For most mortals, being Johnny Cash’s daughter and the stepdaughter of country music’s most dynastic family would amount to an impossibly crushing mountain’s worth of family obligations to live up to. But Rosanne Cash is not most mortals. For more than three decades, Cash has unflinchingly charted a course that acknowledges her history without being imprisoned by it. Cash keeps that balancing act going with her terrific new album, “The River & the Thread” (Blue Note Records), on which she takes a metaphoric spin down Highway 61 and reports back with 11 songs worth of spectral twang from the same emotional ballpark as Bobbie Gentry’s “Ode to Billie Joe.” She’ll play it live Friday at Durham’s Carolina Theatre. Showtime is 8 p.m. and tickets are $43.15-$64.65. See carolinatheatre.org for details.
• Friday’s a big night all over: Drive-By Truckers hold forth at The Ritz in Raleigh; Diali Cissokho & Kaira Ba unveil a new album at Cat’s Cradle; John Howie Jr. and Loudermilk both do the same at the Cradle’s Backroom; Futurebirds play Kings in Raleigh; Southern Culture on the Skids inaugurates its “Lard Have Mercy” museum exhibit with a free show at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Historic Playmakers Theatre; and Carolina Chocolate Drop leader Rhiannon Giddens opens a two-night run with the N.C. Symphony at Raleigh’s Meymandi Concert Hall.
• Venerable blues-rocker George Thorogood plays Raleigh’s Memorial Auditorium Monday. Tuesday brings the even-more-venerable Moody Blues to Durham Performing Arts Center, and Eddie Money to the Carolina Theatre. Folk-rockers the Kennedys play Carrboro ArtsCenter Wednesday.
• Thursday, the Cradle’s Backroom has the choice triple-bill of Shearwater, Death Vessel and Jesca Hoop, while Durham’s Carolina has the equally choice pairing of Shawn Colvin and Steve Earle.