Out and about: Hoodie Allen, Clay Wills, Vagabond Opera and Unknown Mortal Orchestra highlights of musical week in Utah
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Clay Wills

Spotlight show • A singer-songwriter showcase at the Canyons Resort this weekend features some of the country's top talents. Featured artists include Jason Sever, who wrote four songs on Dustin Lynch's self-titled album; Rachel Thibodeau, writer of "Good Directions," the ASCAP Song of the Year; Daphne Willis, whose song "Because I Can" is No. 2 on iTunes' Top 40 Singer/Songwriter chart; Ryan Griffin, who has opened for Lady Antebellum, Luke Bryan, Eric Church and Kip Moore; Lisa Torres, who provides harmony voice with Jason Aldean and Trace Adkins; Chad Raymon, who recently signed with Nashville's Dan Hodges Music and has written hits for Brad Paisley, Clay Walker and Josh Kelley; and Clay Wills, who wrote Darius Rucker's hit "Don't Think I Don't Think About It." In a telephone interview, Wills said he writes five days a week and gets booked several months in advance. That's what writing No. 1 hits and a Grammy nomination — for Trisha Yearwood's "Heaven, Heartache and the Power of Love" — will get you. Wills, who has never performed in Utah, had to cancel three songwriting gigs to make the trip, but he is treating this weekend as a retreat and plans to ski. "I take gigs to play where I haven't been and want to go to," he said. Besides the Friday show, Mills is scheduled to play the Waldorf Powder Lounge sometime between 8 and 10 p.m. on Saturday, March 16.

When • Friday, March 15, at 3 p.m.

Where • Resort Village stage, Canyons Resort, 4000 Canyons Resort Drive, Park City

Tickets • Free

Info • For a full weekend schedule visit canyonsresort.com

Hoodie Allen

Spotlight show • Rapper Hoodie Allen has followed a unique career path. After graduating with a degree in finance and marketing from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, he worked for Google in northern California. Then he quit to focus on music. "This has always been the goal," said Allen in a recent telephone interview. "When you have nothing, you can't call it a goal — it's more like a dream." Allen is touring in support of "All American," the second EP he has released, and which debuted as the No. 1 album on iTunes. The New York state native and songwriter enjoys touring and considers it a job perk. "My job lets me travel to places like Salt Lake City," Allen said. "It's great to see diverse places. … In New York, everyone has an aggressive attitude. Everyone else is so nice." Aer and Jared Evan will also perform.

When • Sunday, March 17, at 8 p.m.

Where • The Complex, 536 W. 100 South, Salt Lake City

Tickets • $17 in advance, $22 day of, at SmithsTix

Vagabond Opera

Spotlight show • Portland, Ore.'s Vagabond Opera, a hybrid opera-cabaret-Gypsy music ensemble, is led by tenor Eric Stern — a classically trained opera singer who swerved. "I was disillusioned," he said in a telephone interview. "I love opera, but I think the Western classical tradition was a deep tradition to be mined. In this country, opera has an institutional mindset. The whole thing seems clunky." So he assembled a group of musicians who also were performance artists and created Vagabond Opera. "Opera tries to get young people involved, but it's not going balls-to-the-wall in a visceral way," Stern said. While there is no explicit storyline, Stern said he likes "people to think they've been on a narrative journey," Local Gypsy-rock ensemble Juana Ghani opens.

When • Monday, March 18, at 8 p.m.

Where • The State Room, 638 S. State St., Salt Lake City

Tickets • $15 at thestateroom.com

Unknown Mortal Orchestra

Spotlight show • Originally from New Zealand, singer, guitarist and songwriter Ruban Nielson is the leader of psychedelic rock band Unknown Mortal Orchestra. He is joined by bassist Jake Portrait and drummer Riley Geare. The trio released its second album, "II," in February on the respected Jagjaguwar label, home of Bon Iver and Dinosaur Jr. New Zealand and the States are much different, said Nielson in an email interview. "It's very small and isolated," he said of New Zealand. "The States are like a big open space to me. One thing that people don't really know about Americans is how warm they are. Warmer than New Zealanders in a lot of ways." Nielson said he finds Portland, where the band calls home, "such a comfortable place for me. The pace, climate and natural beauty remind me of New Zealand in some ways, but there's a whole other element of music, bars, restaurants and strip clubs that isn't really found anywhere else." UMO's success has surprised Nielson. "It exceeded my expectations from the very start," he said. "We're just working really hard and having a lot of fun and riding a wave of good luck. … I'm really proud of what we do live. Some nights I feel like the best band in the world." Foxygen and Wampire are also on the bill.

When • Tuesday, March 19, at 9 p.m.

Where • Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, Salt Lake City

Tickets • $10 in advance, $12 day of, at 24Tix

Don't Stop Please

Spotlight show • Don't Stop Please, an Arkansas-based dance-pop band, will stop in Salt Lake City for a one-night show. Then it will travel to Boise for the Treefort Music Festival. It's the group's first performance in Utah, said multi-instrumentalist Anna Horton, who has driven across the state to get to Burning Man, the annual event in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada. Born in Eureka Springs, Horton said people from all over the world come to her hometown to drink and soak in the springs, which are said to have a healing power. Don't Stop Please is based nearby in Conway, in the Ozark mountains. Despite stereotypes about Arkansas, "There are normal people there," said Horton. After this tour, the ensemble will finish recording its first full-length album for release later this year. The band doesn't plan on visiting Black Rock Desert any time soon. "Guitars and amps don't take too well to the desert," Horton said.

When • Tuesday, March 19, at 9 p.m.

Where • Bar Deluxe, 666 S. State St., Salt Lake City

Tickets • $5 at door

Calvin Harris

Scottish DJ and producer Calvin Harris collaborated with Rihanna, Kelis and Ellie Goulding on his latest album "18 Months."

When • Friday, March 15, at 8 p.m.

Where • Park City Live, 427 Main St., Park City

Tickets • $80 at parkcitylive.net

Drowning Pool

The Dallas-based heavy metal band Drowning Pool is expected to release its next album, "Resilience," on April 15.

When • Friday, March 15, at 6 p.m.

Where • In The Venue, 219 S. 600 West, Salt Lake City

Tickets • $19.50 at SmithsTix.com

The Kingston Trio

The American folk group has been making music together since the late 1950s. Along with a blend of acoustic guitar and banjo, the trio is known for its vocal harmonies.

When • Friday, March 15, at 8 p.m.

Where • Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main St., Park City

Tickets • $39-$70 at egyptiantheatrecompany.org

Gloria Trevi

This Mexican-born singer-songwriter topped Latin music charts in 2011 with her album "Gloria."

When • Friday, March 15, at 9 p.m.

Where • Infinity Event Center, 26 E. 600 South, Salt Lake City

Tickets • $50-$120 at SmithsTix.com

Def Quo

Salt Lake City rap duo will perform. KDZ and Saner.One will open.

When • Friday, March 15, at 7 p.m.

Where • Kilby Court, 741 S. Kilby Court, Salt Lake City

Tickets • $5 at 24Tix.com

The Last Royals

Brooklyn-based indie-pop duo teamed up with The Hush Sound for a West Coast tour. Sydney Wayser also will perform.

When • Tuesday, March 19, at 7 p.m.

Where • Kilby Court, 741 S. Kilby Court, Salt Lake City

Tickets • $13 advance, $15 day of; 24Tix.com

The Last Bison

This six-piece band performs mountaintop chamber music.

When • Wednesday, March 20, at 8 p.m.

Where • Kilby Court, 741 S. Kilby Court, Salt Lake City

Tickets • $8 advance, $10 day of, at 24Tix.com

Caveman

The New York-based indie rockers, currently playing sets at this year's SXSW Festival, will perform in Salt Lake. Caveman's upcoming self-titled album will be released in early April.

When • Wednesday, March 20, at 9 p.m.

Where • Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, Salt Lake City

Tickets • $8 advance, $10 day of, at 24Tix.com