The Best Concerts in Houston This Weekend
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
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
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
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