Gov’t Mule with The Record Company (March 4, Brooklyn Bowl) Showcasing the fluid twang-blues of ex-Allman Brother Warren Haynes, the Mule really sprawls out live, with sets that find a grizzled groove while balancing jammy indulgences and well-chosen covers. Show up early: The LA-based opener is one of the most promising young blues-rock outfits around.
Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band (March 10-11, Orleans Showroom) The titular guitarist—a blues prodigy who has aged into a nuanced instrumentalist—remains a joy to watch. And the rest of the band, which includes honeyed-soul lead singer Noah Hunt, and ex-Stevie Ray Vaughan drummer Chris Layton, crafts a boogie-rock backdrop that’s irresistible.
Jason Isbell (March 16, House of Blues) The alt-country darling has been polishing up the successor to 2015’s Something More Than Free in Nashville. In the meantime, he and his trusty sidekicks, the almighty 400 Unit, are staying sharp on the road. Expect the usual display of roaring, scuffed-up Americana—and a setlist that includes songs he recorded with his former band, Drive-By Truckers.
Donovan Frankenreiter with Grant-Lee Phillips (March 23, Brooklyn Bowl) Frankenreiter, a surfer-turned-rocker who was once signed to Jack Johnson’s label, specializes in stoner-folk tranquility and mellow grooves. Phillips, meanwhile, is fresh off reprising his role on Gilmore Girls, and also released a fantastic LP in 2016, intimate Americana collection The Narrows.
Lyle Lovett and Vince Gill (March 24, Smith Center) The Nashville icons team up for a rare night of stripped-down, collaborative and solo performances. Along with acoustic versions of beloved country hits, expect to hear plenty of Lovett’s wry humor and insights, along with Gill’s vivid stories.
Nikki Lane (March 25, Beauty Bar) On her assertive new album, Highway Queen, this outlaw-country pistol Lane shows off her loose and lively, full-band sound—and her adventurous spirit. Exhibit A: Her Vegas-filmed video for pedal-steel barn burner “Jackpot,” featuring Lane hocking her guitar at Cowtown, hanging at the El Cortez and getting married by Elvis.
Robert Randolph and the Family Band (March 28, Brooklyn Bowl) The pedal-steel wizard and his troupe of ace musicians are fond of throwing a sweaty, old-fashioned shindig incorporating elements of soul, blues, gospel and classic rock. Expect some tunes from the group’s upbeat, fiery new album, Got Soul, which Randolph told Billboard he hoped would “feel like a rock ’n’ roll church.”
Chris Stapleton with Maren Morris (March 30, the Pearl) The rugged, roots-soul insurgent— who’ll open for Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers at Wrigley Field in August—is preparing to release the follow-up to 2015’s breakout Traveller on May 5. Be sure to show up early for Morris, a country darling whose “My Church” nabbed the Grammy for Best Country Solo Performance.
Old 97’s (April 2, Vinyl) Rhett Miller and his Dallas alt-country vets recently released a new album, Graveyard Whistling. Between the (literally) head-spinning “Drinkin’ Song” and the folk-blues cautionary tale “Good With God” (featuring Brandi Carlile), the LP is a firecracker.