Sug Daniels tribute to Jill Scott, Amanda Shires’ new music and Lucy Dacus sings Cher

1. Sug Daniels, Living the Golden Life: A Tribute to Jill Scott. This project by Delaware-born, Philadelphia-based songwriter Sug Daniels earned her a spot as one of 46 grant winners in the Black Music City initiative that’s a collaboration between WXPN-FM (88.5), WRTI-FM (90.1), and REC Philly .

Daniels, who also fronts the band Hoochi Coochi, recorded her own version of “Golden,” a celebration of life and love from Philly singer-poet-actress Scott’s 2004 album Beautifully Human: Words and Sounds Vol. 2.

But in addition to the joyous new recording, Daniels has also released a 14-minute short film shot by Paige Walter featuring musical collaborator Sam Nobles that follows her throughout a creative day-in-her-life.

“I remember hearing Jill Scott’s “Golden” when I was a kid,” Daniels says in the video. “I was maybe too young to understand the power of her lyrics, but I heard the power of her voice clear as day. Growing into an adult I realized she … was speaking her freedom into existence. As a Black woman it was paramount for me to witness this … Thanks, Jilly.”

Daniels is busy. She plays the Homey Awards at the Queen in Wilmington on Aug. 7 and the Philadelphia Folk Festival on Aug. 19. She teams with Lauren Kuhne in her Brown Sug Blonde Roast project at Attic Brewing in Germantown Aug. 24 and is with the Black Opry Revue at Wiggins Park as part of the Xponential Music Festival on Sept. 17.

2. Amanda Shires, Take It Like a Man. Beyonce’s blockbuster album Renaissance may have gotten all the attention last Friday, but a bunch of other notable releases came out the same day, including new albums by Maggie Rodgers and King Princess, and this, the eighth and best album by Texan singer and fiddle player Amanda Shires.

Shires, who’s a co-founder of feminist country quartet The Highwomen as well as a member of husband Jason Isbell’s band, the 400 Unit, has written her most impressive set of original songs. Working with producer Lawrence Rothman, she’s singing with more full-throated self-confidence than ever on tracks that inch toward pop without leaving her country roots behind. “Fault Lines,” which examines fissures in her marriage (with Isbell on guitar) is a stunner, as is the soul ballad “Lonely at Night” and “Empty Cups,” a duet with Maren Morris. Shires plays World Cafe Live on Sept. 14.

3. The Avengers at Johnny Brenda’s. Among the not-as-famous-as-they-should-be heroes of the punk rock explosion of the 1970s are The Avengers, the San Francisco band fronted by pioneering woman in rock Penelope Houston. The band are credited by some with creating the first hard-core punk song in 1977′s “We Are The One.”

Houston often plays as a solo artist and she’s also the punk rock archivist at the San Francisco Public Library. She’s bringing the latest version of The Avengers, with original guitarist Greg Ingraham, to Fishtown on Tuesday. The Blessed Muthas and Lil Bambinos open. $17, 8 pm, 8/2, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., johnnybrendas.com.

4. Lucy Dacus, “Believe.” Since moving to Philadelphia from Richmond, Va., shortly before the pandemic, Lucy Dacus hasn’t had such good luck with hometown shows. First, her Free at Noon show at World Cafe Live in March was postponed due to COVID-19, (She made up the date in July.)

Then her date with Courtney Barnett at the Skyline Stage at the Mann Center last week was called off due to a storm. (A rescheduled date has yet to be announced.) “If somebody hexed me,” she tweeted the next morning, “it worked now take it back plz & ty I am tired.”

For solace, there’s this: a dreamy cover of “Believe,” the 1998 hit by Cher. Singing it, the indie songwriter said, “I did feel myself accidentally wanting to become Cher.”

“Believe” was a partial inspiration for “Partner in Crime,” a standout cut from Dacus’ excellent, diaristic 2021 release Home Video. Dacus has re-recorded that song — sans the Auto-Tune used on the original version — and released it in tandem with “Believe” as part of the Spotify Singles series.

5. Carsie Blanton at Concerts Under the Stars. With last year’s Love & RageCarsie Blanton moved between those two emotional states with ardor and anger on songs that were partly inspired by the days of protest in Philadelphia that followed the death of George Floyd in 2020.

Now the Philadelphia singer, influenced by John Prine and Nina Simone and who thinks of her trio as “a band of jazz players playing pop music,” has been recording stripped-down versions of songs from her back catalog. The first music released in the ongoing project Body of Work is the four-song EP Hot Night. She plays King of Prussia with Hezekiah Jones on Thursday. Free. $39 for VIPs. 7 pm, 8/4, Upper Merion Township Building Park, 175 W. Valley Forge Road, King of Prussia, concertsunderthestarskop.com.

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