Emily Saliers and Amy Ray have spent more than a decade entertaining us — and making us think — with heart-touching songs and gorgeous harmonies. They began performing together as students at Decatur’s Shamrock High School (now a middle school). After many years on a major label, earning a Grammy and selling millions of albums, the duo is releasing music independently again. Their latest project, “Happy Holly Days,” includes Woody Guthrie’s
“Happy Joyous Hanukkah,” Christmas classics such as “O Holy Night” and “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and several originals.
8 p.m. Oct. 15. $35. The Buckhead Theatre, 3110 Roswell Road, Atlanta. 404-843-2825.
He began his career with the groundbreaking British folk-rock ensemble Fairport Convention, went on to produce a slew of great albums with his now ex-wife Linda and continues to release sporadically brilliant solo work. One of the finest contemporary songwriters and a breathtakingly skilled guitarist, Thompson continues to amaze after more than 40 years of recording. A brutally honest and sometimes cutting songwriter, he’s written songs that will have you dancing in the aisles and songs that will have you weeping in your beer.
8:30 p.m. Oct. 15. $32.50; $30 advance. Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-524-7354.
In the mid-’90s, this band reunited for an MTV concert, a tour and an album dubbed “Hell Freezes Over.” Don Henley once quipped that’s what it would take for the ’70s hit-makers to get back together. Rock stars say a lot of things they don’t mean, especially the words “farewell tour.”
7:30 p.m. Oct. 15. $55 (VIP packages available). The Meadow at Piedmont Park, 400 Park Drive, Atlanta. 1-800-745-3000.
Emory University Symphony Orchestra with Janelle Monáe
Shostakovich’s “Festive Overture” and Borodin’s Symphony No. 2 are on the program, but it also marks the world premiere of the symphonic version of “BaBopBye Ya,” the ambitious final track from Monáe’s latest album “The ArchAndroid.” The stellar album that contains that track is easily among the year’s best. According to Metacritic.com, which aggregates reviews from most major publications, it’s the best reviewed album of the year so far.
8 p.m. Oct. 16. Free, but tickets required (available by phone or in person only). Emory University Schwartz Center for Performing Arts, 1700 N. Decatur Road, Atlanta. 404-727-5050.
Robert Randolph and the Family Band
This phenomenal young pedal- and lap-steel guitar player takes the “Sacred Steel” tradition from the music of the House of God, a small African-American Pentecostal denomination, and merges it with funk, R&B, blues and hip-hop. Randolph has termed what he does “rock-spel.”
8 p.m. Oct. 16. $25 advance. The Buckhead Theatre, 3110 Roswell Road, Atlanta. 404-843-2825.
Punk was a little too real for some folks, but pasty British synth-meister Numan offered an alternative. When Numan emerged in 1979, he looked and sounded like an alien. His futuristic soundscapes were dark yet danceable, clinical but still catchy. He even scored a Top 10 U.S. hit with “Cars” in 1980. That track was drawn from the album “The Pleasure Principle” which has held up remarkably well and got a deluxe 30th anniversary re-issue in 2009.
8 p.m. Oct. 18. $28; $25 advance. The Masquerade, 695 North Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-577-8178.
Los Campesinos is like a teddy bear studded with sharp spikes. It’s so cute that you just want to hug it, but you know it’s going to hurt a little. This young, energetic Welsh outfit released two albums in 2008, both chock full of catchy ditties with intriguing titles such as “Documented Minor Emotional Breakdown #1” and “2007, the Year Punk Broke (My Heart).” The first album, “Hold on Now, Youngster,” showed up on many year-end lists, but the second, “We Are Beautiful. We Are Doomed,” was just as fetching. It gave the band’s ramshackle punk blast a bit of polish, too, but not enough to ruin its awkward charm. When the band released “Romance Is Boring” this year, the youthful malcontents had grown up a bit. It isn’t as chaotic, but it seems that they really need that hug.
8 p.m. Oct. 20. Variety Playhouse. $17.50; $15 advance. Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-524-7354.
Inventive bluegrass mandolin master founded the genre-bending New Grass Revival and was a member of Emmylou Harris’ Nash Ramblers. He now heads his own combo and he’s still incorporating elements from all over the musical map.
8 p.m. Oct. 21. Variety Playhouse. $20. Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-524-7354.