Border Cantos is a timely, new and free exhibit now on view at Crystal Bridges.
At Cajun's party band extraordinaire the Gettys headline, 9 p.m., $5. Local shimmering indie-rockers Kingsdown play On the Rocks with the Radio Sky, 9 p.m., $5. At Sticky Fingerz, local hard rockers Four on the Floor perform material inspired by metal's golden era, 9 p.m., $5. In a rare off night for Ted Ludwig, the jazz-soul duo Tonya Leeks and Carl Mouton play the Afterthought, 8 p.m., $5. Local acoustic singer/songwriters Will Gunselman and Amanda Rook play a down-tempo night at Juanita's, 9 p.m., $6. Free booze, live music and DJs are usually part of First Thursday Shop-n-Sip in Hillcrest, 5 p.m.
Local soul shouter Big John Miller belts songs you know at the Afterthought, 9 p.m., $7. At White Water Tavern, the American Princes side-project Magic Hassle performs with local pop-rockers the Evelyns and local MC and man about town Dirtbag, 10 p.m., $5. At the Metroplex, as part of the Delta Literacy Classic Weekend, rising R&B talent, like Avant and Meant 2 Be, performs, 10 p.m., $15. Jonesboro blues act Jess the Mess headlines at Cajun's, 9 p.m., $5. As usual, the Ted Ludwig Jazz Trio plays a free show at the Capital Hotel Bar, 8 p.m. At Wildwood Park for the Performing Arts, UALR's opera program presents “Sleeping Beauty,” 7:30 p.m., $15-$25. The three-day FOCAL book sale kicks off on Friday in the basement of the Main Library, 10 a.m. For spoken word enthusiasts, the Arkansas Grand Slam competition at the Poet's Loft in Hot Springs offers prizes ranging from $100 to $1,000, 10 a.m. Admission is free, but the competition costs $50 to enter.
David Higginbotham, well known among jazz fans for playing bass in the Bob Boyd Sounds, celebrates the release of his new album, “This is My Heart,” with a show at the Afterthought, 9 p.m., $7. At Juanita's, jazz standout Rodney Block headlines at Juanita's with Selya and Jeron, 9:30 p.m. The Sarah Hughes Band, a folk-rock outfit from Fayetteville, returns to White Water, 9 p.m., $5. Armed with new material from a forthcoming album, the Goodtime Ramblers share the stage with Fayetteville country-rockers Charliehorse at Sticky Fingerz, 9 p.m., $5. Seven-string guitar whiz Ted Ludwig and his jazz trio return to the Capital Hotel Bar, 8 p.m., for a free show.