There’s an extra special reason to see the Sounds of Blackness annual production of “The Night Before Christmas — A Musical Fantasy.” And it’s not because the show, Clement Moore’s classic from an African-American perspective, has moved to the Fitzgerald Theater. The big wow is that Jevetta Steele, the internationally known singer, is taking the role of Mama. David Hurst plays Santa; Carrie Harrington leads the reindeer (and is the choreographer), and Terry Fierson reprises Rappin’ Rudolph once again. (8 p.m. Sat., Fitzgerald, $20-$40.) Jon Bream


It might seem odd for brothers to celebrate an anniversary, but Ian and Teague Alexy had their own musical pursuits going when they formed the Hobo Nephews of Uncle Frank a decade ago, and their duo act has evolved and expanded like a true band since then. The poetic, rambling-minded Duluth area roots-music pickers frequently evoke Dylan and the Band but also have a bluesy and more old-school folk side. Trampled by Turtles fiddler Ryan Young produced their latest album, “American Shuffle,” and will back their two-city 10th anniversary run with drummer Paul Grill. Luke Warm & the Cool Hands and Molly Dean open the Twin Cities gig. (9 p.m. Fri., Turf Club, $10; 7 p.m. Sat., Sacred Heart Music Center, Duluth, $10-$15.) Chris Riemenschneider

In recent years, Amy Grant has done holiday tours with her husband, country star Vince Gill. This season she’s teaming up with Christian music stalwart Michael W. Smith, who has been a perennial Christmas performer in the Twin Cities. He’ll be showcasing material from his 2014 holiday collection, “The Spirit of Christmas,” which featured such guests as Grant, Gill, Carrie Underwood, Bono, Lady Antebellum, Jennifer Nettles and Michael McDonald. Grant got her start in contemporary Christian music, a field in which Smith has ruled, with 45 Dove Awards. She has 22. (7 p.m. Sat., Target Center, $32-$77.) Bream

The western suburbs were his home when Michael Johnson lived in the Twin Cities area back in the ’70s and ’80s. So after 20-some holiday-season shows at the Guthrie, Orchestra Hall and the Dakota Jazz Club, he has landed in the western ’burbs, namely Hopkins for the holidays. The veteran singer, who moved back to the Twin Cities area a few years ago, still possesses a warm voice, a quick sense of humor and underappreciated acoustic guitar skills. His repertoire will include such old favorites as “Bluer Than Blue” and “Give Me Wings,” as well as tunes from his commendable 2012 comeback, “Moonlit Deja Vu.” (8 p.m. Sat., Hopkins Center for the Arts, $26.) Bream

The best Anglophile cover band in the Twin Cities also now has one of the most spirited shows of the season: The Kinda Kinky & Friends Holiday Shindig V will offer up the usual deep stocking full of Kinks favorites and rarities — from “Lola” and “Victoria” to “David Watts” and, of course, “Father Christmas” — into one night with a lengthy lineup of musical guests to match. They include: Curtiss A, Jim Ruiz, Brian Tighe and Allison LaBonne of the Starfolk, Gini Dodds, Cindy Lawson and Billy Batson. (7:30 p.m.-midnight Sat., Minneapolis Eagles Club #34, $10 or $5 with food-drive items.) Riemenschneider

Joy to the world? Johnny Solomon and Molly Moore of beloved Twin Cities pop/rock band Communist Daughter are being straight-up honest with their fans and promising instead to “Sing Sad Christmas Songs,” the title of their holiday concert and a new five-song acoustic digital EP. The harmonious couple recorded downcast but sweetly sung covers of such songs as the Pogues’ “Fairytale of New York,” Joni Mitchell’s “River” and British pop group Boy Least Likely To’s “Blue Spruce Needles.” They’ll play some of their nonseasonal sad songs at the show, too. (7:30 p.m. Sun., Southern Theater, 1420 Washington Av. S., Mpls., $12.) Riemenschneider

Struggling to heal after a bad car accident, Deerhunter frontman Bradford Cox helmed his Atlanta-reared psychedelic indie-rock quartet band’s most clearheaded and accessible record yet, “Fading Frontier.” The 4AD release offers hints of France electro-pop darlings Phoenix’s warm, groovy vibes and even a little of Roxy Music’s moody touch without forsaking the band’s wilder, acidic roots. Cox will also open the show under his solo moniker Atlas Sound. (8 p.m. Mon., First Avenue, $20.) Riemenschneider



Mixed Blood Majority started in 2012 as not one but two projects featuring producer/beatmaker Lazerbeak of Doomtree working individually with each of the group’s powerhouse MCs, Crescent Moon (Kill the Vultures, Oddjobs) and Joe Horton (No Bird Sing). The Twin Cities trio’s newly issued second album, “Insane World,” shows the two rappers uniquely working as one. They share the same bleary-eyed, clenched-teeth vision of social injustice and racism over innovative but classically boom-bappy production. “This whole city is a crime scene,” the opening title track declares, an intense start to a record that never really lightens up lyrically. But it does boast a lot of fun, visceral musical moments. Their release party guarantees ample good times with P.O.S. headlining and Grrrl Prty opening, the latter of which will welcome back Lizzo from her “Late Show With Stephen Colbert” appearance the previous night. (9 p.m. Fri., First Avenue, $16.) Riemenschneider

Hard to believe it has been 30 years since Slick Rick minted the template for rapping over human beatboxing with Doug E. Fresh on the classic “La Di Da Di.” Three years later, Rick’s “Children’s Story” broke new ground as an engrossing extended rap narrative. In 1999, “The Art of Storytelling” was a fabulous comeback with guest stars that included Nas and Outkast. Smooth and playful (albeit occasionally misogynistic), the dude with the eyepatch and the English accent is a throwback hip-hop artist of the first rank. (9 p.m. Fri., Amsterdam Bar and Hall, $20-$25.) Britt Robson

– and often quite fun – method of blending American Indian issues and influences with modern hip-hop sounds and classic braggadocio on his new album, “Warrior DNA,” featuring wiry production by Nates Beats. Also a mentor at Little Earth of United Tribes, he has been nominated in the Native American Music Awards and is as likely to be seen at tribal events as in local clubs. His release party is a surefire club event with guests including Kinfamous, Book Money and Sonny Boy. (10 p.m. Sat., Red Sea, 320 Cedar Av. S., Mpls., $10.) Riemenschneider

Although his local appearance at Soundset in May fizzled a bit, Vince Staples showed off his fiery side when his debut album for Def Jam, “Summertime ’06,” landed in June. The wordy, conversational-style Southern California rapper picked up some of the wild, spacey production of his Odd Future cohorts and Chance the Rapper but used it to reflect the chaos of his troubled youth and ongoing issues from his Long Beach neighborhood, putting him more on the level of Kendrick Lamar. He’s paired with promising south Minneapolis rapper Finding Nayvon. (7 p.m. Sun., Fine Line, all ages, $20.) Riemenschneider



Granted, there are times when the soothing notes from the solo piano of George Winston flirt with massage Muzak. But in a holiday season where traditions can bring on as much stress as joy, Winston’s unpretentious flow in an acoustically pristine venue feels mighty enticing. And while the quieter material on “December” or “Forest” gets most of the attention, expect some New Orleans-style stride and boogie-woogie, a little “Peanuts”-inflected Vince Guaraldi music and selections from Winston’s upcoming album, “Spring Carousel — A Cancer Research Benefit.” (7:30 Thu., Orchestra Hall, $30-$60.) Robson



It’s fitting that Marcia Ball was born near the Louisiana-Texas border, because her music navigates the fine distinctions in the hues of blues from New Orleans and Austin, while doing justice to both. Her latest disc, “The Tattooed Lady and the Alligator Man,” once again finds the pianist-vocalist inhabiting the role of native daughter to Crescent City syncopation and Lone Star sass. It’s a menu that is rarely altered, but few performers can proffer such a reliably good time. (6 p.m. Sun., Dakota, $40.) Robson



Katie McMahon has staged her Celtic Christmas show at St. Kate’s for a decade now, a weaving of dancing and stories amid the caroling that McMahon, who got her big break with Riverdance, is ideally suited to enact. The good news this year is an expansion on the formula, not only with new material from other parts of Europe, but the inclusion of master mandolinist and fiddler Peter Ostroushko, who will toss a few Ukrainian carols into the mix. (7:30 Fri., the O’Shaughnessy, $8-$26.) Robson



Glenn Miller meets the Nativity story. It’s a reasonable description of what happens musically in Swedish composer Nils Lindberg’s “A Christmas Cantata,” which cloaks gospel texts and familiar carol tunes with the swinging sound of big band orchestration, including a phalanx of trumpets, trombones and saxophones. VocalEssence, the group that gave the work its resounding U.S. premiere a decade ago, takes the singing parts under conductor Philip Brunelle. The group’s annual Welcome Christmas program also sports the first performances of two pieces for choir and trumpet, winners of VocalEssence’s annual carol contest. (8 p.m. Fri., St. Bartholomew Catholic Faith Community, Wayzata; 8 p.m. Sat., Roseville Lutheran Church, Roseville; 4 p.m. Sun., Plymouth Congregational Church, Mpls. $10-$40. 612-371-5656, Terry Blain

The Singers just made their third trip to the prestigious Ravinia Festival north of Chicago. The Twin Cities choir brings back What Sweeter Music, the program it presented there, for two preholiday airings. The music has a strong seasonal flavoring, Poulenc’s Four Motets and selections from Rachmaninoff’s Vespers providing the bedrock, with pieces by Willan and Warlock. Carols and spirituals are also in the mix, in arrangements by Singers artistic director Matthew Culloton. (7:30 p.m. Sat., St. Olaf Catholic Church, Mpls.; 2 p.m. Sun., Nativity of Our Lord Catholic Church, St. Paul. $21-$33. Blain