Alt-country goddess Lucinda Williams returns to town just seven months after her last local appearance, this time in an acoustic duo performance whose other half is Doug Pettibone, who has played sideman to the likes of Mark Knopfler, Tracy Chapman and Jewel. Not that it really matters. Williams, who has a reputation as a fervent perfectionist, and whose regular backing band is flawless, surely chose her collaborator for such a setting wisely. Expect good things when she settles into the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St., tonight. Tim Easton warms things up at 8 p.m. sharp. Tickets for this all-ages show run $35 and $30. For more information, call 740-1000.
Guitar-heads will revel in the opportunity to catch Eric Johnson, the rare guitarist's guitarist who doesn't bother "shredding" to demonstrate his chops, in the intimate confines of Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. The Grammy Award winner takes the stage at 7 p.m. Admission is $22 and $20. For further details, call 622-8848.
With proceeds earmarked to benefit the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation, Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., hosts Bohemian Plush: A Tribute to Queen, another in its series of tribute shows. Those local acts set to pay homage to Freddie Mercury and company are The Beta Sweat, Lagoon, Love Mound, Seven to Blue (whose architect, Sergio Mendoza, claims Queen as his favorite band of all time), Leila Lopez and Andrew Collberg. Attendees will have the chance to win tickets to see the reformed Queen (with Paul Rodgers standing in for the irreplaceable Freddie) in Phoenix the following night (courtesy of sponsor KLPX), and complete Queen CD catalogs (courtesy of sponsor Zia Records). Things get underway at 8:30 p.m., and cover is a $6 donation. Questions? Ring 'em up at 798-1298.
If you haven't picked up tickets yet, do so posthaste, as the show is expected to sell out.
Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins headline this extremely early all-ages show on Friday, March 31 at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Whispertown 2000 and Michael Runion open at 5 p.m. Advance tickets are $10, available at the Rialto Theatre box office or online at hotelcongress.com; they'll be $12 at the door if any remain. Call 622-8848 for more information.
Those of drinking age would be well advised to stick around afterwards, as the late show in the same room will feature a rare outing from the ever-excellent Fourkiller Flats; the newly revived Little Sisters of the Poor, whose members include David Slutes and Gene Ruley; and Phoenix's Lonna Kelly. That one gets underway at 9 p.m., with a $5 cover.
Fronted by virtuosic multi-instrumentalist Seamus Egan, Solas performs traditional Irish music that incorporates nontraditional instruments such as the banjo, guitar and cello. The group, which the Boston Herald once called "the best Irish traditional band in the world," is touring in support of its latest album, 2005's Waiting for an Echo (Shanachie). They'll be at the Berger Performing Arts Center, 1200 W. Speedway Blvd., at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 2. Advance tickets are available for $22 at Antigone Books, CD City and Enchanted Earthworks, or online at rhythmandroots.org. They'll be $25 at the door.
A caveat to those who aren't regular listeners of A Prairie Home Companion: Don't expect any painfully unfunny, off-the-cuff "comedic" ramblings if you head out to see Robin and Linda Williams and Their Fine Group. (Well, to be fair, I've never seen them perform, so maybe you'll get some of that, too. Just don't expect to see the guy who starred in Patch Adams. And to further confuse things, the actor/comedian to whom I'm referring has a role in Robert Altman's upcoming film, A Prairie Home Companion. But enough of that.) Instead, the regulars on Garrison Keillor's radio show will perform their patented blend of bluegrass, folk and country when they appear at Old Town Artisans, 201 N. Court Ave., at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 5. Advance tickets are available for $20 at the same locations listed above. They'll be $23 at the door, and there's a $2 discount for seniors and military.
For further details about either show call 297-9133.
The series continues each Sunday through May 14. Here's what to expect in upcoming weeks: Saxophonist Mike Kuhn pays tribute to Dexter Gordon on Sunday, April 9; Big Band Express, along with special guest Joey Lessa, will perform swing tunes on Sunday, April 16; A trio of Phoenix-area female jazz singers--Margo Reed, Delphine Cortez and Nancy Gee--will perform on Sunday, April 23; Charanga La Unica's Latin jazz will provide the soundtrack for a salsa dance contest on Sunday, April 30; Gypsy jazz purveyors Hot Club of Tucson will celebrate the release of a new CD on Sunday, May 7; and an all-star local lineup will perform at the series-closing Superjam!, which will also feature an appearance by the Jazzwerx student band, on Sunday, May 14. Superjam! is an annual fundraiser benefiting the Tucson Jazz Society, the Jazzwerx student band program and the John Denman Memorial Scholarship Fund.
All concerts begin at 6:30 p.m. at St. Philip's Plaza, 1980 E. River Road, with the exception of the April 30 show, which begins at 7 p.m. Tickets for each show are $20 for the general public, $15 for TJS members and $10 for students. They're available in advance at Hear's Music, all Bookman's locations, online at tucsonjazz.org or by calling 903-1265. TJS members may purchase season tickets for $75 by calling that same number.
Chart-busting '70s icons Three Dog Night will trot out their staggering succession of hits at 7 p.m. next Thursday, April 6, at the Diamond Center in the Desert Diamond Casino, 1100 W. Pima Mine Road. Advance tickets are available for $25 at all Ticketmaster locations, online at ticketmaster.com or by calling 321-1000. Call 323-2799 for more details.
In honor of April Fools' Day, locals Wasted Aces will reprise their alter ego as a KISS tribute band on Saturday, April 1 at the Surly Wench Pub, 424 N. Fourth Ave. Musk Hog open at 9 p.m., and the night will also include KISS giveaways and a KISS karaoke contest. Admission is $4. For more info, call 882-0009.
Electronic and ambient music pioneer Robert Rich makes an appearance at Solar Culture Gallery, 31 E. Toole Ave., on Monday, April 3. The all-ages show begins at 8 p.m. with openers Simple Question. Admission is $10, and the number to call with questions is 884-0874.
San Diego trio Fifty on Their Heels bring their winning, '70s-inspired angular punk to Vaudeville Cabaret, 110 E. Congress St., on Sunday, April 2. The show begins at 9 p.m. with openers Matt McCoy and Musica Obscura. Cover is a fiver. Call 622-3535 for more details.