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MUSIC

The Heartless Bastards
10 p.m. Tue., Jan. 16
One Eyed Jacks, 615 Toulouse St., 569-8361; www.oneeyedjacks.net

Stairs and Elevators, The Heartless Bastard's first release on alt-blues label Fat Possum showed them to be scrappy garage rockers banging on the blues, swaggering and wailing. The band's latest release, All This Time , which came out in August, shows a little more restraint and craftsmanship, and the result is amazing. Petite Erika Wennerstrom's weathered powerhouse voice was always the group's secret weapon, and here it's buoyed by the music instead of fighting it. The effect makes the album sound almost transcendent. Opening up is Happy Talk Band, who plays Luke Allen's bitter, ironic and often romantic original songs. Lately, that act has been experimenting with different instrumentation. Potential iterations could include a raw, fuzzy electric version or hushed and mellow with added strings. Tickets $10. — Alison Fensterstock


MUSIC


Kenny Brown
6-8 p.m. Thu., Jan. 18
Ogden Museum of Southern Art, 925 Camp St., 539-9612; www.ogdenmusem.org

Selma, Ala., native Kenny Brown is best known for his work as a longtime sideman for the famously irascible Mississippi bluesman R.L. Burnside. (The short, stocky, black Burnside often referred to the blond, lanky Brown as his adopted son.) Growing up, Brown learned from regional legends like Mississippi Fred McDowell and Johnny Woods. He began playing with Burnside in 1971, and recorded and toured with him until Burnside's death last fall. His slide guitar style — which wails — was a major component of Burnside's raw, unpolished blues sound. A well-respected player in the hill country blues scene, Brown is not only allegedly the only white guy to have played onstage at Junior Kimbrough's famous juke joint in Chulahoma, Miss., he's also the subject of a lyrical shout-out on the latest North Mississippi Allstars album: "Get up in the morning, do like Kenny Brown/ Take a little drink of whiskey and lay back down." Brown will play as well as be interviewed by Dr. Ike Padnos. Tickets $10. — Fensterstock



MUSIC


Davell Crawford Group
8:30 p.m. Thu.- Sat., Jan. 18-20
Preservation Hall, 726 St. Peter St., 522-2841; www.preservationhall.com

New Orleans native and famously snappy dresser Davell Crawford is a contemporary bearer of the great New Orleans piano tradition (following James Booker and Professor Longhair), playing and singing gospel-inspired soul, blues and funk. Performing and touring internationally since age 7, the former child prodigy grew into his talent, and he has shown a willingness to explore. His record The B-3 and Me — with Shannon Powell on drums — showed him experimenting with his gospel roots and the instrument's place in traditional New Orleans R&B, for a funky, interesting sound. He's also worked as a producer and arranger and played sessions with artists including Marva Wright, Kipori Woods, Anders Osborne, Ruth Brown and John Boutté. This three-night stand at Preservation Hall, though, will be a spotlight on his own music. Tickets $8. — Fensterstock


STAGE


The Sunken Living Room
8 p.m. Wed.-Sat., Jan. 17-20; 3 p.m. Sun. Jan 21; through Feb. 11
Southern Rep Theatre, The Shops at Canal Place, 333 Canal St., third floor, 522-6545; www.southernrep.com

Though steeped in some of the thick kitsch you've already seen on That '70s Show , Southern Rep's new play The Sunken Living Room delves into some of the pathos underneath the big hair and shag carpet of a decade perhaps most glorified for self-absorption. Stuck in the literal sunken living room of his dysfunctional family's split-level home, Wade is trying to hold his parents and siblings together as his mother checks out to play bridge, his father the airline pilot is jetting around with some flight attendants, his sister is the jettisoned black sheep of the family and his brother is going out to find a bump of cocaine. In the meantime, Wade is left with his brother's girlfriend, who has her mind and body set on toying with him. With more raw language than you'll hear on a sitcom and brief nudity, the play is for mature audiences. The Sunken Living Room was almost sunk by Katrina when its 2005 fall premiere was pre-empted by the storm. Instead, it premiered in Miami to critical praise. Ryan Rilette directs John Magaro, Rudy Mungaray, Arianne Ellison and Staci Robbins. Tickets $15 for previews Wed.-Fri., $30 for opening night Saturday, $24 Sunday, $4 discount for students/seniors. — Will Coviello

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click to enlarge DAVID RACCUGLIA
  • David Raccuglia
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