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The North Mississippi All Stars, the hottest new blues-based band around, visits The Brewery in Raleigh for a 10:30 p.m. Friday performance. Fronted by guitarist Luther and drummer Cody Dickinson, the sons of veteran Memphis producer Jim Dickinson, The North Mississippi All Stars exploded on the scene last year with the Grammy-nominated Shake Hands With Shorty, a remarkable fusion of rock, hip-hop, world and primitive proto-blues forms on top of a rock solid foundation in the Delta blues. Hear for yourself the blues for the 21st century: Tickets are $8; call 834-7018. --Art MeniusDiamondDiamondDiamond

From the Northern climes comes Wisconsin's Rainer Maria, (pictured left) a brooding trio that--yes--is named after 19-century Austrian poet Rilke. (Legend has it the members first bonded in a poetry workshop.) Lyrically and sonically emo, reaching and ambitious, the vocals of Caithlin De Marrais ache and break free, soaring through a landscape lit by "Artificial Light" as they catalogue "The Contents of Lincoln's Pockets" (at the time of his assassination) on their new album A Better Version of Me. Kyle Fischer's guitar goes from subdued punctuation of De Marrais' anguished vocals to brash guitar chords and fat fuzzy notes that break up over the rolling bass lines. Fischer takes lead on the aforementioned Lincoln song, elsewhere adding backing vocals. If anything, Rainer Maria is almost too earnest, but their literary post-pop captures a generational angst. See them Feb. 4 at Go! Studios. Call 969-1400 for show time and ticket information. --Angie CarlsonDiamondDiamondDiamond

If the month-long run of Ken Burns' Jazz on PBS whetted your appetite for a little live improv, the Saturday, Feb. 3 arrival of Regina Carter is reason enough to hoist your butt off the sofa--and groove. Kicking off at 8 p.m. at N.C. State's Stewart Theatre, the Detroit-bred violinist will reprise tunes from her latest CD, Motor City Moments. Blending art with accessibility, the Motor City menu features unadulterated jazz as well as crispy-fried funk-lite, sandwiched between toasts to past Detroit masters like Thad Jones and Marvin Gaye. It is Carter's rough-edged solos, however, that truly swing the joint. Like an old-time country-blues fiddler, young Carter saws the strings exuberantly, producing a joyous tone with a sandpapered texture. And every note is steeped in soul. In Raleigh, Carter will be accompanied by the same core combo which made Motor City purr like a vintage Fleetwood. Call 515-1100 for ticket information.--Joe Vanderford

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