Thurs., Sept. 12, John Hiatt and the Combo
Crest Theatre, 7:30 p.m., $35-$65
John Hiatt is an artist's artist—the kind of performer better appreciated by music lovers than casual enthusiasts. He's sort of the American answer to Richard Thompson, a talented guitarist and canny writer whose songs possess both muscle and grace. Almost 30 years after his first release and a variety of guises in between, he's settled on a rootsy sound that blends his native heartland-rock sensibilities with a restless chiaroscuro running from introspective folk to gritty blues. His latest, Mystic Pinball, leans toward the latter with an unfussy, noticeably grimy, soulful stomp behind his lean, flinty baritone. 1013 K Street, www.johnhiatt.com.