At just 28, Jessica Lea Mayfield has a lifetime of musical experience. At 8, she performed with her family’s bluegrass band, One Way Rider; as a teenager, she made her professional debut; and she has already released four albums of plaintive folk fare. And although Mayfield has always sounded world-weary beyond her years, that’s never been more true than on “Sorry Is Gone,” an album that addresses the damage of her abusive marriage in painful detail (“The human body’s an amazing thing/ Bruises heal and your mind can change”), often with the quicksand tempos and alternately fuzzed-out and reverb-wet guitars of grunge. March 10 at 8 p.m. at Songbyrd. $15-$17.
For nearly two decades, Romeo Santos has been the face and voice of bachata, a genre born in the Dominican Republic that favors bittersweet balladry. First, he fronted Aventura, a Bronx band that fused traditional bachata with R&B and hip-hop and became an international star. Santos went solo in 2011 and doubled down on crossing over, teaming with the likes of Usher, Drake, Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne. But with last year’s “Golden,” he fully embraced bachata — and its en vogue cousin, reggaeton — on the search for a “Despacito” of his own. March 10 at 8 p.m. at Eagle Bank Arena.
As K.Flay, Kristine Flaherty gruffly spits old-school hip-hop flows over a mélange of indie rock and electronic pop. On last year’s “Every Where Is Some Where,” Flaherty walked to the edge and peered into the abyss, finding songs bluesy and brooding but not unapproachable. To be clear, her rapping doesn’t have anything to do with hip-hop at large, but she’s technically proficient, as when she raps, “In a world full of uptight gentlemen I wanna find a boy smelling like sweet cinnamon to quote some Tennyson while we take Benadryl to make my head a bit extra light.” For a self-described “Suburban Rap Queen,” that’s perfect. March 12 at 7:30 p.m. (doors) at the 9:30 Club. $20.
There’s no better country music weather vane than Lee Ann Womack. The Texan star started her career in the Dolly Parton mold before going pop with the massive ballad “I Hope You Dance.” Then she went traditional for a few albums, and when she emerged from a six-year hiatus in 2014, there was a rootsy rawness to her lived-in tales. Now she has recorded an album perfect for the neo-traditionalist moment: the grayscale “The Lonely, the Lonesome & the Gone,” which finds her once-delicate birdsong taking on a weathered, worn quality befitting all the places she’s been. March 15 at 8 p.m. at Ram’s Head On Stage. $65. March 23 at 7:30 p.m. (doors) at the Birchmere .$35.