Terry Allen McGonigel's Mucky Duck, January 19
It doesn't take long to notice that country-folk musicians from Lubbock are a little different. Whether it's all that flat surrounding them, the supposed UFO visits or something else, they always seem a little more metaphysical than their peers.
With landmark albums like 1979's Lubbock (On Everything) and 1996's Human Remains, Terry Allen certainly took the term "cosmic cowboy" in a much different direction than the likes of Michael Martin Murphey, going much more "cosmic" than even fellow South Plains natives Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Butch Hancock. Every bit as perceptive and biting a visual artist as a songwriter, Allen is back on the stringed side of the ledger with brand-new album Bottom of the World. CHRIS GRAY
Kozmic Pearl House of Blues (Bronze Peacock Room), January 19
Janis Joplin would have been 70 years old this weekend, but instead her October 1970 death at just age 27 left a legacy as one of rock's first female superstars and a lot of unanswered questions. One of the biggest is what she would have done next, but Joplin had just completed the classic album Pearl and would have had the music world at her feet whatever she chose.
She might have become a formidable blues-rock figure like Bonnie Raitt, headed to Nashville even before she would have fit right into the world of country music, or even made peace with her troubled Texas past and come home to Threadgill's. Whatever the outcome, it would have been memorable and Saturday, Houston's top Joplin tribute outfit Kozmic Pearl -- fronted by Myrna Sanders, a fierce vocalist in her own right -- remembers Janis right. CHRIS GRAY
The Departed Firehouse Saloon, January 19
Dating back to the Beatles and Stones, rock bands that set themselves apart from the pack tend to contain two or more songwriters, and draw most of their creative energy from batting ideas back and forth. In this day and age, you can see that yin-yang musical tension in Drive-By Truckers and Kings of Leon, and now the Departed.
An alliance between former Cross Canadian Ragweed singer Cody Canada and Seth James, previously a Red Dirt maverick in the Billy Joe Shaver mold, the Departed released their first album of originals, the resolutely blue-collar Adventus, last fall. Changing horses in mid-stream rarely works this well so far along into an artist's career, but this time for Canada and James it has. CHRIS GRAY
Metalachi Scout Bar, January 19
While all of you Metallica diehards wait for James, Lars, Kirk and Robert to make actual new Metallica music (Lulu with Lou Reed didn't count), why not catch Metalachi, who bill themselves as "The World's First and Only Heavy Metal Mariachi Band"? The six-piece group covers some of the most beloved metal cuts of all time using that jaunty Messican flavor that all of us native Texicans know so well, so expect Ozzy, Dio, Maiden and Zeppelin to all make spicy vicarious appearances at Scout Bar. CRAIG HLAVATY
SIX OTHER SHOWS YOU SHOULD CONSIDER
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- The Trishas: Austin's country-folk harmonizing lady quartet visits Houston's acoustic mother church behind last year's High, Wide & Handsome. (Anderson Fair, January 18)
- Muck and the Mires: Boston group once described as "the 1964 Beatles meets the Ramones" headlines a tailfeather-shaking bill over Austin's Ugly Beats and our own Mikey & the Dragz. Don't forget A Fistful of Soul next door at the Big Top too. (Continental Club, January 18)
- DJ Sun: Just one more plug for the Houston groover's first full-length One Hundred, and two Saturday launches, because we've already written about him twice this week: Wednesday and Thursday. (Cactus Music, January 19, 1:30 p.m.; CHA Champagne & Wine Bar, 8 p.m.)
- Red Cross/Sandy Benefit: Houston still remembers what it's like to be hit by a "superstorm," so almost 20 loud-ish local acts -- including Black Queen Speaks, Knights of the Fire Kingdom, the Dead Revolt, Boulevard Nights, Cavernous, Grizzly and the Journey Agents -- pitch in to help our friends up north. (Dean's & Notsuoh, January 19, 4 p.m.)
- Zomboy: UK electro-dub artist behind tracks like "Organ Donor" traverses a glitch-happy universe. (Stereo Live, January 19)
- Los Lobos: Esteemed East L.A. rockers haven't been here in a while, but may be back soon. Hint hint. (Dosey Doe, January 20)