A young band with an old soul, the Americans are four friends born and bred under the Southern California sun and rooted in the white T-shirts and pomade-styled hair of classic Americana folk music. The band’s latest release, Home Recordings, captures the rambling essence of old-fashioned rock-and-roll. Familiar with the touring life in their four years together, the Americans appear in the North Bay twice this week, first sharing the stage with brother-sister songwriting duo Mandolin Orange at a free show March 26 at Sweetwater Music Hall (19 Corte Madera Ave., Mill Valley; 8pm; 415.388.3850), then on their own on March 28 at Bergamot Alley (328-A Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg; 10pm; $12, 707.433.8720).
Emancipator Ensemble is the definition of chill, downtempo, relaxabeat, headbobble, groovetaste, and other, as-of-yet nonexistent genres. They could be the backing band for Sting's more recent efforts—if they were a less interesting, that is. Live drums, violin, guitars and prerecorded sounds generated via laptop make up the sonic swell, and, in some concerts, visual projections gives another dimension to the experience. The Portland-based group performs with Slow Magic and Nym Sunday, March 30 at Hopmonk. 230 Petaluma Ave., Sebastopol. $30. 707.829.7300.
One of the most prolific jazz pianists working today, Alfredo Rodríguez eats, sleeps and breathes Cuba, his homeland and the inspiration for his improvisational, celebratory compositions. Born in Havana, where he received a formal music education, Rodriguez knew from an early age that he was meant to play piano, though he is proficient in all kinds of percussion instruments as well. Introduced to jazz as a teenager, Rodriguez moved to rock and roll, Latin dance and Afro-Cuban music, melding his influences into a new and exciting exploration of sound. Alfredo Rodríguez brings his creative artistry March 28 to Napa Valley’s Lincoln Theater, 100 California Drive, Yountville. 7pm. $20. 707.226.8742.
Ina Garten, better known as the Barefoot Contessa, has authored several cookbooks and, since 2002, has been one of the Food Network’s most popular TV personalities. She focuses on homemade recipes but gives viewers the option of using ingredients purchased from a store, if they must. Some of the lesser known (read: completely fake) allowances she’ll permit include substitutions for ingredients in wine-braised short ribs (“If you don’t have 15-year-old Cabernet Franc made with grapes from your own vineyard, store-bought is fine”), mac and cheese (“If you don’t have a certified organic cow to milk for fresh cheese curds, store-bought is fine”) and lavender sugar cookies (“If you don’t have fresh lavender picked by monks in your serenity garden, store-bought is fine”). Garten appears in conversation April 2 at the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts, 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa. 8pm. $45—$65. 707.546.3600.
Amber Snider is a songwriter who knows the importance of music in our everyday life. With no formal training, but with a musically gifted family surrounding her, Snider began her career in family bands before venturing out as a solo artist and fronting her own act, the Amber Snider Trio. Now, teaming up with Silo’s, she headlines a night of women who rock, for the purpose of giving others the chance at a musical education. Benefiting VH1’s Save the Music Foundation, dedicated to developing sustainable music programs in schools, Snider is joined by the Deborah Cooks Trio, Katie Knipp and Kristen Van Dyke for Chickapalooza. This rock ’n’ roll party kicks off Saturday, March 22, at Silo’s, 530 Main St., Napa. 7pm. $20—$25. 707.251.5833.
Already displaying his own one-man art exhibition, “Beyond Geometry,” at the Art by the Bay Weekend Gallery, artist and writer John Langdon appears for a presentation of art and haiku. The multifaceted talent of Langdon expresses a poignant vision within an abstract geometrical form; his work is here with the poetic talent of Rebecca Foust, whose words have appeared in a wide array of literary journals. “A Time of Poetry, Art and Stories” takes place on Sunday, March 23, at Art by the Bay Weekend Gallery, 18856 Hwy. 1, Marshall. 3pm. Free. 415.663.1006.
They may no longer be Dire, but the Straits are back, performing hits like “Walk of Life” and “Money for Nothing,” led by Dire Straits members Alan Clark and Chris White. After the idea came to Clark to revamp the act, he and White handpicked their favorite musicians to join them at what was originally going to be a one-off performance at London’s Royal Albert Hall two years ago. The performance was so well received that the newly formed incarnation kept at it, and now the Straits make their way to the North Bay on Sunday, March 23, at Sweetwater Music Hall, 19 Corte Madera Ave., Mill Valley. 8pm. $50—$55. 415.388.3850.
In the age of digital, there is something so fundamentally cool about being able to hold an art print in hand, crafted in paint and paper, etched or layered or stenciled. This week, Sonoma State University and the Southern Graphics Council together collect a huge array of works by printmakers from up and down the West Coast, representing a wide range of styles and techniques. Highlights of the exhibit include the contrasting contemporary woodcutting of Seattle’s Chris Papa, the wooly blanket art of L.A. artist Chris Johanson and the fine prints of Santa Rosa artist and teacher Kevin Fletcher. “West Coast Ink: Printmaking from San Diego to Seattle” opens with a reception on Thursday, March 13, at the Sonoma State University Art Gallery. 1801 E. Cotati Ave., Rohnert Park. 4pm. 707.664.2295.
Since being taught to tap at age 14, master tap dancer Savion Glover has made it his life’s work. Forming the HooFeRzCLuB (TLHS) dance ensemble in his hometown of Newark, N.J., Glover is most known as the Tony Award—winning choreographer of the 1996 Broadway hit Bring in ’da Noise, Bring in ’da Funk. Equal parts virtuoso and innovator, Glover brings his latest production, STePz, to the North Bay. Combing the best of traditional dance and Glover’s own young and funk styling, and backed by a versatile ensemble, this exuberant dance celebration happens Friday, March 14, at the Marin Center’s Veterans Memorial Auditorium. 10 Avenues of the Flags, San Rafael. 8pm. $20—$45. 415.499.6800.
There’s no topic that humorist and author Dave Barry won’t take on, no matter how little he knows about it. The Pulitzer Prize—winning writer of a nationally syndicated column that ran for 22 years tackles everyday subjects like travel and money in humorous, insightful ways. Barry’s latest book, You Can Date Boys When You’re Forty, includes stories of parenthood and family in a fast-paced modern world. Looking back on chaperoning a Justin Bieber concert and bat mitzvahs alike, Barry offers up his signature witticism twice on March 14, first at noon at Book Passage as part of the store’s Literary Luncheon series (51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera; $55 with lunch and book; 415.927.0960), then at an evening appearance at the Mystic Theatre (23 Petaluma Blvd N., Petaluma; $15—$35; 707.765.2121) at 8pm.