Sturgill Simpson brings new life to an old sound, the classic country of ’70s-era Waylon Jennings, and infuses it with his own perspective and sound, including touches of psychedelia. Simpson hints at that in his light show, as he leads his quartet into the Paradise Rock Club on Friday (before he returns this summer for the Newport Folk Festival), supporting one of 2014’s best albums in Metamodern Sounds in Country Music. The same night, gospel-soul legend Mavis Staples will take you there at the Shalin Liu Performance Center up in Rockport.
Saturday brings the rare chance to catch Midge Ure, best known as the singer for Ultravox and a co-organizer of Band Aid and Live Aid, who plays Johnny D’s Uptown on a solo acoustic tour likely to include his take on this Ultravox gem. And commanding singer/songwriter Mary Fahl branches out from her former group the October Project, playing intimate Club Passim on Saturday. Watch for Ariel Pink to hit the Paradise stage the same night in his glammy high heels, animating his oddball retro-pop with his playful showmanship, while the Sinclair hosts Maine-based veterans Rustic Overtones, renowned for live shows that jam together soul-funk and psychedelic garage-rock.
Sunday brings perhaps the weekend’s most anticipated show to House of Blues: the return of Sleater-Kinney (pictured), which burst out of the Pacific Northwest’s riot grrrl scene in the ’90s to become one of American’s best bands before disbanding in 2006. The buzz has since grown, fueled in part by Carrie Brownstein’s newfound celebrity as the co-star of the comedy show “Portlandia.” But more importantly, she and fellow guitarist/singer Corin Tucker and drummer Janet Weiss have reignited their spunky chemistry on Sleater-Kinney’s worthy new album No Cities To Love (they just dropped this rad video of one of its songs) and now they’re taking it to the next stage.