British agit-punk folksinger Billy Bragg has always had a streak of troubadour, but his new album “Tooth & Nail” (Cooking Vinyl Records) truly lets his inner country-bluesman Okie out to play. Between the Woody Guthrie cover, pedal-steel overtones and blue notes, it’s Dust Bowl Americana from the heartland wilds of suburban London. Bragg will show it off live Friday at Cat’s Cradle. Kim Churchill opens at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25. See catscradle.com for details.
• Saturday is Record Store Day, the annual celebration of the old-fashioned brick-and-mortar record store, and we’ve got some good ones worth preserving in the Triangle – including Schoolkids in Raleigh, Bull City Records and Offbeat Music in Durham and Chapel Hill’s CD Alley. Acts putting out independent-store-only limited-edition releases this year include Phish, Flaming Lips, White Stripes, R.E.M. and scores more; but you have to go to the store of your choice to see what they’ve got. Schoolkids is sweetening its draw with free in-store performers Saturday afternoon, including the Canadian band Metz (who will also play Saturday night at Chapel Hill’s Local 506), Caroline Mamoulides and Greg Humphreys. See facebook.com/schoolkids for details.
• Elsewhere: Friday brings the eccentric California folkie duo Milk Carton Kids to Durham’s Casbah, venerable blues-rock band Nighthawks to Papa Mojo’s in Durham and DJ Spooky to Saxapahaw’s Haw River Ballroom; Justin Robinson & the Mary Annettes, Big Ron Hunter and Reed Turchi play Raleigh’s Long View Center Friday, a Sustaining Roots Music benefit for Music Maker Relief Foundation; Durham Performing Arts Center has a very fine Sunday blues bill, B.B. King and Robert Cray; Motor City garage-rockers Detroit Cobras bring it to Motorco Music Hall in Durham Sunday; Fu Manchu performs the 1997 stoner-rock landmark “The Action Is Go” in its entirety Tuesday at Kings in Raleigh, with Double Negative opening; and Small Ponds open for noted Americana singer/songwriter Kim Richey Thursday at Durham’s Pinhook.