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Continued: The Big Gigs: Concerts for the week of May 3

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  • Last update: May 2, 2013 - 1:36 PM

The history-respecting, retro-loving folks at Minneapolis’ Secret Stash Records not only put out a cool commemorative collection of Twin Cities vintage soul music last year — “Twin Cities Funk & Soul: Rare R&B Grooves from Minneapolis/St. Paul 1964-1979” — but they’ve also spawned a rebirth for the Valdons, a snazzy vocal ensemble, and R&B vocalist Sonny Knight. Maurice Jacox, a smooth crooner and saxophonist who never left the scene, is part of Secret Stash Soul Revue, as well, and soulful upstart Chastity Brown has been added to the lineup for good measure. (8 p.m. Fri.-Sat. Dakota, $25.) Bream

Charles Bradley’s story is so compelling that it’s been chronicled in a documentary, “Soul of America.” He’s the up-from-poverty soul singer who was discovered, around age 60, by the co-founder of Daptone Records while working as a James Brown impersonator. Four years later, the raspy-voiced soul man has released his second disc for Daptone, “Victim of Love,” which is filled with gritty, emotional original R&B that is more joyful than his debut. Paul and the Tall Trees open. Read an interview with Bradley at (8 p.m. Tue. Cedar Cultural Center, $17.50-$20.) Bream


Pure Texan honky-tonker Dale Watson already wrote the unofficial anthem of Lee’s Liquor Lounge, “Louie’s Lee’s Liquor Lounge,” and his ties to the Twin Cities grew even stronger when he started recording for St. Paul’s Red House Records. The Austinite’s second album for the label, “El Rancho Azul,” has some serious butt-kick twang to it amid some not-so-serious tunes, with titles including “I Lie When I Drink,” “I Drink to Remember” and simply “Drink Drink Drink.” Do we even need to tell you where he’s playing to promote it? Local hillbilly vets Elmer & the Thunderjets open. (9 p.m. Sat., Lee’s Liquor Lounge, $15.) Riemenschneider

After two decades of marriage, children and parallel careers, Kelly Willis and Bruce Robison have finally intersected on a full record together, a playful gem titled “Cheater’s Game.” She’s the honky-tonk angel who beautifully bounced out of Nashville and into the alt-country realm with the classic 1998 album “What I Deserve,” featuring the writing of Gary Louris and Paul Westerberg. Robison holds the humorous distinction of writing the fast-falling single in Billboard history, “Travelin’ Soldier,” which the Dixie Chicks landed at No. 1 the week of “the incident.” No joke, though, he’s also one of the best modern songwriters of any genre, with some lines that could make the toughest cowboy weep. It’s a rare chance to see them together outside of Texas. (7 p.m. Sun., the Dakota, $30.) Riemenschneider


For the first time in recent memory, the Festival of Nations is presenting a big-name world-music act as part of its always tasty, multi-culti celebration. The Sierra Leone’s Refugee All-Stars were formed a decade ago by displaced musicians in the refugee camps of Guinea, and they have become internationally known purveyors of buoyant Afro-pop reggae. They have entertained at the Minnesota State Fair and regularly at the Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis. An uplifting good time. (8:30 p.m. Fri. Festival of Nations, Roy Wilkins Auditorium, $11-$13.50.) Bream


The Minnesota Orchestra may still sadly be out of action, but its principal timpanist is staying busy. Peter Kogan has released an excellent CD, “Cornucopia,” a showcase not just for his sensitive and able jazz drumming, but also his flair for composition. With a cast of local bar stars and Orchestra Hall vets, “Cornucopia” has echoes of jazz greats from several eras (Ellington, Fats Waller, Monk, Wayne Shorter), plus one modern samba detour. It makes a fine case that Kogan, who’s also had steady gigs with the Cleveland Orchestra and the Pittsburgh Symphony, might have fared just as well in nightclubs and at outdoor festivals, with zero job security but no tux-cleaning bills. At his release party, Kogan will debut two new pieces penned since the disc was recorded. (7 p.m. Mon., Icehouse, $10.) Surowicz

Once upon a time, pianist and composer Bill Carrothers was one of the better kept secrets in jazz. That was about two dozen CDs and even more European tours ago. He has three fairly new CDs in his cool catalog — a pair of solo piano discs (“Family Life” and “Civil War Diaries, Live”), and a critically acclaimed trio date with bassist Drew Gress and Belgian drummer Dre Pallemaerts called “Castaways.” (9 p.m. Fri.-Sat., Artists’ Quarter, $12.) Surowicz

Washington, D.C., jazz keyboardist Marcus Johnson didn’t wait to be discovered and signed by a New York or L.A. record label; he just started putting out independent CDs in 1995. It worked. The go-getter veteran of some 16 albums even has his own “lifestyle branding company” and a line of wine. Johnson’s musical output is mostly original and often forgettable smooth-jazz fare. He shines best when putting a groovy spin on well-known songs not often heard at jazz shows. Johnson’s likely to get down in the pocket on just about anything —from Nirvana to Steve Miller. (8 p.m. Thu., Dakota, $25.) Surowicz


Throughout this dismal season of orchestral lockouts, Accordo (comprising principal string players of our two major orchestras) has been a beacon for Twin Cities music lovers. This is reason enough to hear its season finale, “Intimate Voices,” which takes its title from Jean Sibelius’ too-seldom-programmed String Quartet, Op. 56, his finest chamber work. But there are other good reasons: Zoltan Kodaly’s dynamic Duo for Violin and Cello, Op. 7, and Antonin Dvorak’s beguiling Viola Quintet, Op. 97. (7:30 p.m. Mon. Christ Church Lutheran, 3244 34th Av. S., Mpls. $12-$24 adults, 651-292-3268 or Larry Fuchsberg

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