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Tony & Gary Williamson

Mandolinist Tony Williamson has become one of the most regular attractions at famed luthier Randy Wood’s 100-seat concert hall adjacent to his instrument factory and repair shop. Their friendship goes back decades, and it’s no wonder they get along: Randy makes some of the finest mandolins in the world, and Tony plays some of the finest mandolin music you’ll find anywhere on the globe (he recently oversaw the stupendous Mandolin Madness event at the 2005 Savannah Music Festival).

When Tony’s not doing straight bluegrass shows, he’s guesting with symphonies on classical pieces, or blurring the lines between pop, jazz and blues with a variety of noted collaborators such as David Grisman and guitarist Tony Rice.

For this show, he’ll be joined by his brother Gary, who recorded and toured with him for years. He’s an excellent guitarist in his own right, as well as a subtle, down-home comic in the tradition of many great bluegrass funnymen before him.

Tickets for this family-oriented (no smoking, no alcohol) show are only $15 plus tax, and can be charged in advance. That’s highly recommended as this will likely sell out. Call 748-1930 for more info. Sat., 8 pm, Randy Wood’s Concert Hall (Bloomingdale) - ALL AGES.

The Frank Vignola Sextet

This phenomenal fusion group is known for a challenging – and at times hypnotic – blend of gypsy swing, island grooves, the “high lonesome sound” of American acoustic roots music, and driving, soulful Latin rhythms straight from the golden ages of such pioneering rock groups as Santana and War.

Their setlist is just as eclectic, and allows these masterful musicians to show off both their diverse taste and their considerable chops. They tear through inspired and inventive arrangements of everything from Hoagy Carmichael and Cole Porter standards to works by Mozart and The Doobie Brothers.

The group honed its sound over a weekly Sunday night engagement at New York City’s Sweet Rhythm nightclub (a buzzworthy booking that wound up earning them a loyal legion of fans in that notoriously fickle town.

The Frank & Joe Show (as it’s now called) features Ken Smith on rhythm guitar, Gary Mazzaroppi on bass, and Chuck Ferruggia and Rich Zukor on exotic percussion. It’s centered around the interplay between guitarist Vignola and percussionist Joe Ascione – both former child prodigies on their respective instruments. Vignola was crowned Grand National Banjo Champion of his native Canada by age 13, and has since gone on to record and play with everyone from Les Paul to Mark O’Connor. Similarly, Ascione has toured the world and appeared on over 60 albums, including two of his own, one of which was a tribute to the late, great trap drummer Buddy Rich (for whom Ascione actually roadied as a teen).

The two have played together regularly since 1989, and it shows. They are known for having an almost telepathic sense of each other’s music intuition. This tour finds them playing everywhere from this small and cozy nightclub (in Savannah’s posh new luxury hotel) to the Elkhart, Indiana Jazz Festival and the Red Rocks Roots Festival with Alison Krause.

Their latest album was produced by the jazz recording legend Joel Dorn, who - over the past few decades – has helmed far too many benchmark albums by the likes of Bette Midler, Leon Redbone and Yusef Lateef to easily count.

Once more, with this no-cover performance by one of New York’s hottest ensembles, The Mansion is defining itself as one of the premiere venues for top-shelf, adult-oriented live music in town. Thurs., 8 pm, The Mansion on Forsyth Park.


Ryan Montbleau

It’s only been about 9 months since this young singer/songwriter sold out Boston’s 600-seat Paradise Rock Club, and reportedly left 200 people stranded outside waiting for tickets.

No word on whether this was a fluke or not, but either way, the 27-year-old guitarist is definitely on a roll. A self-acknowledged late bloomer to the world of live performance, he got his start belting out cover tunes at a TGI Friday’s, but now fronts a 6-piece band featuring a keyboard player (clavinet, Fender Rhodes), a tenor saxman who doubles on bass clarinet and percussion, and a violist.

Gaining respect from fellow players for his dexterity and inventive fingerpicking style which owes a lot to both the mesmerizing counterpoint of Leo Kottke and the seductively percussive slap-and-tickle of Ani DiFranco, he’s also struck a chord with average listeners with his expressive, bedroom vocal approach that’s constantly likened to middle-period Stevie Wonder and late-’70s Paul Simon (just ponder that for a minute...).

Whether it’s the subtle gospel influence, the subdued funk influence in his phrasing which avoids most of the usual honky clichés, or the easy-to-imagine future as the logical extension of John Mayer’s fanbase – Montbleau has it all, in spades. Wed., JJ Cagney’s.