The Ted Ludwig Trio continues to support its debut album with its regular Thursday night gig at the Afterthought, 8 p.m., $2. Rising Texas country star Wade Bowen returns to Sticky Fingerz, 9 p.m., $10. Hugely popular local party band the Gettys plays Cajun's Wharf, 9 p.m., $5. In Hot Springs, at Club 2720, DJ Debbi T hosts a “Guitar Hero Challenge,” 10 p.m., free. Former Razorback quarterback Clint Stoerner and broadcaster Steve Sullivan lead “Football 101” for women, at Windsong Performing Arts Center, with hors d'oeuvres, 5 p.m., $30.
Impressive singer/songwriter Michael Smith headlines at Acoustic Sounds Cafe, with Chicago folk duo Andina and Rich opening, 7:30 p.m., $10. Popular jazz/soul duo Brenda & Ellis perform at the Afterthought, 9 p.m., $7. Local jam-band Weakness for Blondes plays Cajun's, 9 p.m., $5. Punk-rockers the Thing That Always Explodes and the Crisco Kids, a deranged garage-rock group made up of three brothers, turn it out at Downtown Music, 8 p.m., $5. Stan Tiner, the editor of The Sun Herald in Biloxi, Miss., speaks about Hurricane Katrina and recovery efforts along the Mississippi Coast as part of the Clinton School Sturgis lectures, 6 p.m., free.
Local choirs and national gospel acts will participate in the Shout Hallelujah Showcase at Clear Channel Metroplex, 1 p.m., $9.49. The funky duo Brenda & Ellis play a second night at the Afterthought, 9 p.m., $7. The Nasty Abbotts play at Bogies/Counterpoint at 11 p.m. Party band Superlow headlines at Cajun's, 9 p.m., $5. Bluesy singer/songwriter Charlotte Taylor performs at the Arts Scene with impressive young folk singers Adriane Allyn and Delores Alfieri, 8 p.m., $5. The rootsy Mike McClure Band performs at Sticky Fingerz with Austin Allsop, 9 p.m., $8. The Travs take on the Springfield Cardinals, 7:10 p.m., $6.
Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Taylor Branch gives a lecture at the Clinton School, in Sturgis Hall. Branch is the author of the well-regarded three-volume history of Martin Luther King Jr. — “Parting the Waters,” Pillar of Fire,” and “At Canaan's Edge.” 6 p.m., free.