Easton Corbin Reliant Stadium, March 21
Making his RodeoHouston debut, Easton Corbin stands in stark contrast to the rest of the 2014 lineup because of how...country he is in a sea of hard-rock pretenders and lite-rock spring breakers. Corbin has put more than one critic in mind (favorably) of not just George Strait -- whom he sounds like a lot -- but late, great '80s honky-tonker Keith Whitley.
Looking quite a bit younger than his 31 years, the baby-faced Corbin has the credentials to back it up: He's the first male solo artist in 17 years to have his first two singles, "A Little More Country Than That" and "Roll With It," go to No. 1, which happened in 2009-10. He followed through with that success by taking two singles from 2012's All Over the Road, "Lovin' You Is Fun" and the title track, into the Top 10. CHRIS GRAY
Suzanna Choffel Cactus Music/McGonigel's Mucky Duck, March 21
An eclectic, undeniably sexy performer and singer-songwriter, Suzanna Choffel first turned heads outside her hometown of Austin with a stunning performance of Florence + the Machine's "Dog Days are Over" on Season 3 of NBC's The Voice in fall 2012. Now based in New York, Choffel had already become one of Austin's most popular young talents behind her albums Shudders & Rings (2006) and Steady Eye, Shaky Bow (2011). Last November she released the soulful and confident album Archer. Choffel plays a Cactus Music in-store at 5:30 p.m. Friday before her 9:30 p.m. Set (following Sara Hickman) at the Duck. CHRIS GRAY
The Band Perry Reliant Stadium, March 22
From the Gulf shores of Mobile, Alabama, the Band Perry raises the stakes for mixed-gender mainstream-country acts such as Lady Antebellum and Little Big Town by adding the kind of harmonies only siblings can sing. Kimberly, Reid and Neil Perry made an auspicious debut when their eponymous late-2010 LP shot three singles into Billboard's Country Top 10.
Next time around the trio showed real staying power with "Better Dig Two," their harrowing (and a little disturbing) early-2013 crossover hit about love beyond the grave. Sophomore effort Pioneer followed later in the year and has since been certified gold on the strength of follow-up hits "Done" and "Don't Let Me Be Lonely." CHRIS GRAY
More shows on the next page.
Be the Match Benefit Fitzgerald's, March 22
Pegstar, the local promoters behind Free Press Summer Festival and the partial owners and operators of the historic Heights club, is turning eight of their favorite local bands into the city's hippest tribute acts for one night only this Saturday. H-Town faves Featherface and New York City Queens will be appearing as Big Star and Tears for Fears, respectively, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. See Rocks Off's article from Wednesday. NATHAN SMITH
Blackberry Smoke House of Blues, March 22
An ideal alternative for anyone who thinks the Black Crowes have eaten too much granola over the years, Blackberry Smoke could also be seen as proof the Good Lord created enough room for two first-rate Southern rock bands to peacefully coexist. Since 2000, the Atlanta-formed Smoke has been tearing up both the Interstate highway system and their own fingertips, pausing occasionally to document their countrified, high-octane rock and roll in album form. Full of swagger and soul, 2012's The Whipporwill (Southern Ground) is probably their best album thus far. CHRIS GRAY
Zac Brown Band Reliant Stadium, March 23
The surprising Zac Brown juggernaut rolls on, crisscrossing genres and filling arenas with its tasty Southern-fried concoction. Assembled from the Allmans' Southern rock, bluegrass, a wide of swath of rural and urban country, James Taylor-like folk-rock, and savvy pop, the band's sound manages to appeal to a broad spectrum of music fans without condescension. Their fourth album for Atlantic 2012's platinum Uncaged again showed off the band's diversity amid deep country harmonies and jam-like excursions. RICK MASON
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