It’s always an interesting reductive exercise to compare solo albums from a given group to deduce who brought what to the table. Consider Nickel Creek, who emerged as an Americana wunderkind trio in the early ’90s and grew to platinum-selling status. Based on their output beyond the band, fiddler Sara Watkins provided a lot of the folksy grounding while mandolinist (and current MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellow) Chris Thile was responsible for the quirkier edges and tangents. But guitarist Sean Watkins appears to be the one who brought the accessible pop sense. Watkins’ latest solo effort “What to Fear” offers up another 10 nuggets of pop-earworm goodness, which he’ll show off Tuesday at Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro.
Doors open at 7 p.m., Petra Haden & Jesse Harris start things off at 8 p.m. and tickets are $12-$15. See catscradle.com for details.
- Skylar Gudasz sings and plays songs from her spectacular and wonderful debut album “Oleander” at the Cradle Back Room on Friday, the same night singer-songwriter Laura Gibson is at Kings in Raleigh.
- Michael Rank opens for the very fine local duo Lowland Hum Saturday at the Cradle Back Room.
- Sunday brings the aptly named Angel Olsen to Haw River Ballroom in Saxapahaw, and a “Locals Only” bill headlined by the great Valient Thorr at the Raleigh Ritz.
- Black Violin plays Durham’s Carolina Theatre Tuesday, the same night the rock musical “Million Dollar Quartet” opens a two-night stand at Durham Performing Arts Center.
- Thursday, roots diva Elle King is at Raleigh’s Lincoln Theatre while Kamara Thomas plays the first show at Carrboro’s reopened Station.