Funny how the same show that makes for crowded, rowdy nights at Lee's Liquor Lounge in December can also fare so well with children, minus a few blue tunes and about 5,000 pounds of booze. So it goes with Trailer Trash's "Trashy Little X-Mas Family Matinee." Kids easily recognize the cool appeal of a good honky-tonk beat and storytelling songs, even if they have no idea what jambalaya on the bayou or an Okie from Muskogee are. (Noon Sun., Cedar Cultural Center. $6-$12.) The second-to-last of the nighttime gigs is also this weekend. (9 p.m. Sat., Lee's Liquor Lounge, $12.) Riemenschneider

After fall tour dates with Freedy Johnston, soulful piano balladeer Alison Scott and her veteran band are home to celebrate the holidays in two of their favorite Twin Cities venues. Scott just issued a new song, "I'll Save Christmas (Till You Come Home)," to add to the warmth of her seasonal set. Her "urban" show will feature a grab bag of guests, including Desdamona, Chris Koza and her bandleader Kevin Bowe's own group. (8 p.m. Fri., Dakota Jazz Club. $12.) Her suburban gig will feature a toy, food and clothing drive via Rock the Cause, plus a pre-show meet-up. (7:30 p.m. Thu., Lyric Arts, 420 E. Main St., Anoka. $18-$22.) Chris Riemenschneider

It's a weekend of ethnic holiday celebrations at Orchestra Hall. On Friday, Minnesota Orchestra is joined by the Irish vocal ensemble Celtic Woman, which brings its unique song stylings, familiar from its PBS special, to beloved Christmas songs. (8 p.m. Fri., $25-$70.) "A Scandinavian Christmas," the orchestra's annual yuletide celebration, returns Saturday and Sunday. Some of Scandinavia's more beautiful Christmas songs are performed alongside seasonal selections by Sibelius and Grieg. Guests include the Swedish fiddle ensemble Äkta Spelmän, Twin Cities Girls Chorus, Minnesota Boychoir and Ethnic Dance Theatre. (2 p.m. Sat.-Sun., $22-$60 Sat., 612-371-5656 or William Randall Beard

The Petersons will be home for Christmas with Jeanne Arland Peterson, 90, the matriarch of Twin Cities jazz, who still works her magic on the piano. Three of her sons have been on tour of late: bassist Billy Peterson with Ben Sidran, keyboardist Ricky Peterson with Stevie Nicks and David Sanborn, and multi-instrumentalist/singer Paul Peterson with fDeluxe and Oleta Adams. Throw in vocalists Patty and Linda Peterson, grandson Jason Peterson DeLaire on saxophone and keyboards, and it'll be a joyous, jazzy affair. (4 & 7 p.m. Sun., Dakota Jazz Club, $23) Jon Bream

For three decades, the Sounds of Blackness have presented "The Night Before Christmas" from an African-American perspective. This adaptation includes Rudolph the rappin' reindeer, dancing chitlins and some original songs, heard on the Sounds' two holiday albums (1992 and 2004). The Grammy-winning choir has staged this musical everywhere from the Mall of America to the Apollo Theater in Harlem. But the Guthrie is where it started 33 years ago and where it belongs. (7:30 p.m. Mon., Guthrie, $17.50-$35.50.) Bream

After not selling bells at her annual touring holiday extravaganza for the past couple of years, Lorie Line is bringing them back -- and pulling 15 years of fabulous outfits out of the closet to remind the faithful of Christmases past. Her backup group has been trimmed to the Fab 5, but her husband and emcee, Tim Line, is still on board for some hoofin' and humor. (7:30 p.m. Wed.-next Fri., Orchestra Hall, $47.25.) Bream


Nearly 10 years have passed since Minneapolis drummer extraordinaire Martin Dosh started performing as his one-man, one-name act Dosh. In that time, his profile increased via Andrew Bird's band, and his own brand of rhythmic looping and electro-diced instrumentation has come way more into fashion (see: this year's indie stars Battles). But no one does it quite like him. For his annual year-end/homecoming gig, he will reunite with his pioneering instrumental band Lateduster, featuring James Everest (Roma di Luna), Bryan Olson and maybe late-arriving member Andrew Broder. All Tiny Creatures, from Madison, Wis., opens. (8 p.m. Fri., Cedar Cultural Center. $10-$12.) Riemenschneider

One of those adored indie-rock bands from the early-'00s that likely would've filled First Ave had 89.3 the Current been around then, Valet is getting back together for its first show in four years. Frontman Robin Kyle now plays rootsy acoustic gospel and folk music in Black Audience, but back then the Irish immigrant (and brother of Romantica's Ben Kyle) made for a terrific neo-twangy/fuzz-rock frontman, part Ben Gibbard and Jeff Tweedy with inspired blendings of politics, romance and death. Did we mention he's Irish? Expect songs from the albums "The Glamour Is Contagious" and "Life on the Installment Plan," both critical favorites. At least we had music critics back then. Story of the Sea and Magic Castles also perform. (10 p.m. Fri., Turf Club. $7.) Riemenschneider

James Leg made a big impression on the small audiences who attended the Deep Blues Festivals, which featured him with his roadhousey garage-rock band the Black Diamond Heavies, sort of an unlikely melding of the Black Keys and Deep Purple. Also known as John Wesley Myers and as a cohort of Scott H. Biram, Mr. Leg just issued a boisterous, hell-fiery solo album titled "Solitary Pleasure," which he's promoting with a two-night stand at Deep Blues promoter Chris Johnson's smoking barbecue joint. (9 p.m. Fri. & Sat., Bayport BBQ, 328 5th Av. N., Bayport. $15.) Riemenschneider

Two of the Twin Cities' lushest and most elegant rock bands, the Twilight Hours and Rogue Valley, wrap up the year at the same place where Rogue Valley hosted a memorable release party in April for "False Floors," the last of its seasonal four-album cycle. Those wintry songs should sound especially warm this time of the year, when bandleader Chris Koza wrote them. Twilight Hours co-founders Matt Wilson and John Munson (both ex-Trip Shakespeare) usually have a season-appropriate tune or two up their sleeves, too, but for many fans their stuff always has the cozy feeling of home. (8 p.m. Wed., Varsity Theater. $15.) Riemenschneider

Grant Hart's usual holiday-week gig in the Entry wraps up a hellacious year for the Hüsker Dü vet, in which he suffered a house fire and then the loss of his mother. But it was also quite an active year musically, including lots of touring and the continued recording of a concept album based on "Paradise Lost" with producer Mike Wisti. No surprise, Wisti's Rank Strangers open. (9 p.m. Thu., 7th Street Entry. $5.) Riemenschneider


Long before Doomtree, there were Heiruspecs and Kanser, two groups of neighborhood pals from different sides of the river who helped make the Twin Cities hip-hop scene more about performance than records. Each has only gotten better as a live act over the years. Kanser more or less morphed into More Than Lights, a full live band with the kind of stop-on-a-dime groove that Heiruspecs always had, but with the wry lyrical talents of lead mouthpieces Zach Combs and Harry Philibert. Combs is also now the author of a new book on local hip-hop history. Rightfully, the book rates Heiruspecs' Felix as one of the scene's best MCs ever, and he and his high school buds are promising some new songs and reworked jams for this show, which features Muja Messiah, as well. (9:30 p.m. Sat., Cabooze. $8-$12.) Tom Surowicz


After rejecting about a dozen lousy names, Al's Rockabilly Quartet finally settled on a fresh handle -- the Bad Companions -- and it has a new CD to unleash on the public. Produced by Chris Strouth, "What, Me Worry?" is a lively platter, a bit frantic in places, powered by Scott "Frenchy" Fremont's explosive drumming and Alan Subola's witty songwriting. Highlights include the hilarious and too-true anthem "I Liked Hank Before You Did," about rockers crassly jumping on the faux-country bandwagon. The Reckless Ones open. (9:30 p.m. Sat., Memory Lanes. No cover.) Surowicz

Known for performance art, Patrick's Cabaret seems an unlikely venue for the "Schlitz Kickin' Outlaw Country Holiday Spectacular." But we sure like the double bill of the acoustic Huckleberries (featuring members of Chooglin') and pick-to-click new artists the Cactus Blossoms. Offering terrific sibling country harmonies, the duo blossoms into a full-fledged honky-tonk band on their self-titled debut CD, and in concert, with veteran backing by fiddler Razz Russell, bassist Liz Draper and steel guitarist Randy Broughten. Your $5 cover (with a canned food item) supports Little Kitchen Food Shelf and St. Stephen's Human Services. (8 p.m. Sat., Patrick's Cabaret.) Surowicz

The group Swing Bang is fairly new, but the members -- Randy Anderson, Mike Sandell, Paul and Glen Manske -- are familiar from such ensembles as Raggs, Sterling and the Boogiemen. You may have caught them backing rockabilly legend Wanda Jackson at the Minnesota Zoo. (3 p.m. Sun., Minnesota Music Cafe. No cover.) Surowicz


Carl Maria von Weber's Concert Piece in F Minor for Piano and Orchestra has fallen into neglect. But it used to be heard with considerable frequency: Both Liszt (who tampered with it) and Mendelssohn (who didn't) were fond of the work. So, evidently, is pianist and director Christian Zacharias, who revives it on this weekend's generous St. Paul Chamber Orchestra program. (One suspects his approach will be closer to Mendelssohn's than Liszt's.) Also on tap: Stravinsky's "Danses concertantes" and two Haydn symphonies: the sunny No. 42 and the percussion-rich "Military," with its pop-tune finale. (8 p.m. Fri., Wayzata Community Church, 125 E. Wayzata Blvd., Wayzata; 8 p.m. Sat., St. Paul's United Church of Christ, 900 Summit Av., St. Paul; 2 p.m. Sun., Ted Mann Concert Hall, 2128 S. 4th St. S., Mpls. $5-$25. 651-291-1144 or Larry Fuchsberg


Jazz, blues, R&B -- the Twin Cities queen of clubs, Debbie Duncan, sings it all with aplomb. She'll be back in St. Paul's most swinging basement this weekend, perhaps serenading "Santa Baby" with some selections from her 1995 holiday release, "It Must Be Christmas." "O Holy Night" probably won't be on her set list, but "I Love the Winter Weather" isn't a bad bet. (9 p.m. Fri.-Sat., Artists' Quarter, $10.) Surowicz