Justin Townes Earle
He’s Steve Earle’s son and was named in honor of Texas songwriting legend Townes Van Zandt. That’s a lot to live up to, but this talented young singer and songwriter just keeps getting better. After a self-released EP in 2007 and a solid debut album in 2008, Earle returned with “Midnight at the Movies.” It’s a stunning display of his songwriting prowess, packed with the grit and glory of hard living, recounted with warmth and wit. It’s what country music would sound like if Nashville hadn’t lost its soul. Earle is opening for the Swell Season.
8 p.m. May 28. $27.50-$40. Atlanta Symphony Hall, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E., Atlanta. 404-733-5000.
The name might not be familiar, but Crabb won a Grammy Award earlier this year. He’s part of Kentucky’s Southern gospel singing Crabb Family and his self-titled solo debut album took home the Grammy for best Southern/country/bluegrass gospel Album.
7 p.m. May 28. $20. Doc McGee’s, 14 Carl Cedar Hill Road, Auburn. 678-829-1800.
Few artists could weather the electronic junk of “Trans” or the ill-advised faux-rockabilly of “Everybody’s Rockin’.” Neil Young has managed to remain cool despite his missteps because when he’s good, he’s awe-inspiring. Just grab a copy of “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere,” “Harvest” or “On the Beach” for the proof.
8 p.m. May 29. $75-$225. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. N.E., Atlanta. 404-881-2100.
A lot of post-punk British bands of the early ’80s wanted to be the earlier version of David Bowie, which Bowie himself no longer wanted to be. The Furs’ Richard Butler was the most successful, carving a distinctive style out of hero worship thinly disguised with a punky veneer. With She Wants Revenge.
8 p.m. May 29. $26.50. The Masquerade, 695 North Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-577-8178.
Cagle obviously listened to Southern rock growing up, and there’s a touch of Charlie Daniels Band in his rollicking up-tempo tracks. But songs like his hit ballad “I Breathe In, I Breathe Out” are his strong suit, showing his soft side to good advantage. It’s been a few years since his last big country hit (“What Kinda Gone” climbed to No. 3 in 2008), but Capitol released “The Best of Chris Cagle” earlier this year.
9:30 p.m. May 29. $15-$100. Wild Bill’s, 2075 Market St., Duluth. 678-473-1000.
Carole King and James Taylor
One of pop music’s best and most successful songwriters during the ’60s, King really hit it big with the ubiquitous 1971 album “Tapestry.” That 10-million-plus selling album defined the singer-songwriter era and became a guidebook on love and other emerging emotions for a generation of young women. Contemporary and fellow singer-songwriter Taylor was a major force in the same era, and hits such as “Fire and Rain” and his cover of R&B legend Marvin Gaye’s “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)” are still staples on oldies radio. His biggest hit, though, is a version of King’s “You’ve Got a Friend,” a song that originally appeared on “Tapestry.” Taylor’s version went to No. 1 just a little more than six months after “Tapestry” was released.
8 p.m. June 3. $65-$350. Gwinnett Arena, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth. 770-813-7500.
They would have loved nothing more than to reach the pop sublimity of Michael Jackson, but it’s more like smooth R&B filtered through a Swedish pop factory and flavored with a touch of vanilla rap. But the little girls (and the women they grew up to be) understand. Though nothing from the Backstreet Boys’ two most recent albums, 2007’s “Unbreakable” and 2009’s “This Is Us” has found its way to the Billboard Hot 100, they remain a popular concert draw.
8 p.m. June 3. $33.50-$48.50. Chastain Park Amphitheater, 4469 Stella Drive N.W., Atlanta. 404-233-2227.
Puddle Of Mudd
These post-grunge leftovers are still at it nearly eight years after their last Top 40 appearance with “She Hates Me “ (though 2008’s “Psycho” did top the Alternative Songs chart). “She Hates Me” was stupid, but it was fun-stupid. The rest of the band’s output is like a lot of the other stuff that used to gum up the modern-rock airwaves faceless, vaguely melodic musical Altoids that come on strong and fade fast.
7 p.m. June 3. $20-$23. The Masquerade, 695 North Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-577-8178.