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Nightlife Highlights 

click to enlarge Tift Merritt plays the Towne Crier August 9.
  • Tift Merritt plays the Towne Crier August 9.

John Ludington
August 2. Songsmith Ludington, who describes his sound as “acoustic eclectic,” heads east from his Northern California home to the Hudson Valley of his youth, performing tonight at 60 Main with Seth Faergolzia of Dufus, Quitzow, and Setting Sun. Ludington’s second solo release, Some Glitter (2008, Independent), is a 10-track lo-fi album originally recorded in 1999 on a four-track analog recorder. The Some Glitter tour starts in Brooklyn, heads to Pennsylvania, and returns to California at summer’s end. Ludington’s voice has been compared to the likes of Greg Brown, Donovan, and Ben Harper; excellent company indeed. 9pm. Call for ticket prices. New Paltz. (845) 255-1901.

August 3. You could travel to Tennessee for Bonnaroo. But how about just to Sullivan County­—where it all began, in more ways than one? After you hit the Museum at Bethel Woods, take a trip down the hill into Yasgur’s field and rock out to Eric Burdon & The Animals, Jack Bruce of Cream, The Turtles featuring Flo & Eddie (c’mon, it’s Flo & Eddie!), Melanie, Badfinger, and Terry Sylvester of the Hollies. A full line of flower-power paraphernalia, including tie-dye T-shirts, stickers, and posters will be available. Wait, just added: Jonathan Edwards! 2:30pm. $23-$60. Bethel Woods. (888) 297-3031.

August 8. Club-hopping has other advantages besides free peanuts and chatty barkeeps. One night, while enjoying an early PBR at The Basement, the only other barfly and I struck up a conversation about music, and he turned out to be the harmonica player for hot new blues band Butter (named for legendary blues harpist Paul Butterfield). A quick click later on fave site and, lo and behold, there’s Butter, led by hardy drummer Tony Parker (of the famous drumming Parker brothers and the late and lamented funk unit Blue Food), sliding into New World Home Cooking. This five-piece blues/soul/R&B unit spreads it on thick, just the way we like it. 9pm. No cover. Saugerties. (845) 246-0900.

Tift Merritt
August 9. The lovely and soulful Merritt has long been bubbling under as the Next Big Thing, but this looks like her year (thanks in part to the patronage of Emmylou Harris, who praises Merritt as “like a diamond in a coal patch”). Her rock n’ roll, soul, and country songwriting voice is hard-earned: After dating alt-country bad boy Ryan Adams (who penned a tune about her) and getting out of a disappointing major-label contract, she’s back and independently fierce here at the Towne Crier in support of her highly-acclaimed new CD, Another Country (2008, Fantasy Records). Her 2004 album, Tambourine (Lost Highway), garnered Merritt a Grammy nomination and praise from Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, and NPR. And, she’s appeared on both Leno and Letterman! Not bad for a lil’ ol’ surfer girl from North Carolina. The alluring Jess Klein opens this highly recommended show. 9pm. $20, $25. Pawling. (845) 855-1300.

Jack DeJohnette/Pat Metheny/Larry Grenadier

August 28, 29. Jazz legends and Hudson Valley neighbors DeJohnette, Metheny, and Grenadier team up at the Bearsville Theater for a doubleheader of incredible music in a benefit for the Karma Triyana Dharmachakra Tibetan Buddhist Monastery and Family of Woodstock. Despite being long time collaborators (Grenadier has been performing and recording with Metheny for over a decade), this will be the first time the three have shared a stage. All proceeds from the shows will be donated to the two beneficiaries. “Good vibes” doesn’t even begin to describe this harmonic convergence. 7pm. $35-$65. Woodstock. (845) 679-4406.

Speaking of...

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