J.J. Grey & Mofro
8 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 29
J.J. Grey is slinging blues like a rejuvenated man these days. Lately, he’s been known to ruminate on stage about going through the motions early in his career like a rudderless fan boat, but eventually finding a newfound sense of purpose in his music and in life on the road. The irony behind all of this is the genuineness and fiery underbelly that stretches across his entire catalog — there was little to suggest that he was never all-in on his steamy brand of swamp soul and gritty, slippery blues. Whatever got him there, his effervescent gigs are not to be missed. The Commonheart kicks things off. Doors 7 p.m. $30 adv/$35 door. www.crestsacramento.com.
James Hunter Six
7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 31
Such a devoted throwback is James Hunter that a half-century of evolution and genre splits in the blues seem to evaporate under his thumb, leaving one marooned in a time warp where the swinging brass-fueled cocktail lounge R&B soul of the ‘50s and ‘60s still reigns supreme. “Whatever it Takes,” his latest offering, continues to build upon this dapper gent’s stylish and free swinging revival of perhaps the genre’s most robust and glitzy period. Swinging soulman Marcel Smith opens things up. Doors 6:30 p.m. $35 adv./$40 door. www.harlows.com.
Black Star Safari with Mojo Green
9 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26
You may know guitarist Dan Green as the frontman of jammy indie act Ten Foot Tiger, but his wiles as half of the duo Black Star Safari (with drummer Matthew Mandella) is his opportunity to jab some hard-cutting electric funk riffs into a rich bedrock of rumbling blues and folk (with a few undertones of reggae for good measure). The feisty duo opens this show and will give way to sweat-beading Torch Club soul-funk stalwarts Mojo Green. $8. www.torchclub.net.
Looking ahead: Tedeschi Trucks Band. May 21 at Memorial Auditorium
It’s been awhile since we’ve written “Memorial Auditorium” in this space! The ol’ gal will be back this spring, fresh off her recent renovations, and hosting blues power couple Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks and their fireballing band — and with (wow!) Los Lobos opening. www.sacramentoconventioncenter.com