COUNTRY STRONG: KRIS KRISTOFFERSON, LYLE LOVETT
If you loved Ken Burns’ Country Music documentary, you’re going to want to hit up the Nancy and David Bilheimer Capitol Theatre over the next couple of months. A host of classic country and Americana icons will hit the Cap stage this spring, including Rodney Crowell (Jan. 31), Lucinda Williams (Feb. 7-8) and Ricky Skaggs (April 4). And it all gets started with two heavyweights this week.
First up is songwriting icon Kris Kristofferson, who was more than just the Jackson Maine of his day (having starred in the 1976 A Star Is Born and all). He was a major focus of country music because of his poetic lyrics and beloved songs, like Me and Bobby McGee and Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down, not to mention his collaborations with Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson in the Highwaymen. The last time Kristofferson played the Cap, John Prine dropped in as a surprise guest. Who knows who will stop by this time. Robert Earl Keen opens. $55 and up. 7 p.m. Sunday.
After Kristofferson comes a two-night stand from courtly Texas gentleman Lyle Lovett, a Hollywood presence in his own right, thanks to his movie roles and cameos and tabloid romance with Julia Roberts. Lovett will strip his dance hall ditties down a bit with his acoustic group, playing the ornate but intimate Cap for the first time. $69.50 and up. 8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday. 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. (727) 791-7400. atthecap.com.
PIRATE OF LOVE: MICHAEL BOLTON
With Gasparilla fast approaching, who better to kick off your weekend bacchanal than Jack Sparrow himself? Okay, it’s Michael Bolton, not Johnny Depp. And Said I Loved You ... But I Lied may not exactly be a party jam. But Bolton did achieve viral mega-success with his 2011 Lonely Island collaboration Jack Sparrow, which gave his career an unlikely comedic boost. “The curious thing about it is, it’s over 200 million views, and you’d think that everybody knows it,” Bolton said recently of Jack Sparrow. “But it’s actually such a younger demographic, from 12-year-olds to 40-year-olds. So we tend to just feel out the audience. They come for the hits, and Jack Sparrow — which I consider the gift that keeps on giving — is not known in all of the venues in all of the cities where I perform.” But you can be sure people pregaming for Gasparilla will know it when Bolton comes to Tampa the night before the parade. $70 and up. 8 p.m. Friday. Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, 5223 Orient Road, Tampa. (813) 387–9838. seminolehardrocktampa.com.
GOOD SPORTS: BLACK FLAG
There’s not a lot that screams punk about playing a sports bar where patrons inside will be scarfing down burgers and Bud Light. But we’ll give Black Flag a pass here, since O.G. punk icons Henry Rollins and Keith Morris are long gone, and new singer Mike Vallely is actually an athlete himself. The pro skateboarding veteran has held down Black Flag’s lead vocals since 2013, lending a bit of street cred to founding guitarist Greg Ginn’s legendary SoCal group. It may be the only old-school punk show this season where people inside will be locked into hockey and basketball on the big screens, but Black Flag always loved going their own way, so maybe the venue fits. $19.50 and up. 7 p.m. Friday. Ferg’s Sports Bar, 1320 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. (727) 822-4562. fergssportsbar.com.
LYRICAL GUYS: WILL HOGE, TODD SNIDER
There are plenty of great lyricists working in every genre these days, from pop to hip-hop to metal. But if your thing is gritty, confessional, authentic singer-songwriter stuff, then you should get to Ybor City this weekend to check out two of the best. First up is Will Hoge, a Southern country-rocker who over the last couple of years has turned his glaring eye toward politics, lambasting the Confederate flag on Still a Southern Man and gun violence on Thoughts and Prayers. $40 and up. 8 p.m. Thursday. The Attic, 1510 E Eighth Ave., Tampa. (813) 241-0110.
Then it’s Todd Snider, whose biting commentary on class, capitalism and violence is all over his latest album Cash Cabin Sessions, Vol. 3. That album was recorded in a studio built from a favorite old getaway of the Man in Black, which no doubt inspired the sparse, woodsy The Ghost of Johnny Cash. $28 and up. 8 p.m. Friday. Centro Asturiano, 1913 Nebraska Ave., Tampa. (813) 238-8001. wmnf.org.