The options for live music in New Orleans the week of April 4-10 include a durable alternative rock band and an even more durable icon of country music.
Death Cab for Cutie
9 p.m. Tuesday, Orpheum Theater, $35-$65
Death Cab for Cutie broke out of Bellingham, Washington, in the late 1990s as an indie rock band with a melodic — and melancholic — slant. The tone of Ben Gibbard’s voice sometimes recalls Jon Anderson of Yes. But Gibbard and his bandmates specialize in succinct, sometimes propulsive, sometimes poignant songs. Their platinum-selling 2005 masterpiece “Plans” yielded the enduring “Soul Meets Body,” “Marching Bands of Manhattan” and “I Will Follow You Into the Dark,” Gibbard’s solo-acoustic meditation on a relationship that endures beyond death. The band released its ninth studio album, “Thank You for Today,” in August, the first with new bandmembers Dave Depper and Zac Rae on keys and guitars. The urgent single “Northern Lights” managed to sound like classic Death Cab for Cutie yet also invigorated and of the moment. My Brightest Diamond joins Death Cab for Cutie at the Orpheum Theater on Tuesday.
8 p.m. (doors) Saturday, House of Blues, $40-$110
An alternative-country icon even before the term was coined, Lucinda Williams was born in Lake Charles and spent her formative years in New Orleans before setting off on a never-ending road. Her early compositions included “Passionate Kisses” (a hit for Mary Chapin-Carpenter) and “Changed the Locks” (which Tom Petty covered). Her own Grammy-winning, gold-certified 1998 album “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road” established her bona fides as a recording artist at the crossroads of country, folk and rock. She’s been looking back a lot lately. In 2017, she rerecorded and rereleased her 1992 album “Sweet Old World,” retitled it “This Sweet Old World,” and added four bonus tracks and new arrangements of the original songs. Her current tour, stopping at the House of Blues on Saturday with Buick 6, celebrates the 20th anniversary of “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road.” She’ll play the record in its entirety in the first set, then return for a second set drawn from throughout her career.
Willie Nelson & Family
7 p.m. (doors) Tuesday, Fillmore New Orleans, $74.50-$124.50
At 85 years old, the American music icon that is Willie Nelson continues to tour and record relentlessly; like fellow legends Tony Bennett and the late B.B. King, he apparently intends to keep doing what he does until the very end. Buddy Cannon, Nelson's co-writer and producer of the past decade, has called Nelson a “jazz singer and jazz player. He's an improvisational musician. It's different every time. Get a good take and go with it." That approach resulted in the 11 new songs on Nelson's 67th studio album, “Last Man Standing," released in April 2018. Four months later, he dropped yet another new album, “My Way,” a tribute to his friend Frank Sinatra. Nelson was originally scheduled to perform at the Fillmore New Orleans on Feb. 27, but the date was rescheduled for Tuesday (April 9). Tickets for the original date will be honored. The show is open to all ages.