Whether topping the charts with his own hot country songs, or writing classics such as Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight, Starts on the Water and Song for the Life for others to sing, Rodney Crowell has established a career beyond the boundaries of commercial country music. A literary songwriter with eclectic interests and uncompromising integrity, the Grammy-winning artist has lately taken to recording autobiographical albums. His recently released Tarpaper Sky is rich with memories of growing up poor in a working-class Houston neighborhood, and of family and friends, such as Guy Clark. On Saturday, Crowell makes a rare visit to the Triangle area when he brings his songs and memories to the Holly Springs Cultural Center. Call 919-567-4000 for more info.
• MerleFest continues through Sunday on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro. See merlefest.org for a schedule of acts that includes Mandolin Orange, Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, Sam Bush Band, Claire Lynch Band, Dailey and Vincent, Merle Haggard and others.
• Gillian Welch brings her Americana country and folk to the Carolina Theatre in Durham on Monday. Irish-American singer Cathie Ryan will perform at the ArtsCenter in Carrboro on Thursday.