DJ Sun The Flat, November 12
For two decades now, DJ Sun has been a Houston turntable institution thanks to his his wide-ranging sets, which only start with jazz, hip-hop, R&B, soul, Latin, reggae, funk and electronica. They always come twice a week, on his KPFT-FM show Soular Grooves (9 p.m. Saturdays) and longstanding Monday-night residency at cozy Montrose lounge The Flat, and then at just about any other place with a sound system that will have him. He's got a crowded calendar, but these days Suriname-raised Sun is focusing on one day in particular: November 29, when he will he will unveil his latest disc, One Hundred, at Midtown bar Mongoose vs. Cobra.
Until then, he's been counting down by updating his Soular Grooves Web site daily with a dependably ecletic series of musings, from a multi-part series on "landmark albums" to thoughtful reflections on the word or going to a Dynamo game. The latest, posted Friday, is a brief video entitled "Hidden Treasure," wherein a few of Sun's friends wax rhapsodic about what makes Houston's underground scene so vibrant. If they're hanging out with him, they ought to know. CHRIS GRAY
The Wailers House of Blues, November 14
Of course you're probably going to hear all your Bob Marley favorites Wednesday night -- in fact, that's probably all you're going to hear -- but spare a moment give one love to the man now steering the ship, Bass Player magazine 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Aston "Family Man" Barrett. As a musician, producer and arranger, the 65-year-old Barrett has been widely credited as the one single man who has had more to do with making reggae sound the way it does, apart from Marley himself.
After playing in Lee "Scratch" Perry's band The Upsetters, Barrett and his late brother Carl first recorded with the Wailers in 1969, and joined up for good when Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer left a few years later. Barrett took over as bandleader upon Marley's 1981 death, and since then has had to put up with a mountain of grief to keep Marley's music in front of audiences, including losing a costly royalties lawsuit against Island Records and the Marley Family in 2006 and the confusing presence of a competing group of Wailers -- the Original Wailers, featuring Barrett's onetime bandmates Junior Mervin and Al Anderson, started in 2008. CHRIS GRAY
Jens Lekman Fitzgerald's, November 14
Swedish singer-songwriter Lekman makes all the cool kids swoon with his subdued Morrissey-gone-folk bedroom anthems. Lekman's work makes for a great Sunday-morning lounging soundtrack, or at least background music for a weekday chill-out/make-out session, whichever happens first. Check out his latest, September's I Know What Love Isn't, to see what we mean. CRAIG HLAVATY
Paul McCartney Minute Maid Park, November 14
Mr. McCartney, or Sir Paul, was one-half of the core songwriting arm of modestly influential British rock quartet the Beatles for a decade. That band released a gang of well-received albums and singles, and even some films, in the mid-to-late '60s before calling it quits in 1970. McCartney branched out as a solo artist and would make a splash on his own and with Wings, plus make a career-defining appearance on The Simpsons in 1995.
The Beatles' own material has endured among a small cadre of fans, with most of McCartney's current set list devoted to their radio hits. Here's hoping he finds time for his 1985 soundtrack smash "Spies Like Us" in his Minute Maid set. CRAIG HLAVATY
Mickey Gilley & Johnny Lee Stafford Centre, November 15
More than 30 years after Urban Cowboy was released, it's remarkable what a long shadow one cheesy 1980 melodrama has cast upon the city in which it was filmed -- let alone on the rest of the world, which still thinks most Houstonians still ride a mechanical bull after work. True, some of us do, but surely the real reason for the lingering warm feelings is the music associated with the film, the perfect balance of schmaltzy oil-boom pop and redneck yee-hawin'.
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Thursday, two of the Urban Cowboy soundtrack's linchpins visit the Stafford Centre. Johnny Lee is "Lookin' for Love" as always, while Mickey Gilley has made a heartening recovery from a bad 2009 fall and talked about it in a two-part interview with KHOU anchor Len Cannon last week. CHRIS GRAY