Thursday, Nov. 30

1. Luke Grimes: Like his fellow "Yellowstone" actor Kevin Costner, Grimes likes to dabble in music. Before he became known for appearing in "American Sniper" and the "Fifty Shades of Grey" movie trilogy, he played in an alt-country band in the '00s. His just issued EP, "Pain Pills or Pews," clearly falls in the Americana with a gruff voice category. For the new project, the Ohio native cowrote with some top Nashville tunesmiths, including Jon Randall and Tony Lane, and turned to Dave Cobb, producer of Chris Stapleton, Jason Isbell and Sturgill Simpson. Whether out of celebrity or credibility, Grimes performed at California's Stagecoach festival this year, and he'll return there in 2024. Curiosity gig of the week. (8 p.m. First Avenue, 701 1st Ave. N., Mpls., $30-$35,

Also: From "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" to "Ho Ho Ho," '90s hitmakers Crash Test Dummies are touring around the holidays playing their 2002 album "Jingle All the Way" along with some usual fare (7:30 p.m. Parkway Theater, $59-$79); after touring as a duo supporting the Paper Kits in recent weeks, country-pop siblings the Cactus Blossoms are reuniting with their band for two supper-club gigs in one night (6:30 and 8:30 p.m. the Dakota, $30-$35); Midwest piano maven Lorie Line's annual holiday spectacle, featuring operatic tenor Jimmy Finch, treks through Minnesota (7 p.m. Thu. Winona, 7 p.m. Fri. New Ulm, 3 p.m. Sat. Ames Center, Burnsville, 3 p.m. Sun. Sheldon Theatre, Red Wing; 7 p.m. Mon. St. Peter, 7 p.m. Tue. Austin, 7 p.m. Wed. Duluth, $60-$65); Holiday Sugar, Spice and Everything Nice! is how three stellar Twin Cities vocalists, Ginger Commodore, Judi Vinar and Connie Evingson, want to celebrate the season (7 p.m. Crooners, $30-$40); Twin Cities crooner and Bing Crosby scholar Arne Fogel offers A Crosby Holiday (8 p.m. Dunsmore Room at Crooners, $25-$35); see some of the Duluth scene's rising rockers with the Gemstones, Delitist and Emma Jeane (8 p.m. Palmer's Bar, $10).

Friday, Dec. 1

2. The New Standards: This loungey Twin Cities trio has set, um, a new standard for holiday shows. You can count on a parade of guests, snazzy arrangements, witty repartee between Chan Poling and John Munson, great vibes from Steve Roehm, stylish suits worn by all three, precious few Yule songs but lots of rewarding music, and the Trip Shakespeare classic "Snow Days." Per tradition, the New Standards have not announced guests for their 16th annual Holiday Show. (8 p.m. Fri. & Sat. & 4 p.m. Sat. State Theatre, 805 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls., $55-$135,

3. Barbaro: Started as a fun and fairly traditional, bluegrass-heavy guitar and banjo duo, the Twin Cities-based string band has evolved into an elegant and experimental roots music group on its second full-length album, "About the Winter," which just arrived on New York's StorySound Records (Loudon Wainwright III, yMusic). Produced by Bon Iver collaborator Brian Joseph, the record finds fiddler Rachel Calvert joining frontman Kyle Shelstad more on vocals while the group's classical and jazz training comes out in beautiful ways. Twangy balladeer Laamar opens what should be a warm release party. (8 p.m. Cedar Cultural Center, 416 Cedar Av. S., Mpls., all ages, $18-$23,

Also: After nearly stealing the show from Alice in Chains at the State Fair last year, Gavin Rossdale's "Glycerine"-hotmaking band Bush is back out touting a new greatest hits album ahead of next year's 30th anniversary (8 p.m. Treasure Island Casino, $59-$99); Sweden's queen of swing Gunhild Carling, who has built a U.S. following thanks to appearing on "America's Got Talent" and performing with Postmodern Jukebox, returns (7 p.m. the Dakota, $40-$50).

Saturday, Dec. 2

4. Sunny War: The Nashville-born and now based singer/songwriter has described herself as a former teenage gutter punk. Now in her early 30s, the ex-busker from Venice Beach, Calif., has developed into an intriguing Americana performer, with finger-picking guitar chops influenced by Elizabeth Cotton and Chet Atkins and penetrating self-penned songs about romance and social issues. She's touring behind her fourth and most musically ambitious album "Anarchist Gospel," which embraces folk, gospel, rock, country blues and some curious experimentation. (8 p.m. Hopkins Center for the Arts, 1111 Mainstreet, Hopkins, $27-$32,

5. Pert Near Sandstone: Hosting western Wisconsin's famously familial Blue Ox Music Festival over the past decade seems to have added to the playful mix of influences and brotherly camaraderie in this frontman-less bluegrass-fueled Americana quartet, as evidenced by the spirited sounds on its new album, "Waiting Days." Songs like "All Waves Break" and the winterized title track are laced with post-pandemic hope and a raw elegance aided by producer Ryan Young of Trampled by Turtles. The fellas are bringing their summery warmth indoors to celebrate their release with Them Coulee Boys and Humbird. (8:30 p.m. First Avenue, $23,

6. A Tribute to the Replacements: Back for the first time since 2019, this once-annual, multi-stage tribute to Minnesota's most famously almost-famous band carries a little extra momentum this year with the excitement around the sonically remade reissue of the band's 1985 album "Tim." Longtime show leaders the Melismatics — featuring modern-day Soul Asylum guitarist Ryan Smith — will anchor a rotating, women-dominated cast of singers through that record and more as the main attraction. Jim Walsh's Mad Ripple Hoot for Slim will again honor late-era 'Mats guitarist Bob Dunlap and his underrated solo work to kick off the show, while a bunch of younger music makers will perform intermittently to underline the timelessness of songs recorded long before they were born, including Loki's Folly, Pullstring, Ava Levy, and Bathtub Cig's Hilary James. (7:30 p.m. Turf Club, 1601 University Av. W., St. Paul, $22-$25,

Also: Although her 1991 hit "Get Here" became about the Gulf War, Oleta Adams' signature song resonates anew when any troops are stationed abroad plus the jazzy R&B singer has a new album, "Circle of One" (7 p.m. the Dakota, $75-$85); veteran Twin Cities blues-rocker Deb Brown celebrates her new CD "Christmas Memories" (6:30 p.m. Crooners, $20-$30); it's Claudfest, commemorating Claudia Schmidt's 50 years as a noteworthy singer/songwriter with 22 albums, including some for St. Paul's Red House Records (7 p.m. Gingko Coffeehouse, $25);the Twin Cities' cult-loved, McKnight Award-winning Balkan party band Orkestar Bez Ime is celebrating its 21st anniversary with kindred openers and fellow Easter European ambassadors the Ukraine Village Band (8 p.m. Cedar Cultural Center, $16-$21); Twin Cities honky-tonk heroes Trailer Trash break out the Jinglestick for the second stop on their popular Trashy Little Xmas tour of local venues (8 p.m. Parkway Theater, $30-$40); '70s-throwback Los Angeles rock band Dirty Honey stops in on its Can't Find the Brakes Tour (7:45 p.m. Uptown Theater, $28-$50); British bedroom-pop star the Japanese House, aka Amber Bain, is touring for her second album "In the End It Always Does" (8:30 p.m. Fine Line, $25-$45); Deep Blues Fest regulars Left Lane Cruiser are back with Fret Rattles (8 p.m. Hook & Ladder, $15-$20); psychedelic rockers Muun Bato make their debut at the new Cloudland Theater (8 p.m., $15).

Sunday, Dec. 3

7. Heartless Bastards: After relocating to Austin, Texas, and remaking her scrappy Cincinnati garage-rock group in the late-2000s, grade-A rock howler Erika Wennerstrom has churned out a series of more dramatic and at times cosmic albums rife with Zeppelin, Heart and twangy influences. She and the band are taking something of a victory lap at year's end after a run of festival dates, the 10th anniversary reissue of their best record, "Arrow," and further rumination on their lovely, pandemic-issued LP "A Beautiful Life." Rootsy Maryland picker Laney Jones opens. (8 p.m. Turf Club, 1601 University Av. W., St. Paul, $25,

8. NRBQ: Pianist/co-vocalist Terry Adams is the only original member left in this highly influential roadhouse-boogie band from Kentucky, but he's been playing with the same remade lineup for more than a decade and has won over many a finicky fan with it. The original New Rhythm and Blues Quartet was a favorite of R.E.M., Bonnie Raitt and Elvis Costello, and alt-country and jam bands everywhere are still regularly covering their '70s/'80s classics, including "Me and the Boys," "I Want You Bad" and "Ridin' in My Car." (7:30 p.m. Parkway Theater, 4814 Chicago Av. S., Mpls., $35-$55,

9. The Singers: This outstanding Twin Cities chamber choir asked all who visited their website to name their favorite Christmas carol. After tabulating more than 350 votes, they'll sing arrangements of the top eight at these concerts, which also will feature seasonal works by contemporary composers. Matthew Culloton conducts, while harpist Min Kim will be the lone instrumentalist. (3 p.m. Westwood Lutheran Church, 9001 Cedar Lake Road, St. Louis Park; 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9, Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, 4801 France Av. S., Mpls.; 2 p.m. Dec. 10, Nativity of Our Lord Catholic Church, 1938 Stanford Av., St. Paul, $35,

Also: T. Mychael Rambo, the St. Paul actor/singer with a big booming voice and a big heart, headlines Hands & Hearts for the Arts, a fundraiser for artists in need, specifically Regina Marie Williams; other performers include Ginger Commodore, Thomasina Petrus and Kennadi Hurst (7 p.m. the Dakota, $20-$30 or $10 livestream).

Monday, Dec. 4

Gwen Matthews & Robert Robinson, two of the Twin Cities most heavenly voices, offer A Joyful Night of Christmas (7:30 p.m. Crooners, $35-$45); Travis Anderson Trio, the jazz combo that's been entertaining Twin Cities audiences for 15 years, delivers its interpretations of Vince Guaraldi's music from "A Charlie Brown Christmas" (7 p.m. the Dakota, $15-$20); jazz guitar ace Zacc Harris is curating Icehouse's Monday series in December starting with Aby Wolf's Splaktet and his trio Baldwin/Harris/Hennig (8 p.m., $16).

Tuesday, Dec. 5

10. Jake Shimabukuro: After first gaining attention for his 2006 YouTube clip of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," the ukulele virtuoso has not only become big in Japan and Hawaii but he's popular with other musicians. He has opened for and sat in with Bela Fleck & the Flecktones. His 2021 album "Jake & Friends" featured Bette Midler, Lyle Lovett, Michael McDonald, Warren Haynes and others. Whether he's playing blues, rock, jazz, country, folk, flamenco or Hawaiian music, Shimabukuro dazzles with his four-string mastery. His new album, "Grateful," is not a tribute to the Dead but to his fellow Hawaiian musicians including Henry Kapono, Brother Noland and Justin Kawika Young, who is his opening act in Minneapolis. (7 p.m. the Dakota, 1010 Nicollet Mall, Mpls, $55-$65,

Also: Phil Heywood & Tim Sparks, a duo of distinguished Twin Cities guitarists, present A Blue Christmas (6:30 Crooners, $25-$30); workhorse pickers Monroe Crossing are also hosting their Bluegrass Christmas concert at Crooners (7:30 p.m., $30-$40); the winter months are always a great time to take in the warm vibes at the International Reggae All-Stars' weekly gig (9:30 p.m. Bunkers, $10).

Wednesday, Dec. 6

St. Paul soul man Nicholas David, he of NBC's "The Voice" fame, offers his 10th annual St. Nick's Day show (7 p.m. the Dakota, $35-$40); acoustic guitar maestro Pat Donahue hosts the Prairie All-Stars Christmas Show with other music vets from "A Prairie Home Companion" (7:30 p.m. Crooners, $30-$40).