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Live music picks: Feb. 11-16

Former Jayhawk Mark Olson brings his solo work to Smith's Olde Bar. Photo: Krissie Gregory

Former Jayhawk Mark Olson brings his solo work to Smith's Olde Bar. Photo: Krissie Gregory

Mark Olson

Olson was co-founder of one of alt-country’s finest combos, the Jayhawks. After leaving the Jayhawks in the mid-1990s, he formed the Creekdippers, which included then-wife Victoria Williams. His latest solo work is the 2010 album “Many Colored Kite,” but seek out his first proper solo album, “The Salvation Blues,” a beautiful album haunted by two spectres — Gram Parsons and the end of the Olson-Williams marriage. It’s poetic, poignant and, ultimately, uplifting, and it’s one of alt-country’s finest moments of the past decade.
8 p.m. Feb. 11. $12; $10 in advance. Smith’s Olde Bar — Atlanta Room, 1578 Piedmont Road, Atlanta. 404-875-1522.

Yonder Mountain String Band

This exuberant acoustic-based group has a rootsy sound, but the band is just as popular with jam-band fans as it is with traditional bluegrass lovers. The quartet’s latest release, 2009’s “The Show,” expanded the group’s sound (especially on the minimal, pulsing “Isolate”) and brought in former Elvis Costello and the Attractions drummer Pete Thomas for six of the album’s tracks.
8 p.m. Feb. 12. $28; $25 in advance. Tabernacle, 152 Luckie St. N.W., Atlanta. 404-659-9022.

Babyface, Eric Benet, Kevon

It’s a love fest at the Civic Center this weekend, as these smooth, soulful and sensual R&B stylists bring the Valentine’s Day romance a couple of days early.
8 p.m. Feb. 12. $50-$90. Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center, 395 Piedmont Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-523-6275.


The party never ends when this New Orleans funk machine is on stage. Expect lots of tunes from 2010’s stellar “Ya-Ka-May,” which includes Louisiana luminaries Allen Toussaint and Irma Thomas.
8:30 p.m. Feb. 12. $25; $22.50 advance. Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-524-7354.


It took more than nine years for this sweet-voiced R&B adventurer to follow his terrific debut album, “1st Born Second.” A planned follow-up was leaked online then shelved. Finally, in September 2010, he dropped “Airtight’s Revenge” on a waiting world through Plug Research, a label with a nonmainstream roster of experimental electronic, alternative and hip-hop artists. And it was very good. It was among Pop Matters’ ( best albums of 2010, with the pop culture website calling it “the work of an artist in full control of his skills, redefining his relationship to his audience because the music has simply taken him somewhere we didn’t expect.”
8 p.m. Feb. 14. $30. Center Stage, 1374 W. Peachtree St. N.W., Atlanta. 404-885-1365.

Flogging Molly

It might be a month or so early, but you might as well go ahead and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with these guys. It’s raucous, rip-roaring punk with a festive injection of Celtic folk. “If it didn’t have mandolin, accordion, fiddle and whistle, it would be punk rock,” says frontman Dave King in the band’s online bio, “and if it didn’t have guitar, bass and drums, it would be traditional Irish music.”
7:30 p.m. Feb. 14. $30; $28 in advance. Tabernacle, 152 Luckie St. N.W., Atlanta. 404-659-9022.

Widespread Panic

The sprawling Athens jam rock band with a big bluesy undercurrent inspires its faithful throng of fans to travel long distances to catch a live show. The band was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 2008.
7:30 p.m. Feb. 14. $50. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. N.E., Atlanta. 404-881-2100.

Miranda Cosgrove

She has undeniable charm in “School of Rock” and as the protagonist in Nickelodeon’s “iCarly,” but she (or someone in her camp) really seems to want this music career to happen. She’s been singing for years (including performing the theme song for “iCarly”), but there’s a renewed push to get her into the pop mainstream. Let’s hope she’s learned what to avoid by watching fellow kid-TV graduate Miley Cyrus.
8 p.m. Feb. 15. $31.50-$79. Center Stage, 1374 W. Peachtree St., Atlanta. 404-885-1365.

Leon Redbone

Redbone has been resurrecting the music of the early 20th century (like ragtime and early blues and jazz) for more than 35 years. Over the years, the mysterious singer has lent his distinctive voice to advertising campaigns for Budweiser and All detergent. Even weirder, he sang the theme song to the ’80s television series “Mr. Belvedere.” One of his highest profile gigs of this century was providing the voice of the snowman in the movie “Elf,” in which he also served up a terrific version of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” with actress Zooey Deschanel.
8 p.m. Feb. 15. $30. Eddie’s Attic, 515 N. McDonough St., Decatur. 404-377-4976.

Plain White T’s

Like the garment they are named for, there is nothing particularly innovative or new about the music these Chicago guys make. But it’s sturdy, comfortable and built for fun, from the blustery power pop of “Hate (I Really Don’t Like You)” to the acoustic melodicism of “Hey There Delilah.
8 p.m. Feb. 16. $20; $18 in advance. The Loft, 1374 W. Peachtree St., Atlanta. 404-885-1365.

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