On the Beat

Rock Picks: Durham’s Brice Randall Bickford at the ArtsCenter

Durham’s Brice Randall Bickford unveils his new album “PARO” at the Carrboro ArtsCenter Saturday.
Durham’s Brice Randall Bickford unveils his new album “PARO” at the Carrboro ArtsCenter Saturday.

Durhamite Brice Randall Bickford used to perform as The Strugglers, releasing a series of terrific and undeservedly obscure folk-rock albums under that name. But whether as The Strugglers or just himself, Bickford still has one of the most distinctive voices in Triangle music — a richly emotional baritone, usually deployed in a low-key murmur of a yowl (like Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder dialed way, way down). Bickford’s new album “PARO” (Brightwell Records) is another elegant effort, eight lovely chamber-pop songs with not a note out of place. He’ll unveil it Saturday at the Carrboro ArtsCenter.

JPhono1 opens at 8 p.m. and tickets are $12-$15. See artscenterlive.org for details.

Other highlights

  • Raleigh’s Red Hat Amphitheater will be “American Idol”-focused this weekend, with 2004 winner Fantasia opening for Maxwell on Friday and 2012 winner Phillip Phillips on Sunday with Matt Nathanson.
  • Friday also brings Dumpstaphunk to Raleigh’s Lincoln Theatre and Gross Ghost & Friends (including Wailin’ Storms and Sarah Shook) to haunt the Back Room of Carrboro’s Cat’s Cradle.
  • Saturday, renowned fiddler Eileen Ivers plays Raleigh’s N.C. Museum of Art and Replacements bassist Tommy Stinson visits The Cave’s friendly confines in Chapel Hill.
  • And Thursday’s latest Oak City 7 show at Raleigh’s City Plaza features the mighty Birds of Avalon.
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