6 p.m. Sunday, December 11, McGonigel's Mucky Duck, 2425 Norfolk, 713-528-5999 or www.mcgonigels.com
A veteran, constantly touring troubadour, Ellis Paul is one of the most respected artists in the folk genre. A man of many talents with 15 albums under his belt since he broke out of the Boston open-mike scene in 1993, Paul can come on like Woody Guthrie, full of Dust Bowl dryness and blue-collar wisdom, but he also can go to the edges of adult contemporary rock with anthems like "Annalee" and turn a brilliant phrase on tunes like "Jukebox on my Grave." It's Paul's literate streak that inspires television and film to frequently use his songs, but it's his Yankee dryness, directness and down-to-earth vibe that keep audiences straining for every nuance. Paul's most recent album, The Day After Everything Changed, has drawn rave reviews and proves again that Paul is one of maybe a dozen songwriters who can handle topical material without coming off as preachy or mawkish. Go early, Paul always sells out.