Few musicians write lyrics so good that you hardly even notice the music, but Jason Isbell is that caliber and not because the music is forgettable. Indeed, the 12 songs on Isbells fantastic new album Southeastern (Thirty Tigers Music) all have admirably spare and sturdy roots-rock arrangements. But its the verbiage thats other-worldly, telling tales in a plain-spoken voice with rather astounding rhymes (sixteen with Benzodiazepine, for one), imagery and wisdom. Its a staggering display, and you can hear it live Tuesday at Raleighs Lincoln Theatre. Widowspeak opens at 8 p.m. and tickets are $14 in advance, $17 day of show. See lincolntheatre.com for details.
• Elsewhere: Southern Culture on the Skids will close down the big music room at Raleigh’s Berkeley Cafe in style with a Saturday-night blowout; also Saturday, Goner unveils its excellent new album “Faking The Wisdom” at Durham’s Pinhook, while Indigo Girls play the N.C. Museum of Art in Raleigh; R&B icons Gladys Knight and the O’Jays play Sunday at Durham Performing Arts Center, while Raleigh’s Pour House has a Community Music School benefit with the school’s Rock Band Ensemble, among others; Connells and The Old Ceremony play a Fourth of July show Thursday at Raleigh Little Theatre, while roots-rock deity Bill Kirchen does the same at Carrboro Town Commons.