Don’t cue up “Joan Shelley” (No Quarter Records) if you’re in a hurry or in the middle of anything important, because it’s probably going to stop you cold. Not that this fourth album by Kentucky singer/songwriter Shelley is loud or demonstrative – indeed, it’s pretty much at the level of a murmur from start to finish – but Shelley’s voice and stately songs (thrown into expert relief in understated arrangements overseen by producer Jeff Tweedy, on holiday from Wilco) are quietly arresting. This is as lovely a record as I’ve heard this year, and Shelley will show it off Wednesday night at Cat’s Cradle Back Room.
Doors open at 7 p.m., the music starts at 8 with Jake Xerxes Fussell and tickets are $13-$15. See catscradle.com for details.
- Canadian indie-pop/identical-twin duo Tegan and Sara play Raleigh’s N.C. Museum of Art on Friday.
- Saturday has two fantastic options in downtown Raleigh, from the Americana end of the local spectrum: Sarah Shook & the Disarmers at Ruby Deluxe, and rising local singer/songwriter Kate Rhudy unveiling her excellent new album “Rock n’ Roll Ain’t for Me” at Kings.
- Acclaimed free-jazz saxophonist Peter Brötzmann plays Kings on Sunday, in an intriguing combination with pedal-steel player Heather Leigh.
- Wednesday brings the next “Music in the Gardens” show to Duke with bluesman Robert Finley, plus psychedelic-pop guitarist Steve Gunn with Sonic Youth’s Lee Ranaldo and Meg Baird to Carrboro ArtsCenter, and Peter Holsapple opening for Memphis’ Dan Montgomery at The Cave in Chapel Hill.
- Thursday is pretty action-packed: guitarist extraordinaire Les Dudek at Durham’s Blue Note; Texas Americana trio the Quebe Sisters at Motorco; the fun pairing of Marshall Crenshaw and Los Straitjackets at the Cradle; and Jim Lauderdale with Fireside Collective at Durham’s American Tobacco for the WUNC “Music on the Lawn” series.