Self-Titled would be one of the best albums in John Wesley Harding's quarter-century career if it weren't the debut album from Wesley Stace. Stace, who now lives in Philadelphia, has finally consolidated his brands: He's released three acclaimed novels under his own name, and 19 albums as John Wesley Harding. That pseudonym seems superfluous and distracting now, especially when attached to the seemingly autobiographical narratives on the new album. Self-Titled finds Stace in a soft-rock, singer-songwriter mode, writing clever but often heartfelt tales (many about ex-girlfriends), and includes his versions of two songs he wrote with Eleanor Friedberger of the Fiery Furnaces for her recent Personal Record (which, come to think of it, would have been a good title for this album, too). - Steve Klinge
Wesley Stace performs 8 p.m. Thursday at World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St. Tickets: $20. 215-222-1400, www.worldcafelive.com.
When he started in the '90s, Robbie Fulks gave country a welcome jolt with audaciously brilliant music that managed both to embrace and to send up the conventions of the genre. (Not that it had any commercial impact.) On the new Gone Away Backward, the onetime alt-country agitator, who subsequently took some stylistic detours with varying degrees of success, doesn't attack country with the same almost maniacal glee he once did. It's a nearly all-acoustic affair, with elements of folk and bluegrass (and two public-domain numbers), and the mood is often somber. Still, the sentiments are never soft. From the starkly unrepentant "I'll Trade You Money for Wine" to the barroom recrimination of "When You Get to the Bottom," from the cautionary tale "Sometimes the Grass Is Really Greener" to the lost-at-love lament "Guess I Got It Wrong," Fulks cuts as deep as he ever has, if not deeper. - Nick Cristiano
Robbie Fulks, with the Howlin' Brothers, play 8 p.m. Saturday at the Sellersville Theater, 24 W. Temple Ave., Sellersville. Tickets: $21.50 and $30. 215-257-5808.
More than 40 years ago, Jimmy Cliff brought ska and reggae music to the world via his starring role in the cult film The Harder They Come, a memorable part based on real-life Jamaican outlaw/folk hero Ivanhoe "Rhygin" Martin. Between the defiant title track, the rocksteady beat of "You Can Get It If You Really Want," and his still-haunting "Many Rivers to Cross," Cliff proved himself a compelling, versatile musician, able to straddle several genres at once, including pop and soul. None of that has changed for Cliff, 65, whose much-acclaimed 2012 CD Rebirth (his first full-length album in eight years) earned a Grammy for best reggae album. Having collaborated over the years with everyone from Arabic raï singer Khaled to Elvis Costello, Cliff - a 2010 inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - returned to his musical roots with Rebirth, produced by Rancid frontman Tim Armstrong. The retrospective "Many Rivers Crossed" Tour winds down its month-long U.S. jaunt with Sunday's show at the Keswick, and fans can expect the beyond-energetic Cliff to be in an especially celebratory mood as he takes to the stage for a night of singing and storytelling. - Nicole Pensiero
Jimmy Cliff and band, with guest Ethan Tucker, play at 8 p.m. Sunday at the Keswick Theatre, 291 N. Keswick Ave., Glenside. Tickets: $30, $35, and $42.50. 215-572-7650, www.keswicktheatre.com.
City Bisco, with Big Boi
When the University of Pennsylvania's favorite sons of jam rock, the Disco Biscuits, started their City Bisco minifestival, it involved like-minded Deadhead musicians looking to follow their bliss. With time, the festival, like the band itself, widened to include elements of wild electronica, ambient music, and the DJ world. Although hip-hop isn't entirely new to City Bisco, this year finds the D-Biscuits welcoming rap's second and third favorite stoners (after Snoop Lion), Method Man & Redman, along with Outkast's other half, Big Boi. The Atlanta rapper has taken heartily to his solo career now that André 3000 seems to be on a permanent hiatus from their eccentric funk pairing. And that's OK, since Big Boi has released his own deliriously odd, old-school-oriented Southern-fried rap-funk albums such as 2010's Sir Lucious Left Foot ... The Son of Chico Dusty and 2012's Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors. Fans of Big Boi will be glad to hear he's showing up: He canceled two recent appearances. - A.D. Amorosi
City Bisco, featuring the Disco Biscuits, Big Boi, Method Man & Redman and friends, is 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday (Big Boi, Method Man & Redman appear Friday only), at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts, 5201 Parkside Ave. Single-day tickets: $49.50 ($55 at the door). Two-day tickets: $80. Information:215-546-7900, www.manncenter.org, www.discobiscuits.com.