MARY GAUTHIER

Thursday: The stately, multi-story James J. Hill Reference Library atrium in downtown St. Paul is a perfect setting in which to hear the haunting sounds of Gauthier, the best alt-country songwriter you’ve never heard of. She writes with the grit and honesty of Merle Haggard and the literate darkness of Townes Van Zandt. Her voice has the Louisiana drawl of Lucinda Williams but with more range and musicality. Gauthier will be appearing at the très cool monthly Real-Phonic Radio Hour, which will also feature Dave Simonett, of Trampled by Turtles and Dead Man Winter, in a rare solo performance. Of course, there’s the most excellent house band led by the underappreciated Eric Koskinen, Minnesota’s best country writer/singer. (8 p.m. Thu. $10-$20; half-off discount with food donation. James J. Hill Reference Library, 80 W. 4th St., St. Paul. www.realphonic.com.)