Amelia's Mechanics, Jim Avett
The Pour House—Fresh-faced Greensboro trio Amelia's Mechanics cite Lucinda Williams and Gillian Welch—two poets with voices that have given as much to Americana songwriting as perhaps any other pair in these last two decades—as primary influences. And sure, you can hear that, especially in the specificity of the younger group's language. The details of "John Cash Jeans"—lined with allusions to heroes and complaints about the car stereo—and the playful zest of "French Press" certainly suggest those forebears. But there's a hardscrabble, pioneer sort of resilience to both Welch's and Williams' music. Despite what the oil-and-iron name might suggest, Molly, Molly and Kasey (Miller, McGinn and Horton, respectively) swap that toughness for a more midtown-Manhattan take on country music, using luxuriating harmonies and viola swells to temper frustrations with love and life. Think Norah Jones reinterpreting Neko Case and exaggerating an accent, and you're close.
There's nothing cosmopolitan about opener Jim Avett, a Concord, N.C., singer who not only fathered two famous sons but also instilled in them a great vocabulary of song. His aged, resilient voice is a plain instrument, comfortable in its sincerity and confident with its delivery. Avett's working on a new album, and he's been collaborating with the Mechanics. But that's only extraneous: He's a wonderful fount of stories and sights, and his performances feel like front-porch afternoons. Also, Carolina Roadkill. Tickets for the 9:30 p.m. show cost $6 in advance or $8 at the door. See www.the-pour-house.com. —Grayson Currin
Girls Guns and Glory
Berkeley Cafe—With songs bred on honky-tonk but seduced by the lightning ring of electric guitar and the thundering power of drums, Girls Guns and Glory play with the excitement of early rock 'n' rollers. Ward Hayden's twangy, soulful crooning drips with machismo as he sings about pining for and stealing other men's women. Hayden fully controls his sensitive but bad-boy image when he sings something like, "God only knows what I'd do to get you outta them clothes" like a silky smooth Johnny Cash. John Howie Jr. and The Sweethearts open, keeping the ballads acoustic and drawling. Pay $10 at 8 p.m. See www.berkeleycafe.net. —Andrew Ritchey
The Italian Job
Galaxy Cinema—Before Mark Wahlberg and company rode around in tricked-out Mini Coopers in 2003, Michael Caine's band of thieves had their own Italian job. Directed by Peter Collinson, this 1969 British caper film features Caine as Charlie Croker, a mobster recently released from prison who promises to help his friend's widow avenge her husband's death against the Mafia. Croker recruits a group of misfits to help pull off this heist, all the while personifying that image of 1960s cool Britannia. The cult classic will be screened at 7:30 p.m. in conjunction with the N.C. Museum of Art. Tickets are $3.50 for Museum, Cinema Inc. and Galaxy Cinema members; general admission is $5. Visit www.ncartmuseum.org and www.mygalaxycinema.com. —Belem Destefani
Burning Coal Theatre—Emilie Stark-Menneg, who recently made a strong impression in Peace College's production of The Winter's Tale, takes center stage in this one-woman production of Declan Feenan's Limbo. The darker underside of a story like An Education, Limbo centers on Claire, a 17-year-old whose affair with an older man leads to her present state of uncertainty. This marks the U.S. premiere of Feenan's play and is only the second production of his work in this country. (Feenan will be in attendance for the March 11 performance.) The play, directed by Joshua Benjamin, runs today through March 21 at the Meymandi Theatre at the Murphey School. Performances are Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. All tickets are $15 except Thursday night tickets, which are $10 apiece. Visit www.burningcoal.org. —Zack Smith