After a seven-year hiatus from touring, Birmingham, England reggae singer/toaster Pato Banton (born Patrick Murray) has returned to the live music scene. He performs a series of concerts at intimate venues along the East Coast this January, including a one-night stop in Tampa. Banton is probably best known for his 1995 reggaefied version of The Police's "Spirits in the Material World," a college radio hit, but he made his musical debut 12 years earlier on the English Beat's third album, Special Beat Service. Following a grueling international tour in support of 2000's Grammy-nominated Life Is A Miracle, Banton took an extended break and focused on his local community, starting a music program for underprivileged and at-risk youth. He's backed by California's Mystic Roots Band.
Pato Banton & the Mystic Roots Band w/Impulse, 8 p.m. Wed., Jan. 17 @ Skipper's Smokehouse, Tampa, $12/$15. —Leilani Polk
There's at least one thing you can count on early January: Florida tours from bands hot off Jam Cruise. Galactic has taken part in every cruise since the event's inception in '04, and like clockwork, the New Orleans funk fusers have stopped in town to stir things up each and every time. Longtime vocalist Theryl DeClouet left Galactic a few years ago, leaving plenty of room for funkadelic instrumental explorations mercifully free of his cloying soul croon. Joining Galactic, also from Jam Cruise, is San Francisco's Tea Leaf Green, a band of fresh-faced musicians who invoke the spirit of '70s-era Bob Dylan, The Faces and early Elton John to produce their simple, rollin' grooves. The band scored a "Song of the Year" Jammy award for a single from their first album, Taught to Be Proud, and in the few years they've been touring, Tea Leaf Green has managed to cultivate quite the fan base with their loose style and a singer/keyboardist who sounds like a young, more languid James Taylor.
Galactic w/Tea Leaf Green, 8 p.m. Thurs., Jan. 11 @ Jannus Landing, downtown St. Petersburg, $23. —LP
He was raised in rural Ontario and rode the rails as a teen, so it's no surprise that Fred Eaglesmith's music is tinted with plenty of wanderlust. His voice is weary and vulnerable, like a craggy version of Jeff Tweedy. You can hear plenty of Texas troubadour influence in his work — his latest album Milly's Café is peppered with Dobro and pedal steel — as well as vestiges of The Band. Eaglesmith has been lauded for his wit and storytelling prowess. One reviewer waxed, "It takes a jaded soul not to leave a Fred Eaglesmith show unaffected." This is yet another in a series of his shows for WMNF.
Fred Eaglesmith w/Sunny Sweeney, 8 p.m. Tues., Jan. 16 @ Skipper's Smokehouse, Tampa. $15, $18. —Eric Snider