Top 5 Alt-Country Shows

Grunge may be long gone, but alt country—the DIYgenre influenced by Bob Dylan and Gram Parsons, with adash of Patsy Cline—is flourishing. This week, asurprising number of acts park their vans up North.

Fresh from a U.K. tour with Ryan Adams, this scruffyNew Yorker comes home to show off his newAdams-produced album. Don’t expect the punked-upglam rock of his old band, DGeneration—Malin’s gone reflective androotsy. (Mercury Lounge, January 28.)

Judging from his album cover, Miller’s beingsold as a pretty face, à la Natalie Imbruglia.But his lyrical inspirations—Sylvia Plath,Kafka’s love letters, Don DeLillo—make itclear that this earnest crooner wants us to take histwangy rock (very) seriously. (Town Hall, January 29and 30.)

Will Oldham’s latest work as Bonnie“Prince” Billy is sparse and wintry,punctuated by thoughts of God and, of course, hisfamous quavering. He’ll bring his beard and hisbrother Ned to Irving Plaza this week; no word yet onhis Mariah Carey cover. (January 29.)

Their album Blue Earth got these wistfulrockers signed in 1991, and in 1995 they had a hitsingle called “Blue.” Now they’vegot a song in a Ralph Lauren Polo Blue colognecommercial, proving that sadness, in the music world,can pay. (Warsaw, January 30.)

When Jon Langford, front man for the British punk bandthe Mekons, could no longer stifle his inner cowboy,he formed the Waco Brothers, a spastic but likableblend of politics and honky-tonk. (Mercury Lounge,January 31.)

Top 5 Alt-Country Shows