John Egan The Big Easy, July 1
Earlier this year, John Egan competed at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, where the Houston kinda-acoustic bluesman advanced to the semifinal round of 28 -- so by that reckoning, Egan is one of the Top 30 solo acts of his kind in the world.
"Perhaps I was too edgy for the finals?" Egan quipped on Facebook. "All in all it was a great trip and a lot of fun." He won't be too edgy for his Monday-night Big Easy residency, which has already allowed him to whip up a new batch of songs to go along with the ones on last year's excellent Phantoms. CHRIS GRAY
Trae Tha Truth Birthday House of Blues, July 2
A gruff but oddly soft-spoken and mellow rhymesmith, Trae tha Truth has now completely recovered from the gunshot wound he suffered outside a southwest Houston cabaret in June 2012. Trae has also been on the roster of ATL-based Grand Hustle Records since that March, and his proper debut for the T.I.-steered label draws ever closer.
In the meantime, he's in good company and a frequent guest feature among labelmates Young Dro and B.o.B., and recently appeared on his boss' new single "Check This, Dig That." Closer to home, Trae is a 2013 Houston Press Music Awards nominee for Best Local Song for his Future duet "Screwed Up," and the guest of honor at his own birthday celebration Tuesday, which is scheduled to include performances by Double H-Town, Moe Gang, J-Dawg, Mystikal and Big K.R.I.T. Lil Duval hosts, while DJs Mr. Rogers and Young Samm keep the crowd grinding between acts. CHRIS GRAY
Little Joe Washington Boondocks, July 2
Out of a Third Ward blues-guitar school that has now graduated to the great beyond Albert Collins, Johnny Clyde Copeland, Johnny Guitar Watson and Joe "Guitar Hughes," Little Joe Washington is the last man standing. And he's hardly standing still: he's also pedaling his Schwinn from gig to gig, Fender strapped to his back, doing things with it you've never heard before and never will again, and then passing his hat around for tips. JOHN NOVA LOMAX
Kings of the Mike Tour Bayou Music Center, July 3
The second nostalgic package tour to hit Houston in a week is bound to be equally ridiculous, albeit much different from the other one. Each one of these groundbreaking artists -- LL Cool J, Public Enemy, Ice Cube, De La Soul and DJ Z-Trip -- has bridged the gap between hip-hop and mainstream music, changing the face of pop culture in a way that hasn't been replicated since.
The tour comes on the heels of both LL's 14th studio album, Authentic, as well as Public Enemy's 25th anniversary and recent induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. ANGELICA LEICHT
Ed. Note: Houston Press style is to abbreviate "microphone" as "mike."
The Geto Boys House of Blues, July 4
Perhaps the scenario was just too perfect, or the people who were expecting the much-touted Geto Boys reunion at Free Press Summer Fest last month to go off without a hitch were being unrealistic. Either way, the hitch came in the form of Bushwick Bill, who supposedly just didn't leave his home in Atlanta early enough to make the Boys' 4 p.m. stage time. (He was later spotted hanging out in Eleanor Tinsley Park, discrediting the widely circulated rumor he had been busted for weed backstage.)
Though Willie D and Scarface entertained the crowd with a well-chosen set of both solo and group cuts ("Pussy, Weed & Alcohol," "Mr. Scarface," "Damn, It Feels Good to Be a Gangsta"), the loss of the trio's diminutive catalyst was obvious. At this Independence Day makeup date - it's free, space permitting, but a Facebook RSVP is required -- this time we're fairly sure the other two will ensure Bill is there in plenty of time. CHRIS GRAY
Freedom Over Texas Eleanor Tinsley Park, July 4
Sheryl Crow is legitimately a badass; she's survived her fight with breast cancer, won nine freakin' Grammys, and has performed with the likes of Eric Clapton, Willie Nelson, and the Rolling Stones, just to name a few. That's pretty darn impressive, given that the superwoman started off as an elementary school teacher in Missouri, a gig she left in order to write advertising jingles for McDonald's and Toyota.
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There's something quite special about her, though, and she turned that advertising stint into a career that has spanned the charts and the globe time and time again, especially if you count the time Crow spent as a backup singer on tours like Bad -- yes, that Bad -- Michael Jackson's 1987 world tour, which helped launch her solo career. Throw into the mix Martina McBride and the Fourth of July, and we can guarantee that all you'll wanna do is have some fun. See more information at freedomovertexas.org - "freedom" means "free show," too. Gates open at 2 p.m. ANGELICA LEICHT