Sean Daly can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8467.
There's no doubt that Orlando Calling is a mondo musical extravaganza, what with the Killers, Kid Rock, Bob Seger and more rocking into town Nov. 12-13. And yet, that same weekend, Taylor Swift, the biggest act on the planet, and John Fogerty, headlining Ribfest, will play our shores. Martina McBride and Drake will also be here this month. So O-Town can feel all proud of itself for one lil' weekend, but rest assured, we're still the top pop draw in the Sunshine State. I-4 is for suckers! Herewith, our top November shows.
Martina McBride (Demens Landing, Saturday) Still not sure how Demens Landing will work as a concert venue, but that sure is a pretty part of downtown St. Pete. And although McBride's new album may be thin on hits, she remains a vital country artist in a market that loves to get its yeehaw on. There's a special vibe to this show — her appearance ultimately benefits the Mayor's Mentors & More scholarship program — so here's hoping it all works out. (stpete.org)
Chris Cornell (Tampa Theatre, Saturday) In a recent debate with Times movie guru Steve Persall about the best James Bond songs, I threw out a surprise: Chris Cornell's You Know My Name from 2006's Casino Royale, Daniel Craig's inaugural take on 007. Persall recoiled in horror, his fist clenched in fury, and yet I was steadfast: The Soundgarden belter's voice is not unlike the savvy Brit spy himself, capable of blunt force and cool panache. (tampatheatre.org)
Taylor Swift (St. Pete Times Forum, Nov. 12) The 21-year-old world-beater has been doing more and more cover songs in concert, most recently pedestrian stuff by Train, the Fray and OneRepublic. But one of these days Swift is going to discover the revenge-minded skills of Carly Simon and hoo boy, is that going to be a love affair. All destined for Swift's cover treatment: You're So Vain, Haven't Got Time for the Pain, Coming Around Again. (sptimesforum.com)
Shelby Lynne (Capitol Theatre, Nov. 17) The wild-child sister of Allison Moorer, and the 2001 Grammy winner for best new artist, alt-country singer Lynne could have been the next Taylor Swift. But let's just say her unruly blond hair wasn't exactly ready for a pop-princess tiara. Instead, Lynne felt more kinship with Dusty Springfield; her full-throated wail is tinged the color of the blues. She's an indie artist now, but if you want her best, try out the track Your Lies from 1999's I Am Shelby Lynne. (rutheckerdhall.com)
Drake (Last Damn Show 13, St. Pete Times Forum, Nov. 18) Toronto's Aubrey Drake Graham releases his sophomore album on Nov. 15, and there's a very good chance it will be the biggest-selling LP of 2011. His flow is slow and steady, a bit thick and nasally. And yet despite lacking the commercial polish of Jay-Z or Kanye West, his offbeat approach — and seduction of Rihanna and Nicki Minaj — has still proved wildly popular, not unlike his equally odd mentor, Lil Wayne. (sptimesforum.com).