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    The week ahead: Music


    Fired up

    ALICIA KEYS More than a decade removed from her star-marking debut, “Songs in A Minor,” Keys has settled into an edgier take on R&B with her past few records. “Girl on Fire,” her latest, deals with themes of motherhood and marriage. Miguel, the silky smooth R&B crooner, will get the audience warmed up. April 10, 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $45-$125. Agganis Arena. 800-745-3000,

    James Reed

    Pop & Rock

    CHELSEA LIGHT MOVING The latest side project helmed by Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore, Chelsea Light Moving explores a less abrasive strain of guitar-rock on its new self-titled debut for Merge Records. April 7, 8 p.m. Tickets: $20, $18 in advance. The Sinclair. 800-745-3000,

    ALICE SMITH On “She,” her new and long-overdue follow-up to her 2007 debut, this eclectic singer-songwriter digs even deeper into a sultry R&B sound infused with elements of folk, doo-wop, and indie pop. April 9, 7 p.m. Tickets: $12. Brighton Music Hall. 800-745-3000,


    BOB DYLAN Introduced at his shows as “the poet laureate of rock ’n’ roll,” Dylan seems to be on the road now more than ever. This time he comes to town in support of last year’s “Tempest,” which was his strongest release in years. Dawes, whose folk-rock songs are as sun-kissed as the band’s native California, will open. April 9, 8 p.m. Tickets: $46-$63. Tsongas Center, Lowell. 978-934-5738,

    James Reed

    Folk, World & Country

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    TIM O’BRIEN With one of the most affecting singing voices in acoustic music and instrumental dexterity in spades, Tim O’Brien has made his mark as a member of bluegrass band Hot Rize, a prime contributor to the western swing hijinks of Red Knuckles and the Trailblazers, and a solo artist. He’ll be preceded by the rootsy old-time iterations of Old Man Luedecke, whose latest album, “Tender Is the Night,” he just produced. April 5, p.m. Tickets: $28. Me & Thee Coffeehouse, Marblehead. 800-838-3006,

    CIMARRON This Colombian band plays plains music, the plains in question being those of the Orinoco River winding through Colombia and Venezuela. The style they represent, “joropo,” is a dynamic music, featuring harp, bandola and cuatro guitar, maracas, and full-throated singing, that moves from stately waltz-like dances to frenetic, polyrhythmic explosions. April 6, 7 p.m. Tickets: $28. Johnny D’s, Somerville. 617-876-4275,

    FREEDY JOHNSTON No one would describe Johnston’s singing voice as a marvel, technically speaking. But it is surely like no one else’s, and when you hear him use it to bring to life the complexities of his three-minute character sketches, ruminations, and observations, you begin to realize just how effective and perfectly appropriate an instrument it is. The Figgs’ Pete Donnelly opens. April 6, 8 p.m. Tickets: $20. Club Passim, Cambridge. 617-492-7679,

    DANIEL BACHMAN Bachman used to record as “Sacred Harp”; now, he’s simply Daniel Bachman. With his latest release, “Seven Pines,” he’s added to the phenomenal collection of guitar music, past and present, on offer from Tompkins Square Records. Sunday you can hear him play music he describes as “psychedelic Appalachia” and at the same time, check out one of the Boston area’s newest record stores. April 7, 8 p.m. Tickets: no cover. Deep Thoughts, Jamaica Plain.;

    Stuart Munro

    Jazz, Blues & Cabaret


    MCCOY TYNER QUARTET The legendary piano powerhouse, key man in John
    Coltrane’s most famous quartet, has scores of albums to his credit, has won four Grammy Awards, and was named a Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts. His current group features saxophone great Gary Bartz, bassist Gerald Cannon, and marvelous Cuban drummer Francisco Mela. April 5, 6, 7:30 and 10 p.m. Tickets: $35-$38. Regattabar. 617-395-7757,

    HIGHLAND JAZZ 30th ANNIVERSARY GALA The long-running community-based jazz series celebrates its birthday with an all-star lineup of many of the musicians who helped it to reach this milestone: celebrated saxophonist George Garzone, Joe Williams, Nat Cole-influenced pianist/singer Paul Broadnax, ubiquitous bassist John Lockwood, trumpeter/composer Greg Hopkins, local fave saxophonist Cercie Miller, trumpet phenom Jason Palmer, dynamic drummer Yoron Israel, and standout singer Donna Byrne, among others. April 6, 8 p.m. Tickets: $21-$25. Highland Jazz at Newton South High School, 140 Brandeis Road, Newton Centre. 781-237-1917,

    DIANE REEVES The Detroit native, a four-time Grammy Award-winner, is among the finest living jazz singers in the classic, swinging, supple, and sumptuous mode of Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan. April 6, 8 p.m. Tickets: $30-$48. Berklee Performance Center, 617 747-2261,; 617-876-4275,

    JAMES MONTGOMERY The soulful vocalist and energetic hamonica player, a New England blues legend, celebrates the release of his latest CD, “From Detroit to the Delta,” with special guests the Uptown Horns. April 10, 8 and 10 p.m. Tickets: $25. Scullers. 617-562-4111,

    Kevin Lowenthal


    OPERA AT THE SCHOOLS Two new student productions open this weekend, as New England Conservatory takes on Rossini’s seldom spotted opera buffa “La Gazzetta,” with the American premiere of a newly rediscovered Act I quintet (April 6-9, Paramount Theatre, And Boston Conservatory has a staging of Puccini’s “La Bohème” (April 4-7, Boston Conservatory Theatre,


    EARLY MUSIC The Boston Early Music Festival brings back one its most popular guest ensembles – the British vocal group Stile Antico – singing a program of Renaissance masterworks (April 5, St. Paul Church, Cambridge; 617-661-1812, And the Handel and Haydn Society hosts guest conductor and harpsichordist Ian Watson in a program of music by Vivaldi and some of his contemporaries (April 5 and 7, Jordan Hall; 617-266-3605,

    THE PRODIGAL SON Intermezzo offers two performances of Britten’s opera, in honor of the composer’s centenary, with a cast that features Matt DiBattista, Jason McStoots, Paul Guttry, and David McFerrin. Edward Jones conducts and Kirsten Cairns directs the production. April 5-6. First Church, Cambridge. 617-899-4261,

    CHAMELEON ARTS ENSEMBLE The innovative chamber troupe performs music by Schoenberg and a range of his students (Earl Kim, Lou Harrison, and John Cage). Also on the program is a selection by Schoenberg’s own “teacher”: Mozart. April 6, First Church, Boston; April 7, Goethe-Institut Boston. 617-427-8200,

    Jeremy Eichler