The dynamic duo of John Hiatt and Robert Cray — plus their bands — should incite plenty of righteous howls at the zoo. Both are touting new albums featuring their customarily exceptional songwriting, but also with relatively surprising fresh twists from each. Bluesman Cray, whose contemporary touches have sometimes helped him climb the charts, digs into Memphis soul on In My Soul, stirring up a Stax/Hi vibe on band originals while also covering Isaac Hayes and Otis Redding. Hiatt (pictured), who's always messing around with some combination of rootsy rock, country, and blues, dives head first into gritty, acoustic blues on his forthcoming Terms of My Surrender. He even dusts off his harmonica and goes all Little Walter on a few cuts. As always, his clever lyrics tell vivid tales of love, redemption, and pain, laced with biting satire, poignancy, and scathing commentary, exemplified by the apocalyptic "Wind Don't Have to Hurray."
Mon., June 23, 7:30 p.m., 2014