Sure, playing gigs with The Rolling Stones and Lenny Kravitz has its obvious perks, but being a sideman isn’t the same as unleashing your inner creative demons. Saxophonist Karl Denson’s toured with fine musicians, but his own project is where he gets to stretch his wings. With guitarist Jimmy Herring (Widespread Panic) on the bill, one can only hope for some stellar collaborations. $25-$28.
Here’s your local bite of twangy, folk-layered Americana at its finest. The duo, featuring Perry Fowler (vocals, guitar, harmonica) and Mark Baran (bass, vocals, kick drum and banjo), released a debut album in 2013 and will release a sophomore effort in early 2017. That being said, they’re ready to give listeners a sample of the rootsy, foot-stomping vibes. With Greensboro-based Rinaldi Flying Circus and Carolina Gator Gumbo. $8
This New York-based jazz band is known for adding its own interesting tinge of sounds — especially when all the extra brass kicks in — to holiday classics. As they state in their website, “Fueled by the belief that classic jazz feeds the heart and soul, the Hot Sardines are on a mission to make old sounds new again and prove that joyful music can bring people together in a disconnected world.” $20 and up
Dave Dondero has been releasing folk tunes for over a decade, after his stint with Clemson, South Carolina based Sunbrain. His newest release, With Love, is all too familiar for folks who heard 2013’s This Guitar. Released on Nov. 4, the album features the song “Boxer’s Fracture,” written after 2012’s horrific movie theater shootings Aurora, Colorado and in response to gun enthusiasts. With Blanket Fort, Chris Thomas. $8