The Jayhawks: Minneapolis’ Americana/twang-rock darlings don’t need an excuse to play First Ave gigs around the holidays, a tradition that dates back to their hard-touring days of the early-’90s. But they have a very good reason to do so this year in the form of “Back Roads and Abandoned Motels,” an excellent new album for Sony Legacy Records that spotlights Gary Louris’ songwriting work outside the band while also showcasing the vocal talents of keyboardist Karen Grotberg and drummer Tim O’Reagan. Chastity Brown opens Friday, and Thomas Abban plays Saturday. (8 p.m. Fri., First Avenue, 701 1st Av., Mpls., $35, first-avenue.com.)

Katie McMahon: The crystal voiced “Riverdance” alum’s annual Celtic Christmas concert falls on the winter solstice. To celebrate the longest night (and shortest day) as well as the holidays, the Irish transplant will be joined by the Corda Mor Irish Dancers and Orkestar Bez Ime with their Balkan sounds as well as singers Tim Jay, Erik Pratt and Jenny Russ. (7:30 p.m. Fri., the O’Shaughnessy, St. Catherine University, St. Paul, $28, theoshaughnessy.com, 651-690-6700)

Nicholas David: The Upper Midwest is again paying careful attention to NBC’s “The Voice” because of the impressive run to the finals by Chris Kroeze of Barron, Wis. Don’t forget about St. Paul’s own “Voice” finalist, soul man Nicholas David, who brings his annual St. Nick celebration to the Dakota, with a special guest, Twin Cities soul-baring vocalist Joyann Parker, who just released her blue Yule original, “Silent Night.” (7 & 9 p.m. Fri. the Dakota, $30-$45)

Trailer Trash: Nate Dungan and his happy honky tonkers have been nearly everywhere this season with their 25th annual Trashy Little Xmas Show. Mankato, Rochester, Northfield and, of course, the Twin Cities. They wrap up this dance-happy present with two sold-out shows but maybe you can get in if you wait in line for somebody to exit. (8:30 p.m. Fri. Turf Club, St. Paul, & Sat. Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Mpls., $25)

Ryan Anhorn Benefit: Helping out a fellow musician and Bauhaus brewery staffer who’s still reeling from a bad motorcycle accident, members of the locally beloved mid-’00s pop-rock White Light Riot are staging a rare reunion set featuring their “Atomism” album played in full. Their offshoot cover band Viva Knievel, the 4onthefloor and Al Church will also perform. (7:45 p.m. Fri., Varsity Theater, $20.)

Heiruspecs Holiday Classic: One of them works for the mayor now. Another is a Current jockey and trivia-night kingpin. The bandmates from St. Paul Central High — who pioneered live hip-hop locally in the early-’00s and still write some mean tunes — always find time in their busy schedules for this familial year-end throwdown. Cosmic R&B singer Lady Midnight opens. (8:30 p.m. Sat., Turf Club, $12-$15.)

The BoDeans: Kurt Neumann and Wisconsin’s finest invariably hit the road in the Upper Midwest during the holiday season. Madison, Eau Claire, Milwaukee and Evanston, Ill. are on the itinerary and so, too, is Minneapolis. It’s the Dakota once again for some cheesehead-style Americana. (7 & 9 p.m. Sat.-Sun. Dakota, $40-$65, dakotacooks.com)

Sounds of Blackness: It’s hard to believe that this is the 40th anniversary production of “The Night Before Christmas — A Musical Fantasy” by the always fresh Grammy-winning choir. Director Gary Hines invariably finds stirring new voices to join some Sounds veterans to play dancin’ chitlins, singin’ stockings and rappin’ Rudolph in this African-American adaptation of the Clement Moore poem. The songs account for one of the most impressive album of holiday originals (1992) made by a Twin Cities artist. (8 p.m. Sat. Pantages, $28.50-$58.50, ticketmaster.com)

Deck the Ave: She’s been ubiquitous as Lizzo’s DJ and backup vocalist, a former member of Grrrl Prty and the Chalice and an on-air personality at Go 95.3, and now Sophia Eris is finally getting around to making her own record. She’s been working in the studio with producers Lazerbeak and Bionik for a record due next year, newly previewed online via the wild-eyed digital single “Who’s Got the Boom?” She’ll offer the first live fix of the material, and do some DJ-ing, too, at this seasonal dance party hosted by DJ Advance, with the New Black City dance crew and Wiz Khalifa cohort Bonics. (10 p.m. Sun., First Avenue, 701 1st Av. N., Mpls., $10-$15, first-avenue.com.)

The Bad Plus: The beloved Twin Cities-launched jazz trio is offering a holiday gift for its annual late-December engagement at the Dakota: new pianist Orrin Evans. He joined at the beginning of 2018, played on the new album “Never Stop II” and just earned a Grammy nomination for his other group, the Captain Black big band. The Bad Plus will focus on its new album but also explore earlier material written by bassist Reid Anderson and drummer Dave King. (7 & 9 p.m. Tue.-Fri. the Dakota, Mpls, $40-$45, dakotacooks.com)

Run Westy Run: It’s not really a holiday show, but this fifth annual Christmas Day gig in the Entry is stuffed with familial vibes. Brothers Kirk and Kraig Johnson, who flirted with indie-rock fame with the Westies in the late ’80s and ’90s, come together in the spirit of the season and now use the gig to also pay tribute to their late brother/bandmate Kyle. They added a second night at the Turf for good measure. Opening band Sapphire is a teen electro-pop duo featuring Adam Levy’s daughter Ava Levy. (8 p.m. Tue., 7th Street Entry; and 8 p.m. Wed., Turf Club, $20-$25.)

Remembering Grant Hart: Sixteen months since his passing from liver cancer, the late Twin Cities rock legend will be memorialized at year’s end with a free, low-key gathering featuring a few of the many musicians who performed and recorded with him after his Hüsker Dü days, including the Rank Strangers, Tim Piotrowski, Todd Newman and Dylan Ritchie. (9 p.m. Thu., Driftwood Char-Bar, 4415 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls., free.)

All Tomorrow’s Petty: The whenever-it-feels-right, whoever-is-available all-star local band that plays all Tom Petty tunes — going back years before his death — is wrapping up its monthlong residency with Lucy Michelle’s Little Fevers as the opening band and a cast that usually includes core players JT Bates, James Diers, Jacob Hanson and Rob Skoro. (8 p.m. Thu., Turf Club, $12-$15.)