THE WEEK’S BEST
Style: Chicago blues and how. Backstory: After playing in bands in his native Louisiana, Guy moved to Chicago around 1957 and found himself influenced by Muddy Waters, who can hardly be said to be a bad inspiration when it comes to the blues. Yet it really took a blues revival during the 1990s and beyond to make Guy’s showmanship stick in the minds of a mass audience.
Why you should go: Cited by Eric Clapton as “the best guitar player alive” and inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005, Guy nevertheless is a notably mercurial performer who can deliver the heat one night and go all tepid the next night. Coming off his 2015 album “Born to Play Guitar,” he should be more fiery and consistent.
Time and place: 8 p.m. Friday, Pabst Theater, 144 E. Wells St.
Price: $49.50 to $65 at the box office, (414) 2863663 and pabsttheater.org.
— Jon M. Gilbertson, Special to the Journal Sentinel
Style: Family-values rock and pop.
Backstory: Raised by Canadian folk singer Kate McGarrigle and American folk singer Loudon Wainwright, Martha Wainwright also stood in the shadow of her older brother Rufus until near the end of the last decade, when her talent emerged in a huge and subtle way on her second album, 2008’s “I Know You’re Married But I’ve Got Feelings Too.”
Why you should go: Wainwright’s most recent full-length, “Goodnight City,” came out last year and sustained her reputation for intelligent eccentricity. If she doesn’t get quite so much attention as her brother, that’s not for lack of talent or trying, because she is the equal of anyone else in her family when it comes to pop-rock solidity.
Time and place: 8 p.m. Tuesday, Shank Hall, 1434 N. Farwell Ave.
Price: $25 at the box office, (866) 468-3401 and ticketweb.com. — Jon M. Gilbertson
Style: Old-school R&B to match the name of the group.
Backstory: If Los Angeles isn’t exactly regarded as a soulful town, then it’s just as well Vintage Trouble went to Europe to get its name out there. After touring with Queen guitarist Brian May and New Jersey’s own Bon Jovi, along with AC/DC later on, the quartet began to find traction in its home country, too.
Why you should go: Vintage Trouble is working on a follow-up to 2015’s “1 Hopeful Rd.,” a groovy work that made an impact from California to Austria, Switzerland and Belgium. The foursome can make it happen in the studio but is almost inevitably rawer in person, because that’s how classic soul gets its business going.
Opener: Desi Valentine, a London-to-L.A. soul man.
Time and place: 8 p.m. Wednesday, Turner Hall Ballroom, 1040 N. 4th St.
Price: $20 at the door and in advance through the Pabst. — Jon M. Gilbertson
MARY CHAPIN CARPENTER
Style: Deep American country, folk and rock.
Backstory: In the early 1990s, New Jersey native Carpenter broke wide open with “Come On Come On,” a gigantic, single-generating hit album. She subsequently worked for and with Cyndi Lauper, Tony Rice and Wynonna Judd, and developed a status as a songwriter less interested in the country genre than in her own philosophical muse.
Why you should go: If she’s not as popular as she once was, Carpenter remains industrious, having released four LPs in the 2010s, including last year’s “The Things That We Are Made Of.” She’s got a voice weathered by the years but still beautiful in a folk way, and in person she brings across a homespun intelligence as well as a performer’s intimacy.
Opener: Emily Barker, providing Americana via her UK heritage.
Time and place: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Pabst Theater. Price: $39.50 and $49.50. — Jon M. Gilbertson
MARY CHAPIN CARPENTER