Fionnuala Sherry stared at the rocky landscape outside a Danish recording studio last year, as Secret Garden polished up its sixth CD. As she listened to the 12 tracks on Earthsongs, the Irish-born violinist felt the "organic nature" of the duo's neoclassical roots. "There's something about me and that room that works," she says. "There are beautiful windows that overlook a panoramic view. You can't quite define it, but it works. I love it, and my violin loves it."
So do new-age music fans. Since becoming the first instrumentalists to win the Eurovision songwriting contest in 1995, Sherry and keyboardist Rolf Lovland have committed themselves to composing and recording inspirational anthems, like the Grammy-nominated "You Raise Me Up."
"With music like ours, it's not like [American Idol], where you have instant fame and you're catapulted into the public arena and off you go, and maybe you last a year or two," says Sherry. "It's important for us that we make music we love and that will hang around for some time." Secret Garden performs at 8 p.m. Friday at the Ohio Theatre, 1519 Euclid Avenue. Tickets are $40, available by calling 216-241-6000. -- Cris Glaser
Thank God She's a Country Girl
Tift Merritt expands her sound on a new CD.
Tift Merritt's second album, the masterful Tambourine, was nominated for a Best Country Album Grammy this year, which is ironic: Although Merritt has been a staple of North Carolina's alt-country scene for years, the disc is a big departure from the rustic strum of her 2002 debut, Bramble Rose. Her voice still retains hints of the grit-etched grandeur of Lucinda Williams and Emmylou Harris, but Tambourine dips into blues, rock and roll, gospel, and the sultry Memphis soul of the Stax and Hi eras. The Grammy nomination means Merritt's playing bigger venues on her new tour, but she still brings an intimacy to her sets (which includes a balanced mixture of tracks from both of her albums). Merritt ended up losing the Grammy to her longtime idol Loretta Lynn, but for fans of true, tasteful roots music, Tift Merritt has already won. She's at House of Blues (308 Euclid Avenue) at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Tickets are $15, available by calling 216-241-5555. -- Jason Heller
Bring in Da Dancer
Savion Glover steps into the Palace.
After the late legendary tapper Gregory Hines coined the word Improvography, Savion Glover couldn't be talked out of naming his new show in memory of his longtime mentor. The 31-year-old choreographer of Bring in Da Noise, Bring in Da Funk also added singing to his résumé, in homage to another teacher: Sammy Davis Jr. Touring since late 2003, the dreadlocked Glover has been scatting the opening number, "The Way You Look Tonight." Then he unleashes a 45-minute workout of sweat-drenched soft-shoe. After intermission, Glover shares the stage with his dance troupe, Chapter IV. Show time is at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Palace Theatre, 1519 Euclid Avenue. Tickets are $19.50 to $37.50; call 216-241-6000. -- Cris Glaser
Bad News Browne
Sylvia Browne predicts that the West Coast will sink into the Pacific Ocean in 2026, everyone will live in domed cities by 2055, and the end of the world will be in 2100. The Montel Williams Show fortune-teller offers more prophecies on her 13-city Secrets & Mysteries Tour (with fellow psychic John Holland), which comes to the Wolstein Center at Cleveland State University (2000 Prospect Avenue) at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Tickets are $35 to $75; call 800-654-5126. -- Cris Glaser