Thursday, Nov. 17
1. Chris Botti: Some people might regard him as the Kenny G of the trumpet. But the suave jazz man is really the next Ed Sullivan. Botti presents a generous, highly entertaining, musical variety show, with one surprise guest after another. It might be an opera singer, a flamenco guitarist or a jazz saxophonist. And the collaborators vary from night to night. Botti is so versatile and that may explain why he's played with a who's who of modern music, including Sinatra, Streisand, Sting, Bocelli, Gaga and Yo-Yo Ma. (9 p.m., also 6:30 & 9 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 3 & 7 p.m. Sun. the Dakota, 1010 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., $85-$160, dakotacooks.com)
Also: Clint Black, the "Killin' Time" hitmaker whose hot streak didn't last as long as those of other 1989 rookies Garth Brooks and Alan Jackson, returns with his wife, singer/actor Lisa Hartman Black (7:30 p.m. Ames Center, $60-$110); New York singing piano man Peter Cincotti just dropped a new single, "Killer on the Keys," in which he salutes Jerry Lee Lewis and Elton John and his own flair for mixing blues and Bach, jazz and rock (7:30 p.m. Crooners, $50-$60).
Friday, Nov. 18
2. Plains: After the personal tumult and triumphant tour behind her 2020 record "Saint Cloud," Katie Crutchfield — the Alabama singer alternately known as Waxahatchee — paired up with friend and fellow Americana strummer Jess Williamson to create this more lighthearted and twangy duo. Their record, "I Walked With You a Ways," is a real charmer, loaded with catchy twang-pop, golden harmonies and inspired songs about moving on. They've been playing some fun covers and a couple Waxahatchee tunes to round out their set list on tour. (9 p.m. First Avenue, 701 1st Av. N., Mpls., $25-$30, axs.com)
3. Steve Vai: The guitar hero — who first came to prominence in the '80s playing with Frank Zappa, David Lee Roth's first post-Van Halen solo band and Whitesnake — is touring behind his 10th solo album, "Inviolate." For the project, Vai created a far-out new instrument, with three necks (12-string and 7-string guitars and 4-string bass) that's featured in the striking video of "Teeth of Hydra," an absorbing instrumental piece that's equal parts medieval and space-age. The guitarist was the subject of a 2022 film, "Steve Vai — His First 30 Years: the Documentary." This month, he promised another new album in January called "Vai/Gash," originally recorded in 1991 with the late singer Johnny "Gash" Sombrotto. (8 p.m. Fitzgerald Theater, 10 E. Exchange St., St. Paul, $45, axs.com)
4. "Our Song, Our Story": Subtitled "The New Generation of Black Voices," this concert will feature two rising opera singers, mezzo-soprano Raehann Bryce-Davis and soprano Raven McMillon, accompanied by a string quartet and pianist Damien Sneed, who created this salute to Marian Anderson and Jessye Norman. The program will feature works by Handel, Mozart, Puccini, Verdi, Strauss, Gershwin and others as well as a newly commissioned piece from the versatile Sneed, who has worked with Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Donnie McClurkin, Wynton Marsalis and Norman, among others. (7:30 p.m. Ordway Concert Hall, 345 Washington St., St. Paul, $13 and up, ordway.org)
Also: Christmas institution Mannheim Steamroller celebrates early this year (8 p.m. Mystic Lake Casino, $39-$110); Matt Wilson & His Orchestra, featuring the former Trip Shakespeare co-leader with acoustic harp, banjo and piano, should sound mighty elegant at the Parkway Theater with Bleek and Grimm, aka Aaron Seymour and Craig Teiken (8 p.m., $22-$30); wicked and wild Atlanta psyche-rock band the Black Lips always pack a wallop in concert and have a strong new album to add to the mix, "Apocalypse Love" (9 p.m. Turf Club, $25); St. Paul indie-pop strummer Lucy Michelle's rock band Little Fevers pairs up with Sam Cassidy (7:30 p.m. Hook & Ladder Mission Room, $10-$15).
Saturday, Nov. 19
5. Rodney Crowell: One of Texas' most poetic and penetrating songwriters has been diagnosed with dysautonomia, a nerve disease that sometimes slows him down. It didn't stop him from delivering last year's aptly titled "Triage," a low-key, reflective album about mortality, sin and redemption. Highlights include the dark, Dylanesque "Something Has to Change," the blues shuffle "I'm All About Love" (in which he mentions Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Greta Thunberg, Jessica Biel and the devil all in one stanza), and the graceful "Hymn #43," co-written with John Leventhal, husband of Crowell's ex, Rosanne Cash, who sings backup. Crowell is trying to heal the world — and himself. (8 p.m. Hopkins Center for the Arts, 1111 Mainstreet, Hopkins, $29-$44, hopkinsartscenter.com)
6. Minnesota Opera: To launch its intimate new Warehouse District space, Minnesota Opera makes a rare venture into Baroque-era opera by presenting George Frideric Handel's "Rinaldo," his tuneful take on war, love and sorcery. But expect no chain mail: This staging moves the action to mid-'80s Wall Street, where old money is doing battle with new. Singing the title role is countertenor Patrick Terry, a University of Minnesota alum who's gone on to perform at London's Royal Opera. (7:30 p.m. also 2 p.m. Sun., Sat.-Sun. through Dec. 3; Luminary Arts Center, 700 First St. N., Mpls., $50-$80, mnopera.org.)
Also: Veteran Twin Cities folk duo Curtis & Loretta celebrate their new album, "Lift the World," with guests Tom Schaefer on fiddle and Sandy Njoes on bass, who both played on the record (8 p.m. Gingko Coffeehouse, $15); the tradition of esteemed Minnesota singer-songwriter John Gorka at the Cedar the Saturday before Thanksgiving resumes after a pandemic hiatus (8 p.m Cedar Cultural Center, $25-$30); after drumming up thousands of donated dollars every week at their Driftwood Char-Bar gig, Terry Walsh and the full Belfast Cowboys ensemble are throwing a big pre-Thanksgiving charity concert for their neighbors-helping-neighbors nonprofit Foothold Twin Cities with guests including Curtiss A, Davina Sowers, Gini Dodds, Dan Israel and more (7:30 p.m. Hook & Ladder Theater, $15-$20); local twang/grit-rock guitar wiz Erik Koskinen heads up a great mishmash of Americana singer/songwriters also featuring Texas vet Will Sexton and his partner Amy LaVere and Long Mama (7:30 p.m. Uptown VFW, $20-$25); Honky-Tonk Jump explores the Western swing of Bob Wills (4 p.m. Crooners, $25-$35).
Sunday, Nov. 20
7. Womenfolk: An inveterate champion of women musicians, Minneapolis DJ/musician/activist Ellen Stanley is celebrating the 20th anniversary of her KFAI radio program, "Womenfolk," in a perfect way. Like her program, her concert will feature some of the best roots and acoustic performers that Minnesota has to offer. Slated to perform are Molly Maher, Jonatha Brooke, Ann Reed, Becky Schlegel, Mary Cutrufello, Ellis Delaney, the OK Factor and Stanley's own alter ego, Mother Banjo. Proceeds will go to KFAI, aka Fresh Air, the community radio station. (7 p.m. Parkway Theater, 4814 Chicago Av. S., Mpls., $15-$30, theparkwaytheater.com)
8. Sa-Roc: The most promising new star on Minneapolis' indie-rap imprint Rhymesayers Entertainment, this Washington, D.C.-raised rapper born Assata Perkins issued her debut for the label, "Sharecropper's Daughter," in the darkest days of the pandemic and is finally getting around to promoting it. The deeply lyrical but infectiously funky collection features the Roots' Black Thought among its guests and is thematically based around generational trauma passed down from slavery. Her longtime DJ/production partner Sol Messiah is on tour with her promoting his own new album, "God Cmplx." (8 p.m. 7th St. Entry, 701 1st Av. N., Mpls., $18-$20, axs.com)
Also: Southside Aces visit the trad jazz of New Orleans with style and spirit (4 p.m. Crooners, $20-$30); Minnesota singer-songwriter Michael Monroe celebrates his 70th birthday with a night of James Taylor songs (7 p.m. Chart House, $35); Twin Cities jazz bassist Graydon Peterson's new project, ThoughtCast, toasts its debut album, "Nimbus in Motion" (9 p.m. Icehouse, $10).
Monday, Nov. 21
The Monday night guest curators this month for Icehouse's weekly jazz series are a family duo, Ivan and Chris Cunningham, who this week are bringing along the Creatures of Prometheus with JC Sandford as well as cellist Michelle Kinney's Herbaceous for a night of improv and experimental playing (8 pm., $12-$15).
Tuesday, Nov. 22
Classic American Rockers, aka the Petersons, explore the classic rock that they've played on tour with Steve Miller Band, Peter Frampton, Stevie Nicks and others (7 p.m. the Dakota, $35-$45).
Wednesday, Nov. 23
9. Ike Reilly Assassination: Neither rain nor sleet nor snow along I-94 has ever sidelined this Thanksgiving Eve gig with steely eyed Libertyville, Ill., rocker Reilly, his brutish band and their diehard Twin Cities audience. It's an annual tradition that dates back to the fanatic local reception for their 2001 album "Salesmen & Racists." Then came COVID. After a somewhat tepid return with masks last year, the floodgates — and all of First Ave's bars — will open again for another full-bore singalong and opening sets by American Scarecrows and Turn Turn Turn. (7:15 p.m. First Avenue, 701 1st Av. N., Mpls., $22-$25, axs.com)
10. Sparta Sound Triple Release: Somewhere "Out There" on the cold Iron Range — to use the title of Rich Mattson & the Northstars' fuzzy-warm new album — there's an incubatory studio and record label named after the small town of Sparta, where Mattson works out of a former church. The latest LP by the veteran of Twin Cities-loved rock bands Ol' Yeller, Glenrustles and Tired Eyes, sounds like a fun, quarantine-fighting tear through CCR, Son Volt and Monkees influences. He's celebrating its release, along with two other bands with new albums produced there: rootsy and bluesy psychedelic trio Chemistry Set and twang-tinged Americana rockers Edie Rae & the Blaze Kings. (7:30 p.m. Parkway Theater, $16-$21, 4814 Chicago Av. S., Mpls., theparkwaytheater.com)
Also: The tribute show Reunion presents the music of Frankie Beverly & Maze, Chaka Khan, the O'Jays, Anita Baker, Whitney Houston and other R&B mainstays, interpreted by some of the Twin Cities finest, including Kathleen Johnson, Cornisha Garmon, Len Jones and Samantha Moon (7 p.m. the Dakota, $20-$35); electronic and experimental U.K. rock band Sorry has struck up a good buzz with its new album "Anywhere But Here," produced by Portishead's Adrian Utley (9 p.m. 7th St. Entry, $15-$18); Minneapolis pop-rocker Colin Bracewell is stepping out at age 21 with a new Thomas Abban-produced EP and a Jeff Buckley-ish emo soul-rock sound (8 p.m. Turf Club, $15).
Classical music critic Rob Hubbard contributed to this column.