DOCTOR NIGHTLIFE is tuning up for the high-Tony Rounder Banjo Round-Up with Tony Trischka, Tony Furtado and Tom Adams, Friday at the Barns ($12; 703/938-2404). Elsewhere: FRIDAY
PIZZARELLI, PATER & FILS --
Jazz guitar fans have a rare opportunity to see heredity in action over back-to-back weekends. The gracious and ruminative Bucky Pizzarelli, currently touring with jazz violinist Johnny Frigo, continues at Cates through this week ($14.50 on Friday and Saturday, $9.50 on Sunday; 202/363-2600). Next Friday and Saturday (Feb. 15 and 16) son John Pizzarelli, whose own guitar-playing had earned him a loyal following at the Algonquin even before he became one of New York's most popular jazz vocalists (and the Manhattan Association of Cabarets' top male vocalist for the last two years), showcases at the King of France Tavern in Annapolis ($12 on Friday, $15 on Saturday; 301/261-2206 or 301/263-2641).
MO BETTER NEWS --
Meanwhile, Joe & Mo's is trying out a little mini-cabaret action of its own on Friday nights between about 10 and 1, with comedian Bill McCuddy emceeing mix-and-match sets by Niki Ryan & Lenny Williams and the Dick Morgan Trio "Plus One" (202/659-1211).
NRBQ + MH, TOO --
There's two good reasons to be excited about NRBQ's two nights (four shows) at the Birchmere: It's the kind of venue that fits them best -- bar style only bigger, which in their case means broader -- and the show also affords a rare glimpse of existentialist-on-strings and ex-Holy Modal Roller Michael Hurley ($17; 703/549-5919 or 202/432-0200). SATURDAY
TWO-TIME TRASH ALERT --
Actually, it's not the lineup that's so strange, it's the venue. The usually blues-and-groove Grog & Tankard borrows a few free-form leaves from d.c. space's book for back-to-back nights at the new Psycho-Delly. The Graverobbers, the Ubangis and Monsters from the Surf (who indeed return to the space on the 23rd) thrash in on a tide of twisted humor on Saturday ($6; 202/333-3114), followed by the overripe obsessions of David E. Williams ($4) on Sunday. Doctor Nightlife is all for the spread of noir, but wonders whatever happened to the Smut Brothers? SUNDAY
KORA, KORA, KORA! --
The traditional music of the 21-string kora is a syncopated, exploratory contemplation, but Toumani Diabate, the 26-year-old griot-caste master of the West Indian harp, has taken it to the far reaches of musical forms: flamenco-rock, Indian raga, and Western jazz and classical music. Diabate performs a solo concert at 5 at Baird Auditorium in the Museum of Natural History ($16; 202/357-3030). THURSDAY
HEART OF THE CITY --
It's only right to get to the heart of things on Valentine's Day; and some of the best roots 'n' rock songwriters in the area get together at d.c. space for an all-acoustic showcase. Head Redeemer Mark Mansfield hosts Confidential Dennis Jay, rockabilly Bobby Smith with country vet collaborator Buzz Busby, Edge City's Jim Patton with Sherry Brokus and the awesome and irresistible Grandsons of the Pioneers ($3; 202/347-1445).
REDNECK BOY TOY --
One of the most underrated pickers in what used to be called Southern boogie rock (which is due a revival, thanks to the revived Allman Brothers Band) is Toy Caldwell, who with his own brother Tommy (who died in 1980) founded the Marshall Tucker Band. Caldwell's playing is swift, mournful, sometimes sweet, and all natural -- no picks required. Caldwell plays at the also revived Zaxx in Springfield ($7; 703/569-2582).