The week that encompasses Christmas packs plenty of holiday cheer in the form of annual benefits laden with local musicians, plus a celebration for a local band’s milestone anniversary.

Robert Earl Keen

8 p.m. Thursday, House of Blues, $30-$65

When all five living ex-presidents joined Lady Gaga for a Hurricane Harvey relief benefit concert in Texas in October, Robert Earl Keen was among the home state's representatives. He is a bona fide bard of the Lone Star State, drawing on elements of country, folk and rock to create a style and sound that are distinctly Texan in nature. Keen is in the midst of his annual “Merry Christmas From the Fam-O-Lee Tour,” a 19-date holiday-themed jamboree. However, his Thursday stop at the House of Blues is not a Fam-O-Lee show. It will be a straight-ahead Robert Earl Keen concert, with a set list peppered with such fan favorites as “The Road Goes on Forever,” “Corpus Christi Bay” and “Coming Home.”

“Home for the Holidays”

8 p.m. Friday, House of Blues, $47.25

The annual, star-studded “Home for the Holidays” concert at the House of Blues benefits the Daniel Price Memorial Fund for Aspiring Artists, which provides scholarships for musicians and visual artists attending the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. The show features a who’s who of New Orleans music performing brief sets. The roster for the main event boasts Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, James Andrews, Stanton Moore, Eric Lindell, Ivan Neville, the New Breed Brass Band, Sweet Crude, Kermit Ruffins & the Barbecue Swingers, John Boutte, the Revivalists’ David Shaw and more. Additionally, Irma Thomas is slated to sing at a patron party earlier in the evening. It’s a good show for a good cause.

Dirty Dozen Brass Band 40th Anniversary

9 p.m. Saturday, Joy Theater, $40-$75

In 1977, trumpeter Gregory Davis and baritone saxophonist Roger Lewis gathered together a posse of like-minded New Orleans musicians and dubbed themselves the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. They would go on to spark the contemporary brass band revival, intermingling age-old New Orleans standards with modern jazz, R&B, funk and pop elements. With Davis and Lewis still on board, they’ve traveled the world many times over and collaborated with a wide range of artists while releasing landmark albums of their own. This weekend, the Dirty Dozen throws itself a 40th anniversary party at the Joy Theater. The “dozen dirty guests” slated to take part include the Preservation All-Stars, Anders Osborne, "Big" Sam Williams, Ivan Neville, Benny Jones & the Treme Brass Band, George Porter Jr., Walter “Wolfman” Washington, Alvin Ford and former Dirty Dozen drummer Terence Higgins.

Harry Shearer & Judith Owen

7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Le Petit Theatre, $35 adult admission, $70 VIP

Humorist/bassist Harry Shearer and pianist/singer/songwriter Judith Owen have long made New Orleans their second home. Each December, they preside over a house party-style holiday season variety show that benefits local organizations. This year’s two-night “Christmas Without Tears” event at Le Petit Theatre features an eclectic troupe of guest stars, many of them first-time participants. They include, on either one or both nights, actors Bryan Batt, who delivered a particularly bawdy ditty last year; John Goodman and Michael Cerveris; zydeco bandleader Sean Ardoin; cellist Helen Gillet; clarinetist Evan Christopher; pianist Tom McDermott; vocal groups the Pfister Sisters and Solid Harmony; and burlesque performer Trixie Minx. They'll range from sentimental to wildly irreverent holiday songs. The show concludes with Owen presiding over an epic “12 Days of Christmas” singalong. Audience members are encouraged to don related costumes.



The John “Papa” Gros Band grooves at Chickie Wah Wah.


Contemporary Cajun band the Lost Bayou Ramblers teams up with the Pogues’ Spider Stacy for “Poguetry in Motion,” a showcase of reinvented Pogues songs at Tipitina’s; Teddy Lamson opens the show.

Singer-songwriter Paul Sanchez & the Rolling Roadshow stage a Christmas-themed concert at Chickie Wah Wah.

Fred LeBlanc of Cowboy Mouth hosts his annual solo acoustic Christmas show at the Howlin’ Wolf’s On the Porch performance space.


New Orleans funk-rock band Flow Tribe throws down for its annual “Christmas Crunk-tacular” at Tipitina’s.

South Louisiana soul singer Marc Broussard hosts a holiday-themed show at Southport Hall.

Jazz singer Germaine Bazzle and pianist Larry Sieberth celebrate the release of their new live recording with two sets at Snug Harbor.

The Reverend Horton Heat rocks the Howlin’ Wolf, on a bill with the Mike Dillon Band.

The Fortifiers do Chicago-style jump blues and boogie at Chickie Wah Wah.


Guitarists Anders Osborne and John Fohl team up with harmonica player and accordionist Johnny Sansone at Chickie Wah Wah.

After a two-night Christmas break, drummer Herlin Riley restarts the music at Snug Harbor.


Dr. John kicks off a two-night stand at Tipitina’s.

Follow Keith Spera on Twitter, @KeithSpera.

Keith Spera writes about music, culture and his kids.