Heights Theater, October 10
Shortly before the release of his seventh studio album, ArrangingTime, singer-songwriter Pete Yorn and his wife welcomed their first child. Since then, the Garden State native has been quiet on the music front, likely focusing more on fatherhood than composition. But new music isn’t a prerequisite for touring, after all, so Houston fans will still have the chance to see Yorn in person Tuesday. His latest outing – a monthlong stretch comprising only eight stops, three of which are in Texas – will exhibit an even more intimate side of the “Life on a Chain” singer, who will be accompanied onstage only by an acoustic guitar. With nearly 100 original songs to choose from, it shouldn't be difficult for Yorn to put together a set list of crowd-pleasers, and maybe even some lesser-known favorites. MATTHEW KEEVER
INSANE CLOWN POSSE
Warehouse Live, October 11
If 2017 has belonged to anyone, it's the clowns. After a weird year of freaking people out – seriously, there's an entire Wikipedia entry dedicated to 2016 clown sightings – clowns are back in a huge way thanks to the monster success of IT and the ongoing battle against the federal government by the Insane Clown Posse. No, that second part is not made up: just weeks ago ICP and their Juggalo family from coast to coast landed in Washington, D.C. to march against the FBI. Then they put on a show at the Lincoln Memorial because 2017 is wild. They'll be hitting Houston as part of the big celebration for 20 years of The Great Milenko, also known as That Record Disney Put Out Then Quickly Regretted It. Spoiler Alert: 20 years later, “Halls of Illusions” still bangs live. CORY GARCIA
Revention Music Center, October 12
In 2014, Lecrae did something no rapper of his persuasion — outspokenly Christian — had done before. The Houston native and Atlanta-based MC secured the top spot of on the Billboard 200 with Anomaly. Since then, his success has only made his mission to make the kind of rap music he can appreciate that much easier. He can get in contact with non-secular hitmakers of the day such as Mike Will Made-It and Metro Boomin. He can recruit Ty Dolla $ign, the modern version of Nate Dogg, and Tori Kelly. He feels comfortable now, even as the world continues to shift in different directions. His new album, All Things Work Together, invokes the Bible verse Romans 8:28, which holds teamwork as the quickest route to the arms of God. But he's done attempting to cater to both bases. He'd rather work in the gray area, being spiritual and a rap fan at home in both worlds. His main belief in regards to the album? That there's "hope in chaos.” With Aha Gazelle and 1K Phew. BRANDON CALDWELL
Smart Financial Centre, October 12
Since he’s been known to dabble in acting himself, you might consider the “post-stardom” phase of Dwight Yoakam’s career like a leading man whose character roles grow more fascinating and satisfying once his box-office luster fades a bit. The Kentucky native and avatar of L.A. country cool in the ‘80s and ‘90s is now 60, an appropriate age for his unofficial role as figurehead of the 21st-century alt-country and Americana scenes that would sound radically different without his influence. Certainly the two LPs Yoakam has released since re-signing to Warner Bros., 3 Pears (2012) and Second Hand Heart (2015), are as strong as anything he’s ever done, and by re-recording an album’s worth of old favorites as bluegrass tunes on last year’s Swimming Pools, Movie Stars (Sugar Hill), he follows a career-long pattern of updating classic country traditions in innovative and delightful ways. His cover of Prince’s “Purple Rain” is a hoot, too.
ZIEGENBOCK MUSIC FESTIVAL
Sam Houston Race Park, October 14
Simply showing up to an outdoor country-music festival does not usually amount to an act of bravery, nor should it, but it does in the wake of last week’s Route 91 Harvest massacre in Las Vegas. Whatever the gunman’s ultimate motivations may have been, the fact remains that the one thing the victims all had in common was identifying as country-music fans. That’s a lot to unpack for an event that is supposed to be a celebration, and uplifting an audience likely to still be a little shell-shocked is a pretty tall order for the entertainers. Fortunately, with one of the strongest lineups in its 15-year history — topped by Aaron Lewis, Blackberry Smoke, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real and Lubbock’s Josh Abbott Band, whose guitarist Caleb Keeter made national headlines by renouncing his Second Amendment support and calling for gun control after the shooting— the ZiegenBock festival seems perfectly positioned to help fans start feeling normal again, chiefly by showing them a darn good time. Gates open at 11 a.m.
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SHOW ME HOW
Smart Financial Centre, October 14
Sturgill Simpson has enjoyed a pretty heroic rise to semi-stardom, a rebel with a conscience who appears to be doing it for the right reasons: to make music with grit and integrity, and (lest we forget) also feed his family. Case in point: his latest album and major-label debut, last year’s A Sailor’s Guide to Earth. Building on the hardscrabble honky-tonk parables of 2013’s High Top Mountain and acid-dusted Americana of the next year’s Metamodern Sounds In Country Music, Sailor’s Guide is no less than a road map to life for his young son, as told by a troubadour in his prime but wise beyond his years, and embellished with Memphis horns, serious-minded strings and one novel reworking of Nirvana’s “In Bloom.” It’s a trip, and rather than worry about which existing commercial radio format might make sense of it (hint: none), Simpson has simply hit the road again and watched the size of the rooms he plays triple since the album’s release. With Jason Eady.
House of Blues, October 15
Cultural dissonance doesn’t come much more acute than happening upon Spoon playing Ellen DeGeneres’s afternoon talk show one day and immediately flashing back to watching the band rock gritty Austin dives like Emo’s and Hole In the Wall a generation ago. Besides front man Britt Daniel’s steely ambition disguised as outward nonchalance, the one thing uniting the Spoon of then and now is a bespoke and instantly recognizable sound, rooted in drummer Jim Eno’s impeccable timekeeping abilities. Spoon’s profile continues to rise because Daniel and his bandmates are tenacious almost to a fault, both onstage and in the studio; the tales of multiple takes, rewrites and their painstaking quest for that one perfect note, in exactly the right place, are legendary. As with the past several Spoon LPs, the band’s latest, Hot Thoughts, is rapidly shaping up as the group’s most acclaimed and accomplished release to date. With Mondo Kozmo.