Best of the day: Lyle Lovett plays to Tampa, Jessica Hernandez serenades St. Petersburg

A few very appealing concerts are taking place tonight on either side of Tampa Bay, one by a music vet, the other by a rising star. Here's what longtime music critic Eric Snider has to say about both:

Back in the late 1980s, country radio started to loosen the reins a bit and let Lyle Lovett in. He certainly didn’t fit anyone’s notion of a country star, with his craggy face, crooked smile and eraser-head hair. Neither did the native Houstonian conform to musical convention. His style borrowed heavily from acoustic folk, jazz, Western swing and more. Lovett’s career has proven remarkably durable. His most recent album, last year’s Release Me, reached No. 9 on the country chart. Lovett leavens his songs and his stage manner with wry humor. And lest anyone forget: Dude landed Julia Roberts! The two were married for a couple of years in the ’90s. On this date, he's joined by his four-piece acoustic group. 6:30 p.m. doors, 7:30 p.m. show, Tampa Theatre, downtown Tampa; tickets are still available at the box office for $62 & $75.

I’m officially dubbing Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas the Sleeper of the Week. Sexy, brassy Hernandez, a Detroit native, is the kind of woman you beg repeatedly for a date, then when she lets you down easy, you still hang around hoping for a glance your way, and maybe a smile. Backed by a sharp quintet of dudes (including a trombonist), Hernandez slinks around the stage, belting out the band’s heady mix of dark-hued soul and timeless rock ’n’ roll, peppered with elements of everything from ska to cabaret. Check out a YouTube video after the jump. 7 p.m. doors, Local 662, St. Petersburg; tickets are $8 at the door.


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