Oliver Sacks
Page Auditorium, Duke campusIf I were offered a chance to converse with any great mind on the planet, I would choose Oliver Sacks. Hearing him speak at Duke will be the next best thing. This British-born physician, now professor of clinical neurology and clinical psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center, is not only a scientist, but one of the great humanists of our time. Widely known for his “Neurologist’s Notebook” essays in The New Yorker, he is the author of many fascinating books describing and meditating on the human condition, and in which he marvels at the wholeness of mind and braineven when they may appear to be “broken.” (Sacks’ most recent book, Musicophilia, has recently been reissued in a revised and expanded paperback edition.) Sacks will present the Weaver Lecture, “Music, Healing and the Brain,” co-sponsored by Duke Libraries and Duke Institute for Brain Sciences, in Page Auditorium tonight at 6 p.m. The hour-long lecture is free and open to the public, but the usual parking aggravations apply. For more information, contact ilene.nelson@duke.edu or go to www.dibs.duke.edu.

Sacks’ lecture forms an introduction to the Nov. 13 symposium on “Music and the Brain,” organized by the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences, to be held in Bryan Research Building. To find out if there is still space for this free, daylong series of talks by scholars, panel discussions and demonstrations by the Ciompi Quartet, contact wendy.lesesne@duke.edu, or call 684-3422.

Sacks will also speak on “Creativity and the Brain” at UNC’s Friday Center at 7 p.m. on Nov. 13 as part of a National Humanities Center program. That event is filled; to get on the waiting list, call 549-0661, ext. 110. Kate Dobbs Ariail

Chapel Hill
Harmute, Mary Johnson Rockers
Local 506Openers Mary Johnson Rockers and Lafcadio supply soft, shuffling twang, making Harmute’s mildly theatrical pop-rock the wild card here: With hardly a hint of country to its sound, Harmute’s wistful piano-led songs blend equal parts Broadway ballad and lite-rock boogie. Lead singer Skylar Gudas sings in a warm way, while guitarist Jesse Wooten wraps his slightly nasal voice around Gudas’ lower range. The voices earn prominent placement thanks to largely understated arrangements, punctuated with eager drum fills and tasteful strings. The 9 p.m. show is free, but donations will be collected for the Orange County Rape Crisis Center. Bryan Reed

Dailey & Vincent
Fletcher Opera TheaterJamie Dailey and Darrin Vincent play the music of saints, sinners and redemption. Separately, Dailey and Vincent are both bluegrass veterans, and it shows by their surging success together: In January, the duo released its first album. In October, it won seven International Bluegrass Music Awards. Seven. The rapid rise to prominence is as breathtaking as the strong, fast and sweet bluegrass succor the band offers. Dailey’s chops are normally on show with Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, in which his clean guitar playing becomes the solid musical base. Vincent, formerly of Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, is a multi-instrumentalist, whether plucking the upright bass or plucking the mandolin. His voice is that of humanitysearching, sincere, groundedwhile Dailey’s crystal clear tenor is more than just a high lonesome sound. Jeff Parker (mandolin), Joe Dean (banjo), and Adam Haynes (fiddle) turn this duo into a band, adding the sounds of struggles, triumphs and constant movement. Sit back and let traditional braggadocio and gospel songs sweep you into an acoustic rapture. Pay $21-$25 at 8 p.m. for this Pinecone presentation. Andrew Ritchey