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The week ahead: Music

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Oh, Boy

BOY GEORGE On “This Is What I Do,” his new album, this 1980s pop icon ventures into some of the most uplifting music of his career. Exploring themes of redemption and the power of love, George sounds downright sanctimonious with a gospel-like fervor coursing through the songs. It’s a safe bet that he’ll still tumble for ya in concert, though. April 19, 7 p.m. Tickets: $32, $30 in advance. Royale. 800-745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com

JAMES REED

Rock & Pop

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HOLLY GOLIGHTLY & THE BROKEOFFS Golightly’s blessing might also be her curse: This British-bred singer churns out solid albums at such a clip that they don’t always get properly recognized; her latest is a reminder that it’s time to check in with her again. “All Her Fault” is another collaboration with Lawyer Dave, her partner in crime, and together they cat around the back alleys of American roots music with glee, from stomping blues to swinging honky-tonk to dreamy parlor songs. April 17, 9 p.m. Tickets: $12. Middle East Upstairs, Cambridge. 617-864-3278, www.ticketweb.com

FANFARLO A nervous energy has always underpinned the jittery songs Simon Balthazar writes for his band, Fanfarlo. On the London indie-rock ensemble’s new third release, “Let’s Go Extinct,” Balthazar goes wide screen with weighty songs that loosely explore the idea of evolution and what it means to us on a finite level. April 19, 9 p.m. Tickets: $18, $16 in advance. The Sinclair, Cambridge. 800-745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com

DUSTIN WONG Wordless and wondrous, the melodies this experimental guitarist loops and layers on his latest albums are works of beauty. Released last year, “Mediation of Ecstatic Energy” and “Toropical Circle,” a collaboration with Japanese singer Takako Minekawa, showed Wong in full splendor, in the middle of a swirl of frenetic notes that leaves you breathless. He opens for Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks, the latest project from the Animal Collective member. April 22, 7 p.m. Tickets: $15. Brighton Music Hall. 800-745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com

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JAMES REED

FOLK, WORLD & COUNTRY

DOWN HOME UP HERE BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL Passim’s homegrown festival returns for a second year with a weekend of (mostly) young bluegrass and old-time talent from (mostly) metro Boston. There are also how-to workshops on fiddle, guitar, and banjo preceding Saturday’s performances. April 19, 4 p.m., Apr. 20, 5 p.m. Tickets: $15/day. Club Passim, Cambridge. 617- 492-7679, www.passim.org

DENNEY AND THE JETS “Mexican Coke” is the debut full-length from Nashville’s Denney and the Jets, who mix Southern-rock stomp with Stonesy honk and swagger. What does it cover? “Smokin’, drinkin’, cocaine, youth, rodeo clowns, [expletive] around, acquittal, the blues, family, being broke, pain pills, hangovers, strength, getting high, addiction, living, and dying,” says frontman Chris Denney. In other words, pretty much everything. April 20, 8 p.m. Tickets: $10. Middle East (Upstairs), Cambridge. www.ticketweb.com

JONNY TWO BAGS “Jonny Two Bags” is the nom de rock of Jonny Wickersham, a man usually seen wielding an electric guitar with SoCal heavyweights Social Distortion but now doing a solo turn that makes manifest elements that have always been latent in that band. With the White Buffalo and Chuck Ragan also on the bill, it should make for a full evening of high-test roots music. April 20,
7 p.m. Tickets: $18. Paradise Rock Club. 800-745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com

TOMMY KEANE, JACQUELINE MCCARTHY, AND FRIENDS The Burren Backroom series brings things back home Wednesday with concertina player Jacqueline McCarthy, whose father owns the venerable hosting pub, and her husband, well- known uilleann pipes player Tommy Keane. One of the friends who’ll be joining them is master Irish singer-songwriter Robbie O'Connell. April 23, 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $23. The Burren, Somerville. 800-838-3006, www.brownpapertickets.com

STUART MUNRO

JAZZ, BLUES & CABARET

DEBBIE DAVIES The remarkable guitarist, singer, and songwriter is a two-time winner of the W.C Handy Award for best contemporary female blues artist.” Singer/guitarist Barrett Anderson, Boston Music Awards’ 2013 blues artist of the year, will open. April 17, 8 p.m. Tickets: $15. Johnny D’s, 17 Holland St., Somerville. 617-776-2004, www.johnnyds.com

SUN RA CENTENNIAL NEC’s Jazz Orchestra celebrates the 100th birthday of the bandleader/keyboardist whose retro-futuristic cosmic jazz harkened back to Fletcher Henderson and Duke Ellington and forward to John Coltrane and Parliament Funkadelic. Featuring such Sun Ra classics as “We Travel the Spaceways,” “Space Is the Place,” and “Love in Outer Space.” April 17, 8 p.m. Tickets: Free. NEC's Jordan Hall, 30 Gainsborough St., Boston. 617-585-1260, www.necmusic.edu

GARY SMULYAN TRIO A disciple of the great Pepper Adams, Smulyan is widely considered to be his generation’s standard-bearer on the baritone saxophone, manning the big horn in the bands of Woody Herman, Mel Lewis, Dave Holland, and Carla Bley, among others. April 22, 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $10. Jocko’s Jazz at the Sahara Club, 34 Bates St., Methuen 603-898-1591, www.jockosjazz.com

RUDRESH MAHANTHAPPA The acclaimed alto saxophonist and composer is known for his innovative merger of progressive jazz and South Indian classical music. A Berklee alum (1992), Guggenheim fellow, and frequent Down Beat Critics Poll nominee and winner, Mahanthappa will lead Berklee students in a concert of his works. April 23, 7:30 p.m. Tickets: Free. Berklee’s David Friend Recital Hall, 921 Boylston St., Boston. 617 747-2222, www.berklee.edu

KEVIN LOWENTHAL

CLASSICAL

BOSTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Charles Dutoit replaces Lorin Maazel on the podium in performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 and (on April 17 and 19 only) Mozart’s “Prague” Symphony. April 17-19, Symphony Hall. 617-266-1200, www.bso.org

BOSTON EARLY MUSIC FESTIVAL To close its season BEMF offers the rarely spotted “St. Matthew Passion” of Johann Sebastiani, a work that predates Bach’s “St. Matthew” by half a century. Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs direct the BEMF chamber and vocal ensembles, with tenor James Taylor as the Evangelist and João Fernandes as Jesus. April 18, 8 p.m., Jordan Hall. 617-661-1812, www.bemf.org

NICHOLAS PHAN This quickly rising tenor makes his local recital debut with works by Britten and Schubert, partnered by pianist Myra Huang. April 17, 8 p.m., Longy’s Pickman Hall. 617-482-6661, www.celebrityseries.org

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