Robin Kirby Last Concert Cafe, June 18
Singer-songwriter Robin Kirby entered the Houston music scene in 2008 after leaving her band Robin & the Hurricanes behind in Dallas. Since then she's been constantly on the go, offering a stripped-down and honest style that sounds absolutely timeless.
Kirby's voice has that combination of silk and sandpaper that made Janis Joplin such a powerful presence; every note and melody is custom-built to draw a listener into her honest and open expression. With Wendy Elizabeth Jones. JEF WITH ONE F
Juneteenth Celebration Miller Outdoor Theatre, June 19
Now celebrated in 42 states, Juneteenth really belongs to Texas, because it commemorates the day in 1865 the U.S. Navy sailed into Galveston to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation, thus signifying the end of the Confederacy around these parts. It wasn't long before Juneteenth meant one of the biggest parties of the year, and 2013 is a big one indeed; it's officially the 150th anniversary of the Proclamation, which took effect in January 1863.
Headlining Houston's annual free party is local resident C.J. Chenier, son of zydeco patriarch Clifton Chenier and one of the genre's brightest stars in his own right, most recently pulling down a Grammy nomination for 2011's Can't Sit Down. Opening fresh off her first-ever HPMA Best Blues nomination is Annika Chambers and her House Rules Band, plus a reading by award-winning Houston storyteller and author Toni Simmons. Free. CHRIS GRAY
Danny Barnes Dosey Doe (Big Barn), June 19
Danny Barnes is a big ole boy who moves around the stage like a panther who'd just been let out of his cage. Whether he's whanging on something with strings or writing a tune, Barnes has always been an acerbic intellectual, an always-choice picker who never stands in one spot musically for long and whose game has moved into spheres of virtuosity occupied by the likes of Louisiana slide-guitar whiz Sonny Landreth. With Billy Bright. WILLIAM MICHAEL SMITH
The Suffers, Chase Hamblin & the Roustabouts Discovery Green, June 20
Another great double bill at UH-Downtown's free Thursday-night concert series, this one pairs two of the more popular new-ish bands actively gigging in Houston right now. The Suffers entwine Kam Franklin's diva-worthy vocals around an groove-heavy and enticing blend of ska, rocksteady and R&B, every so often dropping in a crowd-pleasing, eyebrow-raising cover like Bobby Brown's "Every Little Step." Chase Hamblin and his ragtag crew the Roustabouts add just a dash of psychedelia and roots-rock to some potently Beatlesque power-pop, as heard on this year's LP VAUdeVILLE. CHRIS GRAY
Generationals Fitzgerald's, June 20
Straight outta New Orleans, two-man outfit Generationals is finally starting to gather steam outside of the Crescent City with synths and vocals that recall prime Pet Shop Boys. Ted Joyner and Grant Widmer keep their songs compact, hanging hooks in all the right places on 2012's Lucky Numbers EP, which seems to have been pulled from the depths of some decadent, password-protected French Quarter dance den. CRAIG HLAVATY