Portland Ovations brings Leslie Odom Jr., who won a Tony Award for his role in “Hamilton” on Broadway, to Merrill Auditorium in Portland on Oct. 19. Photo courtesy of Portland Ovations

On Dec. 2, popular singer-songwriter Angel Olsen will give a highly anticipated show at the State Theatre, a venue with a capacity of nearly 2,000 people. Just four years ago, she put on an exquisite set at Space Gallery – to only a few dozen attendees. The moral of this story is to keep your eye on the smaller venues, and get in on the ground floor of ascending national talent. One artist to watch this fall is Vagabon, the alter ego of Cameroon-born performer Laetitia Tamko, who plays at Space on Sept. 13. Indie rock is too-rarely home to people of color, and the empowering notion of forging your own path is a persistent theme of her debut album, “Infinite Worlds.” Her music bears resemblance to that of St. Vincent (who plays the State Theatre on Dec. 3), in that her compositions are tightly wound together only to spring outward in unexpected directions. This should translate wonderfully to the stage, and you’ll also be able to say that you saw her back then. As a serendipitous bonus, local indie-folk institution Lisa/Liza opened for Olsen back in 2013 and will open for Vagabon in September. – Robert Ker

Vagabon with Nnamdi Ogbonnaya and Lisa/Liza, Space Gallery, 8 p.m. Sept. 13; $8, $10 day of show

Given the speed with which artists such as The Lone Bellow and Shakey Graves have risen through Portland’s music venues, it’s a bit surprising that Shovels & Rope hasn’t yet graduated to the State Theatre – and that its show at Port City Music Hall hasn’t yet sold out. This probably means that you shouldn’t wait to get tickets. Like the two aforementioned artists, Shovels & Rope performs the kind of spirited Americana that plays well to rooms where the beer is flowing and folks are stomping the floor. It’s also akin to The Kills or The White Stripes – a male and female duo (in this case a married couple) who play lean, sexy, stripped-down rock that’s got a slight edge to it. The show is on a Wednesday, but it’ll feel like a Friday night. – Robert Ker

Shovels & Rope, Port City Music Hall, 8 p.m. Oct. 11; $20, $25 day of show

This past week, The War on Drugs – arguably the most successful band coming out of Philadelphia’s fruitful rock scene – made a sparkling major-label debut with “A Deeper Understanding.” With this leap comes a tour of the kinds of large theaters, including our own State Theatre, for which the band’s wind-swept, wide-screen sound seems tailor-made. Among the most appealing aspects of this concert is that it could appeal to multiple generations and genres of music fans. Baby Boomers might appreciate the band’s debt to 1980s radio rock, while jam-band fans will dig its Grateful Dead-like guitar interplay. Many indie-rock fans have already been aware of the band’s unique brand of propulsive rhythms and psychedelic grandeur through its 2014 breakout album “Lost in the Dream” and its associations with artists such as former member Kurt Vile. “A Deeper Understanding” has received its share of “rock savior” hype, and while such hyperbole is a bit daft, this is a band ready for this kind of moment. – Robert Ker

The War on Drugs, State Theatre, 8 p.m. Sept. 18; $30.50, $36 day of show

Portland Ovations brings cellist Yo-Yo Ma and pianist Kathryn Stott to Merrill Auditorium in Portland on Nov. 1. Photo by Todd Rosenberg Photography

Portland Ovations is bringing a living classical music legend and a hot new Broadway star to Merrill Auditorium this fall. Best known for his Tony Award-winning role as Aaron Burr in the wildly popular Broadway show “Hamilton,” Leslie Odom Jr. and his silky smooth voice, backed by a quintet, will be in Portland on Oct. 19, when he’ll perform original songs and well-known jazz numbers from his self-titled album. On Nov. 1, after a 15-year hiatus, Yo-Yo Ma returns to the Merrill stage with pianist Kathryn Stott. Their longtime partnership has produced much lauded live performances that critics have described as both warm and incisive. – Staff report

Leslie Odom Jr., Merrill Auditorium, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 19, $30-$55

Yo-Yo Ma and Kathryn Stott, Merrill Auditorium, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 1, $35-$125