Among the albums Lucinda Williams has recorded in her near-30-plus-year career, the "classic" tag is most frequently hung around 1998's Steve Earle-produced Car Wheels on a Gravel Road. I won't argue with that, but closer to my heart, and stronger cut for cut ("Crescent City," "Changed the Locks," "I Just Want to See You So Bad"), is Lucinda Williams, the 1988 self-titled album with which the Southern country, blues, and rock storyteller first made her name.
Contrary to common belief, Lucinda Williams isn't her first album - she released two on the Smithsonian Folkways label years earlier - but it is her best, and she'll be performing it in its entirety, along with a second career-spanning set, at the Keswick this weekend.
- Dan DeLuca
Lucinda Williams with the Kenneth Brian Band, 8 p.m. Saturday at the Keswick Theatre, 291 N. Keswick Ave., Glenside. Tickets: $35-$59.50. 215-572-7650. www.keswicktheatre.com.
Laura Veirs writes melodies with complicated twists and turns, but she makes them sound easy and effortless. Following 2010's understated, charming July Flame and a children's record, Tumble Bee, Veirs returns to working with an eclectic electric band on Warp and Weft, her ninth album and one of her best. It's a testament to the strength of her songs (which address folk artist Howard Finster and jazz harpist Alice Coltrane as well as more conventional subjects), her voice, and her guitar playing that she's not upstaged by her coworkers, since she and her producer/husband Tucker Martine used their vast contacts list to bring in Jim James and other members of My Morning Jacket, Neko Case, k.d. lang, and others. She won't need them, either, when she comes to the Boot & Saddle on Friday night, although she'll have a three-piece band in tow.
- Steve Klinge
Laura Veirs and Karl Blau play Friday at 9 p.m. at Boot & Saddle, 1131 S. Broad St. Tickets: $15. Information: 267-639-4528, www.bootandsaddlephilly.com.
Lee Scratch Perry
When it comes to discussing the idea of eccentric dub genius and literal wearer of many hats Lee Scratch Perry in concert, it's worth mentioning that Perry's massive catalog now includes a small slew of recent releases. These include 2011's set of moody remixes from On-U Sound boss Adrian Sherwood titled Nu Sound & Version, 2012's pairing with the somber electronic godfathers of the Orb (who will be at the Troc in October) for The Orbserver in the Star House, and 2013 efforts such as the ancient rerelease of the winningly experimental Chapter One Dub and something new called Humanicity. Part of Perry's charm is that his oeuvre is as endless as it is seamless, one long, loping, punky reggae party. That said, a Lee Scratch Perry show isn't so much one with a set list or set anything. There may be recognizable riffs and lyrics that Perry has pulled from outer space as if plucking down a planet, but, for the most part, his gigs are massively swelling grooves and densely echoing electronic passages through which Perry just is - sing-speaking, improv-ing, and making gentle pronouncements on all things Jah and jive. That it's always brilliant, thankfully, goes without saying.
- A.D. Amorosi
Lee Scratch Perry and Subatomic Sound System play at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Trocadero, 1003 Arch St. Tickets: $23.50 (advance), $25 (door). Information: 215-922-6888, www.thetroc.com.