Born amid the post-punk scene in Vancouver, B.C. some 30 years back, 54-40 is a Canadian institution. The group, like so many of its Canadian brethren, has never been as major a concern outside of its homeland. But in Buffalo, 54-40 gigs are relished, the band's blend of singer-songwriter craftsmanship and fiery alt-rock abandon having endeared itself to Western New York audiences for several decades now.

Why do some bands age with grace and dignity while others simply become old and ridiculous? Surely, it comes down to integrity, commitment, belief, talent and the ability of the musicians involved to continuously challenge both themselves and their audience without ever going so far as to alienate that audience. A delicate balance indeed, but one that 54-40 has been able to strike unfailingly.

54-40 returns for a free gig starting at 6 tonight as part of the Labatt Canal Concert Series at the Ulrich City Center in Lockport. Joining the band will be Hollerado, the Jeremy Hoyle Band, Bearhunter and Country Punk Extravaganza.


Braun's busy lineup

The arrival of a new concert venue speaks to the health of a music scene, so I'm glad to see that Braun's Bar and Grill in Akron is stocking the roster for its newly opened Braun's Concert Cove (11891 Main St.). The venue favors country and classic rock, and is also booking homegrown talent on a consistent basis. I haven't made it out there yet but plan to in the coming months.

This weekend, you can catch a country double bill featuring Lee Brice and guest Maggie Rose, at 7 tonight, and former Babys/Bad English frontman and solo artist John Waite -- with guests Fran Cosmo (Orion the Hunter/Boston) and Ezra & the Storm -- at 7 p.m. Saturday. Upcoming shows at Braun's include the "official Brad Paisley after-party" with Love & Theft on Aug. 11, and Cinderella on Aug. 19.


The Earle of Egge

You can trust Steve Earle when it comes to music. He'd never steer you wrong. And in Ana Egge, Earle has put his own faith in a clear winner.

Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter Egge has just released a new disc, "Bad Blood," and Earle's fingerprints are all over the thing. He produced the record, lending his trademark raggedly glorious audio imprint to Egge's folk-noir compositions, and he played and sang, too. But Egge owns "Bad Blood," make no mistake. Rolling Stone labeled the collection "folk-rock storytelling stained red and flush with madness tuneful noir in a long American tradition," and that's an awfully nice way of putting it.

Be your own judge when Egge performs at 6 p.m. Sunday in the Sportsmen's Tavern (326 Amherst St.). Admission is $5. Visit