Editor’s note: This article was originally published January 9, 2014
Free Week is still going strong! Our Free Week picks for the weekend are available here. Listen to artists playing around town in our This Weekend in Austin Spotify playlist, updated weekly.
Mother Hips at Continental Club. "I always thought I’d see you again/ Just not on the back page of The New York Times," the Mother Hips’ Tim Bluhm sings in "Song for J.B." from the band’s new disc, "Behind Beyond." The song is about his friend Jay Bennett, who died in 2009; Bennett was dismissed from Wilco in 2001 just as the band was beginning to break through. The track is a bittersweet conclusion to a confident comeback record by the Bay Area band, whose early jam-band tendencies gave way to a more country-rock vibe over the years. They’re in town for a two-night stand. Continental Club, 1315 S. Congress Ave. Friday: 10 p.m. with Darren Hoff; Saturday: 10 p.m. with Li’l Cap’n Travis. Each show $17. www.continentalclub.com.
— Peter Blackstock
George Strait, Jason Aldean at Erwin Center. There aren’t many artists in commercial country hotter than Jason Aldean these days, but even he takes second billing when George Strait is on the marquee. Hitting the home stretch of his two-year "Cowboy Rides Away" farewell tour, Strait claims he won’t be back on the road again once these shows are over, though we tend to think no artist is really hanging it up for good until they’re gone from this earth. Regardless, Strait did recently renew with MCA, so more records will be on the way. Erwin Center, 1701 Red River St.; 7:30 p.m. Friday, technically sold out. www.uterwincenter.com.
United Sounds of Austin at ACL Live. A year ago on the second weekend of January, Alejandro Escovedo gathered a couple dozen fellow musicians at ACL Live for a tour-de-force career retrospective that ran for three hours. Perhaps it’s becoming an annual event: This year Escovedo is broadening the scope in a show that’s billed as "United Sounds of Austin." A press dispatch claims that "no facet of the city’s kaleidoscopic music culture is left unexamined or unappreciated" — which seems probably too much to live up to, but we’re eager to see them try. Guests include Lucinda Williams, Joe Ely, Butch Hancock, Terry Allen, Roky Erickson, Rosie Flores, J.T. Van Zandt, Bells of Joy, James Polk and the Skunks. 310 W. Willie Nelson Blvd.; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, $25-35. www.acl-live.com.
Elizabeth McQueen EP release at Lambert’s. After eight years as the sole female vocalist for Austin swing stalwarts Asleep at the Wheel, Elizabeth McQueen has left the band to pursue a solo career. The EP "The Laziest Remix" finds McQueen collaborating with former Austinite David Lazaroff of the St. Louis-based freak-folk band Brothers Lazaroff and mixing elements of reggae, hip-hop and R&B into more straightforward vocal jazz. McQueen is supported on the bill by Brothers Lazaroff, Nakia, Jazz Mills, Erin Ivey, Sarah Sharp and Katie Holmes. A portion of the evening’s proceeds will go to Black Fret, a new nonprofit launched to provide financial support to local musicians. $12 in advance, $15 at the door. 9:30 p.m. Saturday. www.lambertsaustin.com.
— Deborah Sengupta Stith
Low Rent Super Heroes at Saxon Pub. One might argue that there’s no such thing as low rent in Austin anymore, but we’ll take these self-deprecating superheroes at any price. Singer-songwriters Ray Bonneville, Gurf Morlix and Sam Baker all have considerable credentials on their own and have teamed up in various projects; the ringer is Amilia K. Spicer, a Los Angeles folk-rocker whose surname personifies the ingredient she should add to this afternoon guitar pull. $10. 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Saxon Pub, 1320 S. Lamar Blvd. www.thesaxonpub.com.