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Continued: Big Gigs: Twin Cities concert highlights Aug. 16-22

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  • Last update: August 15, 2013 - 3:26 PM

Sort of a female answer to Townes Van Zandt, Mary Gauthier sings of life’s underbelly, including drag queens, a hobo king and a female double murderer. Her detailed, finely told story songs are dark, heavy stuff. So the New Orleans-born, Nashville-based Gauthier lightens things with her cutting and often hilarious patter between the tales of drinking and dying. This riveting performer will be joined by another colorful singer/songwriter, Texas all-timer Ray Wylie Hubbard, known for writing “Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother.” (7:30 p.m. Thu., Cedar Cultural Center, $30.) Bream


With a weirdly laid-back delivery that belies his seriously thought-provoking lyrics and madcap wordplay, Homeboy Sandman is as unique a voice in indie-rap as his recent tourmate Brother Ali. The New York City rapper just issued his second album for Stones Throw Records, “All That I Hold Dear.” He’s on tour with another odd duck of a rapper, Chicago’s Open Mike Eagle, who played the Soundset fest back in May. (9 p.m. Fri., 7th Street Entry, $10-$15.) Riemenschneider


Recently returned from dates in France with great British keyboardist Tony Hymas, bassist and composer Chris Bates gathers the latest two editions of his critically acclaimed Red 5 band for a weekend of musical intrigue. The combo includes brother J.T. Bates, who was also part of that overseas Tony Hymas Trio, plus saxophonist Brandon Wozniak and Southside Aces trumpeter Zack Lozier. On Friday, the lineup will be completed by a new face on saxophone, Milwaukee native Nelson Devereaux. On Saturday, the second saxophonist will be Chris Thomson. (9 p.m. Fri.-Sat., Artists’ Quarter, $12.) Surowicz


Erudite New Orleans jazz pianist Tom McDermott will be a special guest of the quirky Twin Cities band Patty and the Buttons in this month’s best free indoor show. Founder of modern brass band the New Orleans Nightcrawlers and a longtime member of the Dukes of Dixieland, McDermott is a versatile player who has recorded sublime albums co-starring clarinetist Evan Christopher as well as French and Brazilian music. So he should fit right in with the frisky trad band led by accordion wizard Patrick Harrison. He’ll also play some piano solos. (7 p.m. Thu., Dakota Jazz Club, no cover.) Surowicz


Walter Trout’s latest album is his first ever set of covers: “Luther’s Blues,” honoring fiery guitar slinger Luther Allison. It even features a brief track where the blues legend, who played one of his last shows at the Minnesota Zoo, shares a bit of his philosophy from beyond the grave. So expect to hear some Allison favorites, along with originals from Trout’s 22 CDs and counting, at this weekend’s gig with his quartet the Radicals. (9 p.m. Fri., Famous Dave’s Uptown, $10.) Surowicz


New Orleans all-pros the Iguanas were supposed to have a new album out now, but fans will have to make do with “The Iguanas Live at Jazzfest 2012,” which features new versions of such trusty favorites as “Boom Boom Boom,” “Para Donde Vas” and “Oyé Isabel.” Or better yet, experience these guys in the dark and intimate confines of the downtown danceteria’s hip annex. (8 p.m. Tue., 7th Street Entry, $15.) Surowicz


In a long and fertile career in R&B and rock ’n’ roll, 76-year-old Andre Williams has piled up a Top 10 R&B hit (“Bacon Fat”); songs for Stevie Wonder, Funkadelic, and Ike & Tina Turner; a pair of countrified albums backed by the Sadies, and the salty 2007 documentary “Agile Mobile Hostile: A Year With Andre Williams.” This “black godfather” is a dogged survivor of lots of bad things, including more than a decade lost to drug addiction, homelessness, jail and the inevitable whims of the record business. L’Assassins open with their self-styled “post-apocalyptic vixen rock.” (9:30 p.m. Thu., Lee’s Liquor Lounge, $12.) Surowicz


If you’re one of the wise people who gets a jump on the Minnesota State Fair before the weekend crowds, you will be rewarded with a nice little lineup of free opening-day music Thursday. One of Texas’ purest country music purveyors, Dale Watson is a regular locally at Lee’s Liquor Lounge and a fair vet who just issued a new album, “El Rancho Azul,” via St. Paul’s Red House Records (3:30 & 4:45 p.m., Leinie’s Lodge Bandshell). He’s preceded by Louisiana dance favorites Chubby Carrier & the Bayou Swamp Band, part zydeco dance band and Fats Domino-style R&B (1 & 2:30 p.m., bandshell). The night’s bandshell headliner is another Texan, Sunny Sweeney, who opened for Blake Shelton at the grandstand last year and had the 2010 country hit “From a Table Away” (8:30 p.m.). For local acts, Lucy Michelle & the Velvet Lapelles offer whimsical folk-rock with a vintage, ukulele-laced flavor (7 p.m., Heritage Square), and the Roe Family Singers play front-porch-style country-folk akin to the Carter Family (10:30 & 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., Heritage Square). Riemenschneider


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