Recommended

Son Volt

Liberty Lunch, Wednesday 29

Uncle Tupelo was a band whose musical sensibilities were perfectly in sync with Austin's. Perhaps that's why the band recorded here, and in the aftermath of its break-up, why one of the Tupe splinters, Jeff Tweedy's Wilco, has already played in town four times. This is the first time locals will get to see Jay Farrar's vehicle for world-weary songs rooted in musical Americana (Son Volt's debut, Trace, is strong branch from the Tupe tree), and from my vantage point, those folks are licking their lips over this 'un -- and their Waterloo in-store, same day at 5pm.

BAD LIVERS

Emo's, Friday 24

What can I say in eight lines that hasn't already been said faster on a bluegrass hillside by Danny Barnes, Mark Rubin, and Ralph White? I mean, besides the fact that the Bad Livers at Emo's is an Austin tradition, no less than Big Daddy Don Walser at Babes or Junior Brown at the Continental -- only a lot less frequent. Blue thrash me, boyee.

ANDERS OSBORNE

White Rabbit, Friday 24 & Saturday 25

Not long ago, Anders Osborne was just a blonde Scandinavian soaking up American blues and perfecting his wicked slide in New Orleans. A trip or two to the White Rabbit proved that sometimes the take on American blues is better served from across the pond. Epic records must have agreed, because they've just released Osborne's good time debut, Which Way to Here, on their blues 'n' roots imprint Okeh, which already sports modern-day bluesicians Keb Mo', G. Love, and dubmen Little Axe. Osborne has seemingly found a good home there, the same of which could be said for the Rabbit.

PRAISE CELEBRATION

Austin Marriot, Friday 24 & Saturday 25

The Capitol Ballroom of the Austin Marriot at the Capitol (701 East 11 St.) will be the spot of religious ecstasy both Friday and Saturday nights starting at 7pm when Texas Folklife Resources and the Texas Gospel Announcers Guild put on their Sixth annual "A Praise Celebration in Song" services. Over 20 gospel groups from all over the Lone Star state will perform each night with the express purpose of ascending the plain of religious fever, where rapturous communion with the Big Guy is as intoxicating as any musical experience you've ever had.

THE GRETCHEN PHILLIPS EXPERIENCE

Electric Lounge, Saturday 25

Surprise, surprise. Who should I see walking down the drag the other day? None other than Gretchen Phillips, who's been out of town for what seems like ages. She's back to dust off her Gretchen Phillips Experience and her eclectic guitar madness, and on this benefit for the Lesbian Avengers, Phillips shares the stage with Performance Art Church spin-off Unhung Heroes, and SXIP, who plays one mean tampon. (If you've never seen this, believe me, you've never seen this.) The night kicks off with neon folk-rocker Thomas Anderson at 9pm.

CHRIS ISAAK

Austin Music Hall, Sunday 26

Like the soft touch of your lover's hand on your cheek, Chris Isaak's velvety music embraces the listener. Like warm kisses pressed into the small of your neck, each song stands on its own while leading to something bigger. Wistful and tender without being clichéd but capable of going all-out rock & roll, Isaak's dreamy sound makes you remember just how potent and timeless songs of love are. -- Margaret Moser

22 BRIDES

Antone's, Sunday 26

The Johnson sisters (Libby and Carrie) may be 20 brides short, but with their tangy twang and indigo harmonies, the wedding of post-modern metropolitan hillbilly music and heel-clicking peppy pop, is a blissful union indeed. This NYC-based quartet reminds me of the kitchy, twisted country poppers outta S.F., and if their Zero Hour release Beaker is any indication, this gig should be more fun than a naked hoedown.

EBN, BANCO DE GAIA

Ohms, Monday 27

Ken Lieck's favorite group, the Emergency Broadcast Network, transmits multi-media musical madness for the masses (see "Dancing About Architecture"), which will be right at home at the dancing hysteria of Ohms. UK MIDI geek Banco de Gaia opens with ambient exotica.

VELVET HAMMER

Pearl's, Tuesday 28

Heart may have broken up after the release of their most recent live album, but Austin's Velvet Hammer have come way too far, and worked way too hard on getting their live CD out to do the same. Instead, the quartet of female hammers celebrate the release of their debut with the help of KLBJ and their "Local Licks Live" program, which broadcasts from Pearl's every Tuesday. ALSO PLAYING

Friday: 21st Century Blues, Café Solaire; Buick MacKane, Hole in the Wall;

Saturday: Gomez, Buzzcrusher, Pretty Mouth, Jesus Christ Superfly, Voodoo Lounge

Sunday: Dino Lee, Cedar Street

Monday: Natalie Merchant, Innocence Mission, Austin Music Hall; Don Walser, Babes

Tuesday: Kytsch, Mineral, Blue Flamingo

Wednesday: Wayne "the Train" Hancock, Jovita's

Thursday: Bill Campbell, Continental Club

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