Zach Bryan at PPG Paints Arena; Benedum Center Hosts Jason Isbell; Howard Hewett at City Winery (Sat., 3/9/24)

1) Not many singer-songwriters have gotten over 26 million YouTube hits on a song that they recorded on a smartphone … outside a U.S. Navy barracks at night … while they were in the Navy. That’s what Zach Bryan did with “Heading South” in 2019, and it set him on a path to country-rock stardom. During eight years of active duty, Bryan wrote songs in his free time and began uploading performances to the web. He hit the jackpot when “Heading South” went viral. And since returning to civilian life to do music full-time, he’s been on a prolific fast track. Last year, Bryan released his self-titled fourth album while taking home the Academy of Country Music’s New Male Artist of the Year award, plus Billboard’s Top New Artist (covering all genres), Top Rock Artist, Top Rock Album (2022’s American Heartbreak, also nominated for Top Country Album), and more. His plaintive, soulful single “I Remember Everything”—with Kacey Musgraves—is quiet dynamite. Now Bryan plays PPG Paints Arena on his Quittin’ Time Tour with guests The Middle East and Levi Turner. The show is sold out, so do what you do to obtain tickets legally anyhow. 7 p.m. 1001 Fifth Ave., Uptown. (M.V.)

2) Singer-songwriter-guitarist Jason Isbell and his band, The 400 Unit, are playing the Benedum Center this month. Isbell hails from Green Hill, Alabama, and is a former member of Drive-By Truckers, He continues in the alt-country tradition. Songs like “Cover Me Up” and “Goddamn Lonely Love” showcase his rich vocals and songwriting talents. Isbell’s first solo album was 2007’s Sirens of the Ditch. 2013’s Southeastern, which he began after time in rehab and finished shortly after his wedding to Amanda Shires (divorced this year), was a career breakthrough: it debuted at no. 23 on the Billboard 200. His 2015 release Something More Than Free won the Grammy for Best Americana Album. Isbell’s latest album is Weathervanes, released in June of  2023. It won the 2023 Grammy Award for Best Americana Album and reached no. 2 on the Billboard Top Rock Albums chart. Isbell and the 400 Unit were headliners at the Maple House Music Festival at Hartwood Acres in May 2022. 8 p.m. Sold out. 237 7th St., Cultural District. (R.H., C.M.)

3) Howard Hewett, along with Jody Watley and Jeffrey Daniel, were core elements of the band Shalamar. The group created legendary hit songs like: “A Night to Remember,” “Make That Move,” “The Second Time Around,” and “This is for the Lover in You.” Their songs were some of the top dance hits of the late ’70s and early ’80s. Watley would go onto have a very successful solo career. Hewitt continued with Shalamar in different iterations and is also a popular solo artist. He will be in concert at City Winery to play some of his and Shalamar’s biggest songs. 6:30 p.m. 1627 Smallman St., Strip District. (R.H.)

4) If you prefer a fun yet more dignified celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, then Club Cafe‘s annual The Calm Before the Storm – A Night of Traditional and Contemporary Irish Music and Song with Mark Dignam & Friends might be the ticket for you. Mark Dignam was raised in Finglas, a North Side Dublin suburb, where he showed early aptitude as a singer. He moved to Dublin at 18 and began busking on Grafton Street. He is now Pittsburgh-based and performs with his band, The House of Song. This year’s concert will feature a nod to Sinead O’Connor and Shane MacGowan. The tradition continues. 7:30 p.m. 56 – 58 S. 12th St., South Side. (C.M., R. H.)

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Rick Handler

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