15 can’t-miss concerts in Boston this January

From Kacey Musgraves to Steve Earle, Noname to Neko Case.

Kacey Musgraves performs "Slow Burn" at the 52nd annual CMA Awards at Bridgestone Arena on Nov. 14, 2018, in Nashville. –Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

An annual live music experiment that matches some of Boston’s finest talents and a Grammy Album of the Year nominee are just two of this city’s January music events.

Storied songwriters

Juan Wauters
Uruguayan folkateer Juan Wauters spent his early years fronting Brooklyn-based garage rock trio The Beets before opting for more acoustic sounds as a solo outfit. Mixing elements of his early punk sensibility with Spanish folk melodies, the songwriter will play Great Scott behind his upcoming third album, “A Volar.” (Sunday, Jan. 20 at 9:15 p.m.; Great Scott, Boston; $12; 18+; tickets available here)

Steve Earle with Special Guests
Folk stalwart Steve Earle has had a legendary career, releasing 16 albums, scoring three Grammys, and writing songs that have been recorded by Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris, and Vince Gill. The singer will play a string of dates throughout the winter with special guests at various City Wineries in the U.S., including two nights in January at the Boston location. (Friday, Jan. 11 at 8 p.m. and Wednesday, Jan. 23 at 8 p.m.; City Winery, Boston; $45-$60; all ages; with Paul Cauthen (1/23); tickets available here)

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Neko Case
Washington-based singer Neko Case rose to fame as a founding member of Canadian indie rock band The New Pornographers. Since branching out for a solo endeavor in the early 2000s, Case has had a prolific career that has spawned five successful albums. Traveling in support of 2018’s “Hell-On,” she’ll play Royale with the help of Berklee grad and indie-folk strummer Margaret Glaspy. (Thursday, Jan. 24 at 8 p.m.; Royale, Boston; $36-$39; 18+; with Margaret Glaspy; tickets available here)

Listen locally

Ed Balloon residency
Mixing elements of electronic, R&B, and hip-hop, local performer Ed Balloon creates sounds that are hard to pin down to one single genre. It’s no surprise that his Wednesday night residency at Great Scott in January will feature fellow Bostonians of many different styles, from electropop collective NEON BLK to Roxbury-based lyricist Oompa. (Wednesday, Jan. 2 at 8:30 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 9 at 8:30 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 16 at 8:30 p.m.; Wednesday, Jan. 23 at 8:30 p.m.; Great Scott, Boston; $10-$12; 18+; with NEON BLK (1/2), Garth. and Cliff Notez (1/9), VQNC and Niu Raza (1/16), Oompa and Billy Dean Thomas (1/23); tickets available here)

One Night Band
Launched in 2009 as an experiment to bring local musicians from various genres together, One Night Band features 40 of Boston’s best players from various corners of the music scene. Over the course of a single day, these artists will form eight bands, collectively construct three-song sets, perform these newly-minted tunes at The Sinclair, and raise money for music education initiative Zumix. (Saturday, Jan. 12 at 8 p.m.; The Sinclair, Cambridge; $15; 18+; tickets available here)

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Guster
Indie rockers and notable Tufts alumni Guster have been a local staple for more than two decades, so Boston shows typically have a homecoming feel to them. Fueled by the steam of the band’s eighth record, this month’s “Look Alive,” Guster will take the stage at House of Blues, joined by Vermont-based songwriter Henry Jamison. (Saturday, Jan. 19 at 7 p.m.; House of Blues, Boston; $45-$65; all ages; with Henry Jamison; tickets available here)

Honey Cutt
Sunny indie pop trio Honey Cutt are regulars of Allston’s array of bars and basements, having shared the stage with Bully, Gus Dapperton, Varsity, and many more in 2018. The band will launch into 2019 by headlining a loaded bill at O’Brien’s that also will feature Brooklyn quartet Dig Nitty, fellow Allstonians Banana, and North Shore rockers Dark Tones. (Tuesday, Jan. 29 at 8 p.m.; O’Brien’s Pub, Boston; $8; 18+; with Dig Nitty, Banana, Dark Tones; tickets available here)

Eclectic and energetic


Danish synthpop star MØ has collaborated with the likes of Major Lazer, Justin Bieber, and Charli XCX, on top of releasing two successful albums of her own. Touring behind October’s sophomore record, “Forever Neverland,” the songwriter will maker her way to House of Blues, along with Atlanta-bred singer Abra. (Sunday, Jan. 20 at 7 p.m.; House of Blues, Boston; $28; all ages; with Abra; tickets available here)  

Rubblebucket
Vermont-bred indie pop collective Rubblebucket has always had a close relationship with Boston, cutting their teeth in local clubs throughout their early years as a band. Now, more than a decade since their formation and five albums later, the band will return to the Paradise in support of their latest record, “Sun Machine.” (Friday, Jan. 25 at 8 p.m.; Paradise Rock Club, Boston; $22; 18+; with Diet Cig; tickets available here)

Hip-hop heavy hitters

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Noname
Chicago-born poet Noname launched to recognition with a feature on Chance the Rapper’s acclaimed 2013 mixtape “Acid Rap.” In the years since, the songwriter’s signature brand of vibrant hip-hop has gone viral, earning her back-to-back nights headlining Royale. (Thursday, Jan. 10 at 7 p.m. and Friday, Jan. 11 at 7 p.m.; Royale, Boston; $25-$30; all ages; tickets available here)

Dead Prez
New York rap vets Dead Prez have been crafting politically-charged hip-hop since the mid-’90s, steadily putting out mixtapes and albums, and even being the subjects of a Starz documentary in 2006. Joined by local lyricist Rex Mac, the duo will make its way to Brighton Music Hall. (Friday, Jan. 18 at 8 p.m.; Brighton Music Hall, Boston; $22; 18+; with Rex Mac; tickets available here)

Feel-good funk

Lettuce
Boston funk vets Lettuce have been one of the premier party bands in New England since forming in the early ’90s. Combining a mix of soul and R&B covers with six albums’ worth of instrumentally-driven tunes of their own, a Lettuce show is always a good excuse to get your body moving. (Friday, Jan. 11 at 7 p.m.; House of Blues, Boston; $28.50-$41; all ages; with Ghost-Note; tickets available here)

G. Love and Special Sauce
Funky Philadelphian G. Love has worn many hats over the past few decades, from getting his start playing Mondays at The Plough and Stars in Cambridge to trying his hand at folk, hip-hop, and country styles in his many records since. Joined by his band Special Sauce, the singer will play the Paradise to mix some sunny soul into the January cold. (Saturday, Jan. 26 at 7:30 p.m.; Paradise Rock Club, Boston; $35-$99; 18+; tickets available here)

Southern sounds

Kasey Musgraves
Texas-born singer Kasey Musgraves had an enormous 2018, releasing her fourth record, “Golden Hour,” to success with both country and pop audiences. Nominated for Album of the Year at this year’s Grammys, Musgraves will bring her Oh, What a World Tour to Boston to play the Wang Theatre. (Saturday, Jan. 19 at 8 p.m.; Boch Center Wang Theatre, Boston; $132-$421; all ages; with Natalie Prass; tickets available here)

Greensky Bluegrass
Michigan-based country collective Greensky Bluegrass has come a long way since forming in 2000, embracing a more plugged-in sound in recent years, but still centering around live improvisation and an overall rootsy sound. The band’s latest release, 2016’s “Shouted, Written Down & Quoted,” launched them to larger venues, including a headlining spot at their biggest Boston room to date, House of Blues. (Wednesday, Jan. 30 at 7 p.m.; House of Blues, Boston; $27.50; all ages; with Billy Strings; tickets available here)

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March 12, 2019 | 9:01 AM