Wise-guy country singer Robbie Fulks’ latest album “Gone Away Backward” (Bloodshot Records) finds the Creedmoor-raised expatriate coming full circle, with a dozen songs steeped in folksy tones of the rural setting Fulks grew up in before departing for the big city of Chicago. It’s a subdued set, slanted more toward bluegrass; and while punk godfather Steve Albini seems like an odd choice to handle the recording of such an album, he definitely captured it in perfect no-frills tones. Fulks plays Sunday at Raleigh’s Southland Ballroom. Doors open at 7 p.m., music starts at 8 and tickets are $15-$18. See southlandballroom.com for details.
• The Love Language headlines Friday’s opening night of radio station WKNC’s 11th annual “Double Barrel Benefit” at Carrboro’s Cat’s Cradle. Lilac Shadows play Durham’s Carrack Gallery Saturday, unveiling their fine new album “No Dark/No Light” (DiggUp Tapes) with an intriguing collaborative art installation based on 20 artists’ response to the music (see thecarrack.org for details). Also Saturday, singer/songwriter Joe Pug plays Carrboro’s ArtsCenter, Gov’t Mule is at Durham Performing Arts Center and Backsliders play Chapel Hill’s Local 506.
• Sunday brings piano-man Billy Joel to Raleigh’s PNC Arena, and blues-guitar great Buddy Guy to Durham’s Carolina Theatre. Classical pianist Lang Lang, fresh off an oddball collaboration with Metallica at last month’s Grammy Awards, plays UNC-Chapel Hill’s Memorial Hall on Tuesday. London-born indie-rock band Yuck plays Local 506 Wednesday. And soul goddess Sharon Jones wails away at the Carolina Theatre on Thursday.