Concert Previews

The Handsome Family's Rennie and Brett Sparks.
The Handsome Family's Rennie and Brett Sparks. (JASON CREPS)
Posted: June 28, 2013

Brad Paisley

Until "Accidental Racist," the well-meaning but ham-handed attempt at a race-related conversation with LL Cool J on his new album Wheelhouse, Brad Paisley did pretty much everything right in his career. And though the country guitar slinger may never live down "Racist," it should be noted that the truly offensively stupid lyrics (specifically "If you don't judge my gold chains, I'll forget the iron chains") on the deservedly lambasted song come out of LL's mouth. It'll be interesting to see if Paisley, who sat in with the Rolling Stones on "Dead Flowers" at the Wells Fargo Center last week, performs "Racist" in Camden this weekend, or runs and hides from the ill-considered career move and sticks to the wry, witty, sharply observant updated honky-tonk tunes that have otherwise made him one of country's most worth-rooting-for stars.

- Dan DeLuca

WXTU anniversary show with Brad Paisley, Chris Young, Lee Brice, and the Henningsens at the Susquehanna Bank Center, 1 Harbour Blvd., Camden, at 7 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $76.50. Phone: 856-365-1300,

Buddy Guy

It's not often that the word legendary stands as an undertstatement, but it does when applied to Buddy Guy. The man is regarded with reverence by just about everyone who has ever picked up an electric guitar. With ample reason. Guy's stinging, swinging style and rousing showmanship defined the Chicago blues and helped usher in the rock era. As the house guitarist at Chess Records in the '60s, he bolstered everyone from Howlin' Wolf to Koko Taylor. And he's still going strong: He celebrates his 77th birthday next month with a double disc, Rhythm & Blues, that features guest stars like Keith Urban and Gary Clark Jr. Come out to Longwood Gardens, where the ground is soft, and bow down to Buddy. - David Hiltbrand

Buddy Guy plays at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Longwood Gardens' Open Air Theatre, 1001 Longwood Rd., Kennett Square. Tickets $45-$69. Information: 610-388-1000,

The Handsome Family

Although all the songs on the Handsome Family's Wilderness are titled after critters - "Lizard," "Frogs," "Owls," "Octopus" - the real subject is the peculiar possibilities of human psychology. Most of the songs involve characters, some of them historical, whose aberrant perceptions lead them to obsessive behaviors. The window-smashing woman of "Woodpecker," the doctor whose unreciprocated love leads him to turn into a gull, the townspeople driven to crazed dancing by a tonic that may be only water. The lyrics, written by Rennie Sparks, have the aura of myth or folktale; the songs, composed and sung by her husband, Brett Sparks, build on Appalachian murder ballads, midcentury country weepers, and old parlor songs (sometimes directly, since Stephen Foster makes an appearance in "Wildebeest"). These grim fairy tales are full of empathy and insight.

- Steve Klinge

The Handsome Family and Sean Rowe play Friday at 8 p.m. at World Cafe Live Upstairs, 3025 Walnut St. Tickets: $15-$17. Information: 215-222-1400,

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