Along with the dulcet sound of fiddle and rhythmic plunk of banjo, the cry-and-moan of steel guitar is one of the most distinctive sounds in country music. With origins in Hawaiian slack-key guitar, the sound became popular in country music in the 1930s when Bashful Brother Oswald Kirby introduced the resonator guitar into Roy Acuff’s Smoky Mountain Boys. Electrified lap steel and pedal steel were popularized after World War II, and remain a staple of honky tonk music today. Hank Williams, George Jones, Alan Jackson, and others make steel guitar a regular presence in their recordings and live shows. On Saturday, UNC-Chapel Hill’s Southern Folklife Collection will host a Steel Guitar Symposium and Concert at Carrboro’s ArtsCenter. The symposium begins at 2 p.m., and is free and open to the public. A concert featuring Cindy Cashdollar and Bill Kirchen and Too Much Fun will follow at 8 p.m. For information, see artscenterlive.org/event/performance/2103.
Other highlights: • Tonight, the Boys from Carolina play bluegrass at the Pittsboro Roadhouse. The Afro-Cuban All-Stars perform Saturday at Duke University’s Page Auditorium. Claire Lynch visits the ArtsCenter on Sunday (story, p. ). On Monday, Texas troubadour Ray Wylie Hubbard will sing his songs at Berkeley Café. British blues guitarist Bex Marshall performs at Marsh Woodwinds on Tuesday. Thursday has Nixon, Blevins and Gage at Tir an nOg and Portland, Ore.’s Foghorn Stringband at the ArtsCenter.