Bill Carter McGonigel's Mucky Duck, March 29
With wife/writing partner Ruth Ellsworth, Bill Carter co-wrote 1989's "Crossfire," one of Stevie Ray Vaughan's last big hits. That song went on to earn music publisher BMI's "Million Airs" award for more than 2 million radio spins; musically speaking, it granted Carter license to do whatever the hell he wanted. Today a talented journeyman musician with interesting friends (Johnny Depp, Billy Gibbons), Carter has had his songs recorded by more than 200 artists, and anchored his rootsy Austin band the Blame for some 30 years now.
This past January he released the Springsteen-ish Unknown (Unison Music Group), not only the sort of album that rhymes "marijuana" with "Americana," but the sort of album that makes you wonder why nobody thought of that before. At both Duck sets (7 and 9:30) Friday, Carter will be joined onstage with crazy-talented Austin brothers Charlie and Will Sexton for a helluva Texas trio. CHRIS GRAY
Chase Hamblin Fitzgerald's, March 29
One of Houston's hardest-hustling troubadors for no small amout of time now, Chase Hamblin finally has something to put in his stall alongside 2009's Fine Time EP. Recorded with Hamblin's backing band of late, the Roustabouts, brand-new album VAUdeVILLE certainly spotlights his abiding love of Britpop classicists that start with the letter "B": Beatles, Bee Gees, early-early Bowie.
However, its abundance of pizzazz and showmanship point back even further, to Britain's music-hall heyday and even a little ragtime. As befitting a proper vaudeville evening, Friday's release party also promises tarot readings, magic, a performance by Kiki's Sordid Sideshow, and no doubt the inevitable surprises. With the Trimms and Bonneville Night Life. CHRIS GRAY
Gurf Morlix Anderson Fair, March 29
Gurf Morlix is one of Texas' preeminent song whisperers, someone far better known for his work with others than for the jewels he hides away for his own records. Morlix's ridiculously long resume includes a patch in Houston's storied '70s singer-songwriter scene and producing Lucinda Williams' albums Lucinda Williams and Sweet Old World, to go with works by Ray Wylie Hubbard, Slaid Cleaves and lots more. (Lots.)
Up to his eighth solo album himself with the brand-new Gurf Morlix Finds the Present Tense (Rootball Records), Morlix is an expert in simple arrangements that are inversely proportional to the complexity of his songs, which come richly veined with dry wisdom, bitter wit, and weary compassion. Morlix also performs at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 30, at Cactus Music, 2110 Portsmouth. CHRIS GRAY
Deftones Bayou Music Center, March 30
The Deftones' hitting streak continued last November with Koi No Yokan, the band's seventh studio effort. Slowly but surely, the band's critical success has begun to match its fan adoration, which is rabid to say the least.
Chino Moreno and his L.A. mates have been called metal's answer to Radiohead, without the free-jazz drumming and Thom Yorke's weariness. Expect to hear plenty from the new album later on Saturday, with the band front-loading recent set lists with stuff from the circa-2000 White Pony era. On a local note, for this touring cycle the band is once again working with Houston's own poster god Jermaine Rogers on a series of limited-edition prints. CRAIG HLAVATY
Mikey & The Drags, Grandfather Child, Psychic Palms, Springfield Riots Mango's, March 30
On Saturday night fuzzy organ addicts Mikey & The Drags release their first seven-inch, which showcases slow-burner "Spill Your Guts", with "Solstice" as the b-side. Fans of the Chocolate Watch Band, jungle rock, and King Khan will find their tummies full on the Drags. Be sure to check out Psychic Palms, further down the bill, a newly-minted act that features Sims Hardin, Jason Puffer, and Chad Pinter, all well-versed in the slim-fitting gospel of garage. CRAIG HLAVATY
FIVE OTHER SHOWS YOU SHOULD CONSIDER By Chris Gray
Southern Culture On the Skids: North Carolina hillbilly B-movie surf-rockers pay their yearly springtime call. (Continental Club, March 29 & 30)
Thalia: Veteran Latin-pop songstress in the round behind recent Habitame Siempre. (Arena Theatre, March 30)
Super Happy Fun Land 10th Anniversary Party: Trackside haven for freaks and geeks marks a solid decade of keeping the lights on with Rusted Shut, Muzak John, the Annoysters, Organ Failure, Clockpole, Days N Daze and many more. Mazel tov! (Super Happy Fun Land, March 30)
Rich Hopkins & the Luminarios: Spellbinding desert alt-rock from the former Sidewinders leader. (Rudyard's, March 30)
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Anthony Hamilton, K-Ci & JoJo: Only the smoooovest '90s jams. (Arena Theatre, March 31)