THURSDAY

Sunset at the Aces Lounge.Former Sound Team player Bill Baird just might be one of Austin's most eccentric and prolific musical geniuses, a tireless innovator who crafts dreamy folk pop soundscapes with a mixture of traditional instrumentation and analog electronics. His band Sunset's latest, 'Gold Dissolves to Gray,' keeps that tradition going, with a poetic and intriguing shoegaze sound. $5. 9 p.m. 222 E. Sixth St. www.acesaustin.com. — Patrick Caldwell

Also recommended:Slaid Cleaves and Rob Picott at the Cactus, Literature at Beerland, Wayne Hancock at Jovita's.

FRIDAY

The Rural Alberta Advantage at the Parish.Canada's ability to churn out charming indie rock bands is only slightly less notable than its ability to churn out excellent hockey players, and Toronto trio the Rural Alberta Advantage are among the best (of the bands). Their 2008 album 'Hometowns,' with its sleepy strings and staccato drumming, won the band so many converts that Saddle Creek Records reissued it in July. With Adam Arcuragi and the Eastern Sea. 8 p.m. 214 E. Sixth St. www.theparishaustin.com. — P.C.

Also recommended:Junior Brown at Antone's, Manikin at Club 1808, Tex and the Horseheads at Moose Lodge, Twang Twang Shock-a-Boom at the Cactus, Balmorhea at the Mohawk, Minor Mishap Marching Band at Ruta Maya.

SATURDAY

Bill Carter and the Blame, Blondie Chaplin at the Continental Club.Though Carter's best known for co-writing such Stevie Ray Vaughan classics as 'Caught In the Crossfire' and 'Why Get Up' for the Fabulous Thunderbirds, he had a pretty rockin' band that signed to Columbia in the late '80s. On this night, the Blame features Charlie Sexton and Denny Freeman, who have about nine years of backing Bob Dylan between them. Opener Blondie Chaplin not only wrote 'Sail On Sailor,' he also tours with the Rolling Stones and plays just about every instrument. 10 p.m. 1315 S. Congress Ave. www.continentalclub.com. — Michael Corcoran

Also recommended:Invincible Czars holiday show at Jovita's, Grupo Fantasma at Antone's, W.C. Clark at the Saxon Pub, Warren Hood and the Hoodlums at Momo's.

SUNDAY

Dave Rawlings Machine and Gillian Welch at the Parish.Skilled folk and bluegrass guitarist and harmony singer Dave Rawlings has long labored under the umbrella of other performers, from Bright Eyes to Ryan Adams to Robyn Hitchcock. But with this year's sleepy, winning 'A Friend of a Friend,' he finally takes the center stage he's deserved for so long — though for this two-night stand at the Parish, he'll be joined by longtime musical partner Gillian Welch. With Sarah Jarosz. $25. 8 p.m. Sunday and Monday. 214 E. Sixth St. www.theparishaustin/com. — P.C.

Also recommended:Daughtry at the Erwin Center; Jon Dee Graham at the Continental Club Gallery.

MONDAY

Cory Morrow at the Saxon Pub.Morrow graduated from the same school of unpretentious, swinging country rock as frat boy icon Pat Green — literally, actually, since both went to Texas Tech University. But this acoustic, solo show — at the intimate, relatively small Saxon Pub — should showcase a whole different side of the down-home truth-teller. $15. 8:30 p.m. 1320 S. Lamar Blvd. www.thesaxonpub.com. — P.C.

Also recommended:Crybear at the Continental Club Gallery, Elmore Reed Blues Band at T.C.'s Lounge, Deluka at Republic Live.

TUESDAY

Willie Nelson and Family holiday show at the Austin Music Hall.There's never really a bad year when you're Willie Nelson — well, except maybe 1990 — but the red-headed stranger has had a particularly good 12 months in 2009. His 'Stardust'-style album of standards, 'American Classic,' garnered largely positive reviews, as did Asleep at the Wheel collaboration and rip-roaring good time of a tribute album to western swing 'Willie and the Wheel.' He'll celebrate with a star-studded evening that includes Asleep at the Wheel, the Boxcutters and several of the Nelson children. $47-$82. 6:30 p.m. 208 Nueces St. www.austinmusichall.com. — P.C.

Also recommended:Kat Edmonson and the Gourds at Armadillo Christmas Bazaar, Ian McLagan at the Cactus Cafe, Boombox ATX at Lucky Lounge, Toni Price at the Continental Club, Waylon Payne (6 p.m. happy hour) at the Saxon Pub.

WEDNESDAY

The Bobby Bones Show Christmas Party with the Fray and Owl City at the Austin Music Hall.There's something apropos about pairing Christian-influenced piano rock band the Fray and Adam Young's electropop project Owl City for a concert sponsored by the Bobby Bones Show. Both rocketed to superstardom on the backs of radio hits — the sensitive 'How to Save a Life' and the Postal Service-aping 'Fireflies,' respectively — making them an ideal pair to ring in the holidays for one of Austin's most popular DJs. With Jason DeRulo and Lyaz. $30. 5:30 p.m. 208 Nueces St. www.austinmusichall.com — P.C.

Also recommended:Monte Montgomery and Walt Wilkins at Saxon Pub, Damon Bramlett at Mean-Eyed Cat, James McMurtry and Jon Dee Graham at Continental Club, Soul Track Mind at T.C.'s Lounge, Furthest From the Star, the Daze and Fulton Read at the Parish.