Of all the rock stars who made their marks in the '70s, Rickie Lee Jones was one of the easiest to imagine someday settling down and shunning the public eye. Strutting more grit than glam, she swept the end of that decade with a string of Grammy nominations and edgy hits like "The Last Chance Texaco" and "Chuck E's in Love" -- not to mention a widely publicized romance with Tom Waits -- before disappearing into the hinterlands of cult acclaim.
The perpetual refrains of "Chuck E," which seemed to be on endless FM play for years, probably hastened her domestic flight.
But after a six-year hiatus spent tending gardens and raising her daughter, the rootsy singer-songwriter returned with 2003's celebrated The Evening of My Best Day. Both an extension of and a deviation from her jazz-oriented output of the '80s and '90s, the album was inspired by everyone from Curtis Mayfield to Woody Guthrie -- especially the protest spirit of songs like "Tell Somebody (Repeal the Patriot Act Now)." Eveningthrust Jones back onto center stage; tonight, she'll step into the spotlight at the Bluebird Theater and enchant the audience with her new songs even as she breathes her rich, raw voice into the old.
The Bluebird is at 3317 East Colfax Avenue; doors open at 7 p.m., and tickets are $37.50. Call 303-322-2308 or visit www.nipp.com for information. -- Jason Heller
Showtime The Pinnacle Theater flashes The Taffetas WED, 12/29
Littleton's Pinnacle Theater, formerly the Ascot Theater, has a tumultuous history. The Ascot closed its doors in 1993 as a result of financial distress. The venue was then used as everything from a hip-hop club to a church before landing last year in the hands of David Prichard, former owner of the Country Dinner Playhouse. The 31-year theater veteran bought the building for the sole purpose of remodeling it and returning it to its roots in dinner theater. Prichard has also tapped Theater on Broadway's Nicholas Sugar to direct The Taffetas, a musical featuring four singer sisters growing up in Indiana during the 1950s. The play includes such hits as "Puppy Love" and "Mr. Sandman." According to Sugar, it's "a very stylized show, with lots of clean, crisp movement and tight harmonies. To portray the '50s, it really has to be that way, plus there's lots and lots of taffeta." And no barnstormers.
The Taffetas starts tonight and runs through February 20 at the Pinnacle, 9136 West Bowles Avenue. For tickets, $20 to $43, or information, call 720-214-5630. -- Jerri Theil