Grammy winner has strings to her bow; ALAN NICHOL brings you the latest news from the roots music scene.
THE end of British Summer Time last weekend certainly has not deterred the flow of American acts to the UK, and to this region specifically, in the coming days.
What a broad range of styles, too, with live music fans once again spoilt for choice.
Saturday brings multi-talented Sara Watkins - one-third of the huge-selling, Grammy-winning bluegrass outfit, Nickel Creek - to Sage Gateshead's Hall 2 in support of her new album, Young In All The Wrong Ways (Nonesuch Records).
The ultra-busy Californian singer/songwriter and fiddler (she plays guitar and ukulele as well), has embarked on a whole range of projects outside of her Nickel Creek activities.
She has toured widely with Sarah Jarosz (in the same venue two weeks from now) and Aoife O'Donovan in trio format and undertook another extensive bout of touring with Patty Griffin and Anais Mitchell (the latter is also on Tyneside in a couple of weeks time).
In addition, Watkins was part of the allstar band, The Scrolls, has been a member of the Transatlantic Sessions tour and was also a guest of the Decemberists on their 2011 tour.
Watkins' current all-originals album, her third solo outing, even made the top 20 of the Billboard Top Rock chart - how's that for crossover appeal! It is a layered, personal record which showcases her fastmaturing songwriting skills in addition to her undoubted instrumental/vocal ability.
Also on Saturday, a short distance away, up at Caedmon Hall (above Gateshead Central library in Prince Consort Road), there is a bird of a quite different feather.
Undiluted Texas country in the authentic shape of Dale Watson & the Lonestars - vocals/electric guitar/pedal steel/bass/ drums - will transform the wood-panelled auditorium into a honky-tonk roadhouse for the night, that's a certainty.
Watson, born in Alabama but brought up in Texas, has travelled widely, living in California (he was in the house band at the famed Palomino Club in North Hollywood), Maryland, Nashville and then Austin.
He has been a regular at the Grand Ole Opry and has been recording, while still at school, since his early teens. All told, he has around 30 albums to his name on a variety of labels and remains a fiercely independent purveyor of "real country" or "Ameripolitan" as he is wont to call it.
On Sunday night, the south side of the Tyne has another attractive show when Lake Street Drive are the guests at Sage Gateshead's Hall 2. The Boston, Massachusetts quartet are a boundary-crossing band who dip into country-rock, soul, folk and jazz in their musical explorations.
They released their latest album, Side Pony (Nonesuch Records), earlier this year, their fifth studio release since their formation some 12 years ago. Next Thursday night, the Surf Cafe in Tynemouth has a pretty stunning night in store when it hosts a show featuring two world-class guitarists - Frank Vignola and his ever-ready sideman, Vinny Raniolo - plus the fast-emerging local finger-style/ slide guitarist, Tom Fletcher, who opens the show. Vignola has a genuinely top-class pedigree, having recorded with Tommy Emmanuel, Martin Taylor, Bucky Pizzarelli and renowned mandolinist, David Grisman.
Vignola has played with artists from jazz icon Lionel Hampton, the pop of Madonna, Ringo Starr and Donald Fagen and his virtuosity makes him a favourite of the great Les Paul.
The O2 in Newcastle has a visit from reggae stalwarts, The Wailers, on Wednesday night. Following the success of their huge sell-out UK tour last year, the band return to mark their highly celebrated and anticipated Legend tour.
Formed in 1969 together with Bob Marley, The Wailers have sold in excess of 250 million albums worldwide and average some 200 shows per year.
Still anchored by original bassist, Aston "Family Man" Barrett, the touring band members can vary, but the recent line-up has included Aston Barrett Jr (drums), Josh Barrett (cousin) on guitar/vocals and Shema McGregor who is daughter of the original I Three singer, Judy Mowatt.
Two more US singers play a show in the Live Theatre's Studio this Friday. Sweetvoiced Erin Rae from Tennessee (and her trio the Meanwhiles), who is making her UK debut, showcases her new album, Soon Enough, after some glowing reviews.
Also on the bill is Tom Blackwell who also has his record, Tyrone The Gun, to promote and the praise of BBC's Bob Harris to help it on its way.
Singer Erin Rae
Multi-talented Sara Watkins
Country music performer Dale Watson