As a solo artist Dave Alvin continues to mine the rich lore of American roots music he first drew on as the songwriter and guitarist for the Blasters–blues, R & B, rockabilly, country, jazz, gospel, and more. He mixes these genres with the relaxed assurance you’d expect from a man who learned his chops from Big Joe Turner and T-Bone Walker and infuses them with a dark, edgy energy reminiscent of X, to which he belonged just long enough to write “Fourth of July.” Mostly though, Alvin seems blessed with an enormous heart, which allows him to tap the vast emotional richness of his sources and be inspired by them in turn. The soul, guts, and muscle of his music set him apart from most rock and country acts, not to mention the attitude-laden alternative rock set. Coupled with his songwriting skills, this emotionalism often yields extraordinary results. His latest solo offering, Museum of Heart, isn’t his best collection of songs (I’d give that distinction to the superb 1991 release Blue Blvd.); the record dwells almost exclusively on lost love and loneliness. But even the least of Alvin’s material is redeemed by his robust energy and expansive delivery. In concert, of course, he’ll be able to draw on material that covers some of his other ongoing concerns: the cause of the downtrodden (“Rich Man’s Town”), U.S. history (“Andersonville”), legendary musicians fallen from grace (“Long White Cadillac”), and the promise of redemption (“Dry River”). Friday, 9 PM, Cubby Bear, 1059 W. Addison; 327-1662 or 477-7469. Saturday, 10 PM, FitzGerald’s, 6615 Roosevelt, Berwyn; 708-788-2118.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Beth Herzhaft.