Contributors: Grant Britt, Rick Cornell, Grayson Currin, Brian Howe, Rich Ivey, Kathy Justice, Chris Toenes

Wednesday, September 13

Beausoleil, The ArtsCenter

They’ve been nominated for 10 folk Grammys, and they won in 1997. But Beausoleil founder Michael Doucet says the labeling ain’t right: “Our category would be like ‘Traditional Music Sung in a Foreign Language West of the Mississippi River.’” Doucet’s band has always pushed the envelope of traditional Cajun by incorporating other styles, but that’s been going on for centuries. The former French music instructor at the University of Southwest Louisiana says the cultural gumbo of New Orleans is responsible for the mix of classical music, jazz, blues and country that has come to be known as traditional Cajun music. “Other people make judgments,” Doucet says. “We just play music.” –GB

Thursday, September 14

Will Kimbrough, The Big Blue Hearts, The Pour House

Over the last 10 years, former Will & the Bushmen leader Will Kimbrough has remade his name as one of the top session and tour guitarists in Nashville, if not the world, supporting Rodney Crowell and anchoring Todd Snider’s Nervous Wrecks among countless other gigs. But, thankfully, he still finds time to make solo records, his latest being Americanitis. It’s the sound of his, let’s say, disenchantment with the state of affairs surrounding the best pop/rock song of the year in “Everyone’s in Love,” which sounds like Booker & the MGs backing early Elvis Costello. Fellow Nashville-ites the Big Blue Hearts open. $10-$12/8 p.m. –RC

Band of Horses, Cat’s Cradle

Days before this year’s SXSW, former Carissa’s Wierd member Ben Bridwell was on tour with his new Sub Pop troupe Band of Horses when his brother sent him an early-morning text message: “Pitchfork just gave you a blow job.” The online indie tastemaker had given the Horses’ debut, Everything All the Time, an 8.8, almost instantly turning them into a Club Indie Lite, white-earbuds favorite. And, while Everything is a good album, Bridwell’s easy Southern swagger and alternating able howl suggest it won’t be his best. Calgary’s Chad VanGaalen is consistently and detrimentally over-impressed with his own pop smarts. Simon Dawes opens. $12-$14/8:45 p.m. –GC

Randy Whitt & The Grits, Joe Swank, Hank Sinatra, Local 506

Randy Whitt’s voice is pleasantly dapper, empathetic soul underpinnings lining the soul of his tattered country heart. “Funeral of the Sun,” from his We’ve Had Some Trouble, is something special, an admittedly genre-melding affectation that manages to be entirely understated and provocative. Joe Swank & The Zen Pirates poke fun and kick tires, while Hank Sinatra (with Phil Lee) storms like a hellbent Bakersfield boy punching it with some friends in a stuffy garage. $6/ 9 p.m. –GC

Friday, September 15

Ana Popovic, Blue Bayou Club

Ana Popovic is steeped in traditional blues, opening for Junior Wells only a year after she started her first band at age 19. The sexy, Serbian-born blonde guitarist caused quite a stir at the Bull Durham festival in 2004 with her fiery brand of blues/rock, which has earned her the nickname of The Female Jimi Hendrix. She mixes in soul, jazz and funk but finds room for some Elmore or some Wolf to howl with as well. –GB

Donna Parker, Pykrete, Jamie Peterson, Tomandandy, Naomi, Nightlight

Donna Parker is out to destroy you. The one-woman noise project of Massachusetts’ Mary Staubitz blisters ears in her path, and she does it without the use of the cliché KISS-sized backline popular among noise artists as of late. With minimal tools (usually just guitar effects, a mixer and an amp), Staubitz pushes each song to its limit and aurally proves to be the opposite of her debut LP’s title, Debutante. Further proving that noise is not a boy’s club, Parker is joined by the more ambient stylings of Jamie Peterson and Naomi’s experimental electro-pop. Locals Tomandandy and Chuck Johnson’s Pykrete round out the mix. –RI

Chatham County Line, Hooverville, Cat’s Cradle

This one will take you back, whether you want to go or not. Bluegrassers Chatham County Line sing (frequently in four-part harmony) of the times when families gathered around the living-room Philco and when service stations were the lighthouses of the road. Likewise, Hooverville’s stories seems to spring from a mythic small town surrounded by tall pines and bluegrass hills, populated by ramblin’ boys and heart-crushing girls. $8-$10/9:30 p.m. –RC

The Cadillac Stepbacks, High Windy Band, The Cave

It’ll be like a mini bluegrass festival, only with a low ceiling instead of big blue skies, when locals The Cadillac Stepbacks team up with Black Mountain’s High Windy Band for a night of what the fest folks call sweet picking. And despite The Cave’s no-cover-songs policy, you just might hear a Bill Monroe song over the course of the evening. 10 p.m. –RC

Goner, The Greatest Hits, Electric Sunshine, Kings

None of these rock bands are unfamiliar around here, least of all Goner, who will have a new record in the coming months. The Raleigh band’s crackly combo of bass-and-keys bedrock comes punched up with hooks that jut the band into heavy rockdom, a place The Greatest Hits and Electric Sunshine get to with entirely different means. 10 p.m. –CT

Saturday, September 16

WXDU Record Show, Duke Coffeehouse

Forget eBay for a day, and get your hands dirty in the endless rows of crates at WXDU’s record show. They’ve added real live record dealers to the lineup this year, so you may be able to find that mint Beatles butcher cover or a V.U. banana record with the sticker still intact. Show runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. –CT

Avenue, 6 Inch Voices, The New Me, The Brewery

Newbie alt-rockers The New Me mix hard edges with smooth surfaces to create a sound that’s somewhere between Goo Goo Dolls gloss and Nickelback’s post-grunge swagger. Pop-punk quartet 6 Inch Voices adds their salty whines and sonic textures to the mix, and Avenue rounds out the raucous riot with gently sweeping guitars and pop-friendly keys. All bands hail from the streets of Raleigh, making this a triple-threat not to be missed. 9:30 p.m. –KJ

Sunday, September 17

Rogue Wave, Jason Collett, Foreign Born, Cat’s Cradle

Here’s a night of indie rock with a distinctly retro-mainstream vibe. Rogue Wave refracts Simon and Garfunkel’s pellucid folk-pop through a gently psychedelic haze of Wurlitzer and samples. While Jason Collett may play it fast and loose with rock’s conventions in Broken Social Scene, his solo thing is more reverent. He’s fist-pumpingly messianic like Bono or the Boss, although his tunes sound more like the Band, as he choogles through saucy Southern rock in the special way that only Canadians can. $10-$12/8:45 p.m. —BH

Max Ochs, Christina Carter, Shawn David McMillen, Nightlight

“Yoga, hash, peyote, LSD. I was writing Planet poetry, earth songs.” That’s how blues and folk guitarist Max Ochs describes his influences during 1969, the year he wrote “Imaginational Anthem,” a mystical instrumental composition for solo acoustic guitar at the heart of two recent volumes of such pieces, appropriately titled Imaginational Anthem: A Guitar Anthology. Ochs is the cousin of Phil and a former Takoma artist, and his NYC house also served as a resting post for Son House and Skip James in the ’70s. Charlambides guitarist Christina Carter and Ash Castles member Shawn David McMillen join him for this nationally bound IA round. $8/9 p.m. –GC

Tuesday, September 19

Mason Jennings, Lincoln Theatre

The last time Mason Jennings played the Triangle, he led a Cat’s Cradle crowd through a peaceful round of camp-fire balladry, crooning his well-crafted folk songs to an attentive audience. That is, until he decided to go all rockist, plugging into pedals and thrashing around on stage, suggesting Jennings may just have a wild side that’s yet to be unleashed. Jennifer O’Connor opens up the set. $15/8:45 p.m. –KJ

Wednesday, September 20

Alphas Wear Grey, Monologue Bombs, Bickett Gallery

Raleigh duo Alphas Wear Grey render electro-soundscapes in crackling austerity, partially broken beats rattling beneath vibrato keyboards and chopped samples. Their compositions are gradually developing an identity, and they’re worth familiarity now. Monologue Bombs is Goner songwriter Scott Phillips singing solo with occasional help from local friends. Expect him to mix toy keyboard, accordion, piano and the occasional acoustic guitar with his entreating, endearing voice, and expect to hear a choice cover. Previous sets have included odes to The Mountain Goats, Bright Eyes and Nathan Asher. 10 p.m. –GC

Jay Clifford, Meghan Coffee, Lincoln Theatre

Jay Clifford breezes through the Triangle on the tail wind of former Jump Little Children bandmate Ward Williams. Expect a stripped-down performance from the lead singer, with hushed vocals and mellow melodies reminiscent of warm, fuzzy blankets on crisp autumn nights. Indie-folk songstress Meghan Coffee starts up the show with her bittersweet ballads of smashed hearts and complicated love affairs. $10-$12/ 8 p.m. —KJ