Chapel Hill
Amy Cook/Anne McCue
Local 506A pair of songwriters in different places: Aussie Anne McCue has been in successful bands and twice departed them to concentrate on her own material. She scores prodigiously with her third solo release Koala Motel, which manages both cool grooves and a sultry, rock sensuality with help from guests John Doe and Lucinda Williams. Meanwhile, Amy Cook abandoned L.A. and the teen dramas (Dawson’s Creek, Veronica Mars) she’d landed songs on for Marfa, Texas two years ago. She discovered new bandmates and a spacious, parched Lonestar state ambience to give her AAA fare an interesting exoticism. The $8 show starts at 9 p.m. Chris Parker

Surf & Turf
Berkeley CafeSurf & Turf plays embarrassingly good American Bluegrass, mixing Irish and Hawaiian folk music into the repertoire for a measure of variety. While the inclusion of Hawaiian folk music in the quintet’s repertoire may seem strange, it’s no more “foreign” than any other folk for the Japanese band. Each member has serious chops and deep respect for the traditions of these tunes, so Surf & Turf plays these tunes cleanly, quickly and with excitement. It stops in Raleigh at 8 p.m. after leaving Merlefest. Tickets are $5. Andrew Ritchey

Elizabeth Strout
Quail Ridge Books and MusicFrom the complex mother-daughter relationship of Amy and Isabelle to the crisis of faith in Abide with Me, Elizabeth Strout’s novels of New England are never quite what they appear to be on the surface. This continues with Olive Kitteridge, 13 linked tales dealing with a retired teacher described as “abrasive as sandpaper rubbed across a scab and unapologetically rude.” Called a “perfectly balanced portrait of the human condition,” you can meet Kitteridge and Strout when the latter reads at Quail Ridge Books at 7 p.m. Zack Smith