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December Nightlife Highlights 

click to enlarge Elizabeth Cook will play the Parting Glass on December 1.
  • Elizabeth Cook will play the Parting Glass on December 1.

December 1. She made her Grand Ole Opry debut in 2000, a remarkable feat for an indie country singer. Since then, she’s landed a major label deal with Warner Brothers Records, who released Hey, Y’all in 2002. Just as quickly, she lost her deal—no surprise, if you listen to her latest, outside-the-Nashville-box, Rodney Crowell-produced indie disc, Balls. The CD not only features the semi-title song “Sometimes It Takes Balls to Be a Woman,” but also includes a sparkling remake of the Velvet Underground’s “Sunday Morning.” Is it country music? Yeah, like it oughta be. 9pm. The Parting Glass, Saratoga Springs. $10. (518) 583-1916.

December 2. The former host of “Mostly Folk” on WRPI-FM, tireless social and political activist and long-reigning Queen of Capital Region Folk Music, Jackie Alper passed away in September. In her honor, Margie Rosenkranz and the folks at the Eighth Step have assembled a tribute concert featuring many of her closest musical friends and fans—Ronnie Gilbert, Bernice Johnson Reagan, Ruth “Ms. Music Mobile” Pelham, Jackie Washington Landron, the Landfill Mountain Boys, Scott Alarick, Annie & the Hedonists, and more. 7:30pm. The Eighth Step at Proctors, Schenectady. (518) 434-1703.

December 9. Helmed by trumpeter-vocalist John Brunious, this world-renowned band of veteran Crescent City jazz musicians steadfastly continue to keep traditional New Orleans jazz alive in the 21st century. It’s been an almost insurmountable battle since the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, but they’re still at it, and it’s a stone-cold guarantee you will leave this concert with a smile on your face. 7pm. The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, Massachusetts. $40, $35. (413) 528-0100.

December 14. Passionate, powerful, and simply radiant in concert or on CD, Rosanne
Raneri is the cream of the Capital Region singer-songwriter crop, and yet, she somehow manages to fly below the national radar. Give a listen to her latest CD, Shift, and you too will realize that she should be a big-time artist on a national tour that might make a hometown stop. Ah, but you—lucky you—can see her at Saratoga’s fabled and oh-so-intimate coffeehouse, which is the next best thing to your own living room. 8pm. Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs. (518) 583-0022.

December 15 and 16. Amid the shopping mall madness and all the other seemingly endless string of obligations, you can find a welcome respite and the true meaning of the holiday season by spending a few hours with Christopher Shaw, Bridget Ball and their friends at their annual holiday concert. If you haven’t sampled this grand holiday event, it’s about time that you made this cozy program of acoustic carols, stories, and merriment a part of your own holiday tradition. 8pm Saturday and 2pm Sunday. The Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy. $18. (518) 273-0038.

December 30. These Maryland-bred musical mavericks (or perhaps, more accurately, musical mutants) are billing this as their “Holiday Show,” although from a band that has an inclination to stitch together the sounds of Led Zeppelin, Frank Zappa, and Faith No More, your guess is as good as mine as to just what holiday Clutch might be celebrating. Is it Halloween again? Clutch is on the road in support of their latest CD, From Beale Street to Oblivion, and they’re bringing along Priestess and Puny Human. 8:30pm. Northern Lights, Clifton Park, New York. $25, $22. (518) 371-0012.

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