Mike Doughty at Kessler Theater
Leave it to idiosyncratic singer-songwriter Mike Doughty to take the idea of a covers album and turn it outside out. His latest effort, last year's The Flip Is Another Honey, finds the former Soul Coughing mastermind using songs he admires, like John Denver's Sunshine on My Shoulders or Cheap Trick's Southern Girls, as a jumping-off point to reinterpret the songs in his own inimitable way. Apart from guest vocals from Rosanne Cash, Honey is a one-man show, with Doughty repeatedly demonstrating why he's one of the most essential artists making music today, even as the mainstream stubbornly refuses to warm up to his unique ways.
8 p.m. Thursday. Kessler Theater, Dallas. $20-$27.50.
Kelly Clarkson at Verizon Theatre
Kelly Clarkson is the increasingly rare pop star who speaks her mind -- and not in the trying-to-get-TMZ's-attention way. From her gushingly, endearingly awkward Grammys acceptance speech a couple weeks ago to her oh-so-classy eff-you to music mogul Clive Davis in the wake of allegations made in his new memoir (of his disdain for Because of You: "I continued to fight for the song and the label relented. And it became a worldwide hit. He didn't include that in the book."), Clarkson keeps it refreshingly real. The American Idol alum also has a big heart: This hometown-ish show will benefit Opportunity Education Foundation. With Tim Halperin.
8 p.m. Friday. Verizon Theatre, Grand Prairie. $44.25-$154.75.