CORRECTION: This story has been updated to correct the location of Lake Hills Church's Christmas Eve shows. The shows will be held at 11521 Bee Caves Road.
Robert Earl Keen at ACL Live. The song goes on forever and the lyrics never end when Keen tells a story with guitar. On his 1994 LP “Gringo Honeymoon,” Keen penned a dysfunctional holiday get-together with “Merry Christmas From the Family” and the tune became a book and a reason for REK to leave the house in December. An Aggie living in an upscale Kerrville ‘hood, Robby Folksong is quite the writer and he sports a crack band (colossal ups to guitarist Rich Brotherton for his work on the haunting soundtrack to CNN’s Michael Morton documentary), but it’s his warped perspective that keeps the beer lines long. Opening will be the charming duo of Terri Hendrix and Lloyd Maines. 8 p.m. $29-$49. 310 Willie Nelson Blvd. www.acl-live.com.
Also performing: Europe’s favorite Denton band Midlake reacted to the departure of chief singer/songwriter Tim Smith last year by moving Eric Pulido into the lead and not losing a step with the wonderfully expansive “Antiphon” on ATO. Israel Nash open at the Parish … Boldly original punk/jazz trio Weird Weeds play their final show at Museum of Human Achievement, with Plutonium Farmers opening … Having survived being on Dirty Sixth for several decades, Flamingo Cantina counts its blessings and hosts a benefit for the devastated Philippines, with Lady Shacklin, Crucial Prophets, DJ-RJ and many more … All we are saying is give Hell a chance. Come See My Dead Person treks from Houston to play eclectic music you can dance to at the Hole in the Wall … Have yourself a merry ‘90s X-mas with Vallejo, Podunk and Canvas at Antone’s. Shouldn’t David Cotton be at the door for old times? … Forget dance lessons: Damon Bramblett will show you how to sound like Johnny Cash without trying at the White Horse … When Kelly Willis & Bruce Robison take their great holiday-themed show to Gruene Hall, ticket sales cover the cost. Tip jar is for the babysitters … Family visiting and driving you nuts? Get them out to see Junior Brown at the Continental Club. If they’re not impressed, seek a new family immediately.
T-Bird and the Breaks at the Continental Club. Tim “T-Bird” Crane helped start the current soul revival in Austin after he took an Amtrak to ATX from Massachusetts in 2007 and put together the Breaks. The 10-piece band took off nationally with the Tom Waits/Shirley Ellis mashup “The Clap Hands Song” and recently released the hot single “Waxin’” backed with a cover of Blackstreet’s “No Diggity.” But they best bring their “A” game or Latasha Lee and the Blackties, who torched ACL Fest, might use them for a mop. 10 p.m. 1315 S. Congress Ave. www.continentalclub.com.
Also performing: It’s a manger-rock Christmas with Gerard Cosloy’s annual affair at Beerland, starring Buck Biloxi, Flesh Lights, Sweet Talk, the Gospel Truth, Ghetto Ghouls and more dive bombers … Former “Voice” semi-finalist Curtis Grimes sings modern country right at Dallas Nightclub … San Antonio reggae group Dub Gideon plays the music of Tim Duncan’s native Caribbean at Flamingo Cantina … All sales are final at the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar when Carolyn Wonderland plays, so don’t try returning that melted candle … Colin Gilmore’s melodically rocking LP “Wild and the Hollow” gets a second launch at Strange Brew … A tribute to KISS, one of the worst bands of all time? Hotel Vegas has got Rock N Roll Over. Next week: a salute to flu season!… Now here’s a bill for those of you who complain Austin doesn’t have enough psychobilly country shows: Reverend Horton Heat, Dale Watson and Two Tons of Steel at Emo’s East … Playing dance music at Antone’s are Mingo Fishtrap and Hard Proof Afrobeat … Playing dents music at the Mohawk are Auto Body. Ticket price is $15, but you know it’s gonna be more … Two Hoots and a Holler are back at the Hole In the Wall and they have Big Britches to fill the opening slot … Ambient dub DJ Selva Oscura closes the night at Empire Control Room, with Alex Napping, Big Bill and Brother Bear opening … Put another pin in the world map. French Riviera band Les Brouvas perform at Sahara Lounge … The fun did indeed stop for a bit, but great carny rockers Shoulders are back for “Another Round” at Austin Beer Garden Brewing … Tyler, Texas, is two short on minor celebs tonight as Max Bemis of Say Anthing and his wife, Sherri Dupree, of Eisley play Stubb’s inside, along with Perma and Merriment … Burning Man dubstep comes to the Parish with Love and Light and bounce DJ Spankalicious … Marking the 20th anniversary of “Comin’ Out Hard” are the Memphis gangsta rappers 8 Ball & MJG at Red 7. Wonder if they would’ve been bigger if their name was more street instead of taken from a pool table?
Mark Kozelek at the Central Presbyterian Church. The pews have new cushions! This is noteworthy because the former Red House Painters/Sun Kil Moon singer has been known for sad material that could make you feel less insane in the membrane than numb in the bum. But Koz has been recording an album of carols so this night will be lighter than his usual stuff, but I’m thinking “A Leonard Cohen Christmas.” Doors at 8 p.m. $16. 200 E. Eighth Street. www.transmissionevents.com.
Also performing: Gillian and Raquel can’t make it, but the Saxon Pub is full of Welches. Kevin Welch and his talented kids Dustin and Savannah of the Trishas are calling this 3 p.m. show a Welch Family Throwdown … Church of the Friendly Ghost hosts another experi-ganza at Salvage Vanguard Theater with Roro and Ti Femme from the Netherlands, plus Los Angelenos Todd Lerew and Marcus Rubio … Former L.A. hair band Faster Pussycat hopes to kill, kill at Infest Austin. … Rock ‘n’ roll comes to the White Horse with Not In the Face. But the live music starts at 5 p.m. with Conjunto Los Pinkys … As usual, it’s country music around the clock at the Continental Club, from Planet Casper in the afternoon to Heybale late. But those of you of a Christmas persuasion won’t want to miss the Wagoneers, whose singer Monte Warden knows carols like a Ginny’s regular knows Burnet … I’ve gotta get over my aversion to left-handed acoustic guitarists and check out Sam Baker at Strange Brew.
Holiday Song Swap at the Sahara Lounge. Husband and wife owners Ibraham Aminou and Eileen Bristol have done something almost unheard of in Austin. They took over a beloved, historic bar, completely changed the format, and made it even better. There’s a lot of history at the old wooden building that opened as Lincoln Drive-In in 1962, then became T.C.’s Lounge in 1978, but the new joint is making some lasting memories of its own. Help celebrate the warmth of the Sahara with songwriters John Evans, Graham Wilkinson, Jonny Burke, Romi Mayes and more. 9 p.m. $5. 1413 Webberville Road. www.thesaharalounge.com.
Also performing: The spirit of T.C.’s is conscious at the Legendary White Swan when the Little Elmore Reed Blues Band plays. The great Mike Keller, on a break from the Fabulous T-Birds, sits in on the best blues jam in town … It’s Dale Watson’s club (the Continental). We just two-step in it … Motown Monday with the Nightowls is a temptation to check out One-2-One Bar … I suggested Curveball as a name, but nobody listens to me. WrenFro, the new group of Kev McKinney of SoulHat and Tony Scalzo of Fastball have built a nest at Strange Brew on Mondays … Slim Richey and the Jitterbug Vipers make it swing, make it swing, make it swing, at the Elephant Room … King Curse is now called Bar Brawl III, which makes them harder to find on YouTube, so you need to go to the White Horse to see ‘em … Brennen Leigh turns the Rattle Inn into a mandolin cave … Bob Schneider is saving himself for New Year’s Eve at the Paramount, so Ari Neufeld is at the Saxon Pub.
Redd Volkaert, Warren Hood. Longtime Merle Haggard guitarist Volkaert puts some talented Vienna sausage fingers on his Telecaster guitar and Warren Hood is, quite simply, the best violinist in town who knows the entire Uncle Walt’s Band catalog. Magic on Christmas Eve Eve. Lake Hills Church's West Campus at 11521 Bee Caves Road. Shows at 3 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. www.lhc.org.
Also performing: Now if you’re talking about one guy who comes close to matching both Redd and Warren, yes, you do know Erik Hokkanen. Blows minds every Tuesday at Flipnotics … Has Austin gone Tele cray cray, the day before Christmas? I ask because Bill Kirchen is at the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar … Up-and-coming songwriter Carson McHone welcomes friends and orphans at the Saxon Pub … Apostles are playing on Christmas Eve: Jeff Plankenthorn’s Apostles of Manchaca, not to mention DURAWA, who proves to Megyn Kelly that Santa’s Hispanic.
Trube, Farrell & Snizz at Continental Gallery. Dale’s annual Christmas night shows are always jampacked, so why not climb the stairs and get an early taste of C-Boy’s Heart & Soul, the soul club Steve Wertheimer’s opening soon up South Congress. Andrew Trube’s guitar and Anthony Farrell’s keys have traveled the world with JJ Grey and Mofro, not to mention Susan Tedeshi and Derek Trucks, but they’ll be the house band at the former Trophy’s with their own soulful group, the Greyhounds. No tears for drummer Snizz, as solid, powerful and unflashy as a nuclear plant, who makes that serious Scabs cash. 10:30 p.m. $5. 1315 S. Congress Ave. www.continentalclub.com.
Also performing: Octogenarian blues treasure Miss Lavelle White welcomes one and all to her annual Christmas night show at the Saxon Pub … You know about Dale Watson at the Continental Club. I’d start lining up before the doors open at 9 p.m. Watson’s on at 10 … Veteran songwriter Jean Synodinos, who I know from starring in my cousin’s play “Tony N’ Tina’s Wedding,” is at Flipnotics … Saxophonist Alex Coke is a big deal in Amsterdam, but he’s home for the holidays so catch him at the Elephant Room.
Trans-Siberian Orchestra at Erwin Center. Twas the night after Christmas and all through the Drum … there are more hard rockers into Christmas than you’d think, which has made this orchestral rock band one of the top touring acts since their 1996 debut “Christmas Eve and Other Stories.” This tour, with former Journey vocalist Jeff Scott Soto on lead metal angel, finds TSO playing the rock opera “The Lost Christmas Eve” in its entirety. Providing incidental percussion are the members of Yes kicking themselves. Shows at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. $70. 1701 Red River St. www.uterwincenter.com.
Also performing: If you’ve never sat 10 feet from Kacy Crowley while she plays the guitar and sings, you have your chance at Strange Brew. And it’s free (6:30 p.m.). Seela hypnotizes later, after Miles Zuniga makes you laugh and cry… If you don’t think Christmas is a corporate sham so “the Man” can buy yacht fuel, you might want to steer clear of James McMurtry and Jon Dee Graham’s “Bah Humbug” show at the Continental Club.