. 14 2012 12:00 AM

A survey of Lansing's musical landscape


Married folk duo at the Fiddle

Sparky and Rhonda Rucker perform across the country and around the world, singing songs and telling stories from the American folk tradition. Friday the married couple makes a stop at the Ten Pound Fiddle concert series. Over the past four decades, Sparky Rucker has become a recognized folklorist, historian and author. On stage he plays a fingerpicking style and bottleneck-blues guitar, banjo and spoons. Rhonda Rucker plays a blues-style harmonica, piano, old-time banjo, and bones. Their sets aim to take their audience on a journey with poignant stories of slavery and war to clever commentaries on current events. Their set list includes slave songs, Appalachian music, spirituals, ballads, work songs, Civil War music, cowboy music, railroad songs, and a few of their own original compositions. Since they began playing together, the duo has performed at the Kennedy Center and the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. They’ve also been featured on NPR´s “On Point” and “Prairie Home Companion.” Their recording, “Treasures & Tears,” was nominated for a W.C. Handy Award, and their music is included on the Grammy-nominated anthology “Singing Through the Hard Times.” True folk fans may not want to miss this gig, which coincides with the Alternative Holiday Gift Sale, produced by the Peace Education Center. The sale is prior to the concert.

Friday, Nov. 16 @ Ten Pound Fiddle – Unitarian Universalist Church, 855 Grove Street East Lansing, all ages. Box office at 7 p.m., doors 7:30 p.m., 8 p.m. show. Tickets are $15 public, $12 Fiddle members, $5 students.

Bobaflex at Uli´s

West Virginia-based alt-metal band Bobaflex has been dropping progressive hard-rock albums since the height of nu-metal back in 1998. Friday the band hits Uli’s Haus of Rock along with openers Nation of Wealth, Tension Head and As Empires Decay. Bobaflex is led by founding members Shaun McCoy (guitar, vocals) and Martin McCoy (guitar, vocals). While the band has been through many lineup changes, it continues to tour and record. The outfit’s latest album, “Hell in My Heart,” includes an amped-up, yet still melodic, cover of the Simon and Garfunkel classic “The Sound of Silence.” Tickets are available at Uli’s Haus of Rock or

Friday, Nov. 16 @ Uli’s Haus of Rock, 4519 South Martin Luther King, Lansing, $8 advance, $10 at door, 7 p.m.

East Lansing´s diverse (SCENE)

An assortment of indie and punk bands play an all-ages show Saturday at (SCENE) Metrospace. The diverse roster of bands includes four-piece Bay City ska-rock band The Distorted Waltz. Also taking the stage are local punks Little American Champ and East Lansing-based prog-rockers Fertile Brainsoil. (SCENE) Metrospace is East Lansing’s City-funded contemporary art gallery and performance space.

Saturday, Nov. 17 @ (SCENE) Metrospace, 110 Charles Street, East Lansing, all ages, $5, 8 p.m.

Locals go to war at Mac´s

The Lansing Community College American Marketing Association hosts its fifth annual Battle of the Bands competition this Saturday. Taking the stage to compete are four local acts: 16 the Icon, Dennis Quaid & the Fat Boys, Money Madness and Sense & Satire. The night also includes a special performance from Deuce Sett. Each band plays a 30-minute set. All proceeds from the event will go to benefit student scholarships. Discounted pre-sale tickets can be purchased for $5 at the Hole in the Hall store, located on the first floor of the Gannon Building on LCC’s main campus (room 133). The store is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday. For more information call 517-483-1357.

Saturday, Nov. 17 @ Mac’s Bar, 2700 E. Michigan Avenue, Lansing, 18 and over, $7, 10 p.m.

Flint-based country rocker at The Loft

Whitey Morgan & The 78s have warmed up the stage for the likes of Bob Seger, Hank Williams III, David Alan Coe and Leon Russell. On Nov. 21, the night before Thanksgiving (a.k.a., the busiest bar night of the year), Morgan brings his distinct brand of country-fried rock tunes to The Loft, along with openers Rust County Electric and Brodberg Band. Morgan, a Flint native, keeps busy: he averages 200 shows a year. Morgan is signed to the notable Bloodshot Records label, which is also home to Justin Townes Earle and Murder By Death. Fans of Waylon Jennings and Merle Haggard might dig Morgan’s raw, classic-country melodies

Wednesday, Nov. 21 @ The Loft, 414 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing, 18 and over, $10 advance, $12 door, doors 8 p.m.