With its husky androgyny and deeply resonant, hard-won soul, Jesse Sykes's voice calls to mind a more rockin' Nina Simone. The connection is especially evident in the sultry, hushed ballads on Sykes's latest album, which she is celebrating with a pair of shows this weekend. Her wounded-but-empowered persona shines when she's under the spotlight, buoyed along by her band like a dry leaf in the wind. (Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave NW, 789-3599. 7 pm, $10, 21+.)