Hump Day Round-Up: Cowboy Jack Tribute at WMA, Calexico at Mercy Lounge, Graveyard at Exit/In, More

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As noted in this week's Edd Hurt-penned cover story on Cowboy Jack Clement, War Memorial Auditorium will host a star-studded tribute to the legendary songwriter and producer tonight, with appearances from The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach, Kris Kristofferson, Emmylou Harris, T Bone Burnett, Charley Pride and loads more (with rumors floating around in regard to some other very special big-name guests). But if ticket prices are a little steep for your taste, or if — for some reason — once-in-a-lifetime concerts aren't your cup of tea, you've got plenty more options on this fine Hump Day. Of course, Louis CK's appearance at TPAC has already sold out, but let's keep this little round-up music-oriented, shall we?

First up you have Arizonan indie outfit Calexico, who will be appearing alongside Bahamas tonight at Mercy Lounge. I wrote a Critic's Pick on that one — allow me to share it with you via the modern miracle known as "copy and paste":

Arizona’s Calexico has been making what many refer to as “desert noir” for going on two decades now. Indeed, when it comes to windswept, cinematic Western folk with lonesome characters and delicate arrangements that swirl like some desert cyclone, the outfit proves with last year’s full-length Algiers that they haven’t lost their touch. Calexico made headlines in 2011, when their “Slowness” was selected as a wake-up song for the crew of the space shuttle Endeavour by the ship’s commander, Mark Kelly. “Slowness,” from 2008’s Carried to Dust, is reportedly a favorite of Kelly’s wife, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, and its use as a wake-up call to the shuttle crew carried special meaning — Giffords recovering from her gunshot wound in the hospital, her husband floating through the infinite vacuum thousands of miles above. Hell of a selection too, because — like many of the tracks on Algiers — “Slowness” unfurls patiently and beautifully, its arrangement heavy with purpose. —D. PATRICK RODGERS

"Desert noir" ain't your cup either? That's fine. There's more.

Perhaps Swedish metal is more your speed? Graveyard will appear tonight at Exit/In with The Shrine, and resident grump Sean L. Maloney opined on that one for us. Here's how it goes:

Maybe it’s some subconscious response to the eminent oppression of national media and the stultifying nature of our soap opera reality, but we’ve been feeling the psychic pull of heavy music quite a bit lately. Maybe it’s because the element of sleaze that made this city endearing is quickly evaporating, only to be replaced by yuppie-fusion dingleberry boutiques and excruciatingly sanitized flatbread asshattery — whatever the reason, we’re craving scuzzy malignance. But for the sake of the city and that sweet, sweet tourism lucre, we’ll settle for a great midweek metal show. Pave the porn shops and jack shacks for all we care, as long as top-notch international acts like Sweden’s trad-metal behemoths Graveyard keep coming through town. Graveyard’s blues-fueled, acid-damaged Lights Out was one of 2012’s best albums, and this appearance is portent that 2013 may be more than just jokes about Deacon and tiny hands. —SEAN L. MALONEY

Maybe your tastes run a little more country? That's OK too. Austin's Carrie Rodriguez will be throwing down this evening at 3rd & Lindsley along with fellow songster Luke Jacobs, and the ever-capable Jewly Hight is all over that beat for us:

Whatever image the phrase “fiddle-playing singer-songwriter” brings to mind, it can’t possibly do justice to Carrie Rodriguez. Growing up in Austin with a singer-songwriter for a dad, she took in Texas folk before setting her course for classical violin training at Oberlin Conservatory. From there, she converted to fiddle and transferred to Berklee, got drafted into a duo with wizened songwriter Chip Taylor, and found her footing as a solo artist in the forward-thinking cosmopolitanism of Brooklyn, her adopted home. Not unlike her great-aunt, Eva Garza — a pre-rock culture-bridging Mexican recording artist — Rodriguez has taken the diverse ingredients at her disposal and fashioned a combination of exoticism and familiarity that really ignites a crowd. Her fifth solo album, the brand-new Give Me All You Got, is a heady blend of roots, emotionally amped-up narrative and indie-pop whimsy. —JEWLY HIGHT

Fancy a different breed of twang? All right. Bluegrass expert Jon Weisberger picked American Drive's show tonight at The Station Inn for us:

When bluegrass Hall-of-Famer J.D. Crowe decided to retire his New South at the end of 2012, it didn’t take the group’s members long to decide to carry on. Though they stumbled briefly in picking up a new banjo player — newcomer Josh Hymer arrived too late to participate in the group’s self-titled Rural Rhythm debut — it took no time at all to come up with a name, and the emphasis is surely on the word “drive.” Given how tightly knit and polished Dwight McCall (mandolin), Rickey Wasson (guitar), Matt DeSpain (dobro) and Kyle Perkins (bass) were with Crowe, there’s no reason to think they’d throw over the traces just for novelty’s sake, but the album shows they’ve nevertheless come up with some intriguing incremental changes. Nominally a fresh act, but in reality somewhat grizzled veterans, American Drive is a unique combination of old and new that deserves — and rewards — a good, close listen. —JON WEISBERGER

Still not satisfied? Fine. How about tonight's Music City Roots at Loveless? Or DJ times at The Stone Fox? Still not interested in seeing some live music? Fine then, I'm not sure I can do anything for you. Here are the rest of the listings — knock yourself out.

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