On the Beat

Rock Picks: Joan Shelley brings lovely new tunes to Cat’s Cradle

Joan Shelley performs songs from her new album on June 14 at Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro.
Joan Shelley performs songs from her new album on June 14 at Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro. Ebru Yildiz

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.

Other highlights

  • 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.