Duke Coffeehouse, Durham
9 p.m., $5 or free with Duke ID
There’s a small handful of musical instruments that suggest heavenly and celestial bodies in their timbres: harps, organs, French horns. But allow us to make a case for the pedal steel, which, in the right hands, can expel some of the most gorgeous, dreamy tones you could ever hope to hear. One of the finest practitioners of this sort of music is Susan Alcorn, who builds spacious, reverberating landscapes that are equally splendid and peculiar. A student of Pauline Oliveros’ esteemed Deep Listening Institute, Alcorn’s expansive compositions tap into all kinds of heady emotional spaces: moments of delight, of sorrow, of quiet meditation, and the thoroughly varied gray areas in between. Alcorn’s otherworldly instrumentals will lift you to a higher plane without ever your ever having to leave your seat. Guitarist Sandy Ewen opens.