Crafting crunchy modern rock that transcends most of its contemporaries with hook-filled and memorable songs, Athens’ Whigs prove that you don’t need gimmicks to make great records. There’s nothing fancy about this trio’s solid, straight-ahead indie rock, but it works like a charm. The band has just announced the upcoming release of its third album, “In the Dark,” scheduled for March 2. The guys are also offering two new songs as free downloads at the band’s official site.
8:30 p.m. Dec. 4.$15. Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Ave., Atlanta. 404- 524-7354.
One-time Atlanta resident and current New Yorker Joplin makes catchy, heart-tugging music that always seems to fall just below the radar. He’s an engaging performer and always a popular draw whenever he returns to town.
6:30 and 9:30 p.m. Dec. 4. $20. Eddie’s Attic, 515-B N. McDonough St., Decatur. 404- 377-4976.
His career has had its ups and downs in the 15-plus years since his debut, hitting the spotlight most recently with the 2006 No. 1 hit “Find Out Who Your Friends Are.” A version of the song recorded with Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney received musical event of the year honors at the 2007 Country Music Association Awards and vocal event of the year award at the latest Academy of Country Music ceremony. He’s been in a hit-making lull of late, but Lawrence seems to bounce back again and again.
9:30 p.m. Dec. 4. $16-$100. Wild Bill’s, 2075 Market St., Duluth. 678- 473-1000.
A Holiday Affair with Rachelle Ferrell
She made her major-label debut in 1992, but the jazzy Ferrell has never achieved stardom in the world of mainstream pop. She doesn’t really have to, though, because this talented composer, arranger and pianist with a powerful six-octave vocal range can sure pack theaters with appreciative fans. With Raheem DeVaughn and K-Jon.
7:30 p.m. Dec. 5. $35. Center Stage, 1374 W. Peachtree St., Atlanta. 404- 885-1365.
’Tis The Season: An Evening With Earl Klugh
An Atlanta resident for most of this decade, this long-serving jazz guitarist was nominated for a Grammy in the category of best pop instrumental album for his latest release, “The Spice of Life.”
He didn’t win this time, but he did take home the gold back in 1980 for “One On One,” which he recorded with Bob James.
8 p.m. Dec. 5. $36-$46. Ferst Center for the Arts, 349 Ferst Drive N.W., Atlanta. 404- 894-2787.
Listening to the hard-edged Pelican can be a brutal experience, but it’s also endlessly fascinating. The Chicago-born quartet’s latest, “What We All Come to Need,” is a scary aural roller-coaster ride on hot iron rails punctuated with moments of surprising beauty.
8:30 p.m. Dec. 7. $10-$12. The EARL, 488 Flat Shoals Ave., Atlanta. 404-522-3950.
This Atlanta musical adventurer was nominated for a Grammy Award in the urban/alternative category, but she won’t stay pigeonholed for long.
She made a big splash at this year’s South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas, according to many post-fest reports, impressing the gathering’s often-jaded audience of music insiders.
9 p.m. Dec. 8. Apache Cafe, 64 Third St. N.W., Atlanta. 404- 876-5436.