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Live music picks: Feb. 25-March 3

Old 97s bring a bit of Texas to the Buckhead Theatre on Friday. Photo: Allison Smith

Old 97s bring a bit of Texas to the Buckhead Theatre on Friday. Photo: Allison Smith

Old 97’s

Texas-born quartet spent a few years in the land of the major labels and made some great albums there. Those albums pumped up the pop melodies that were always there in the band’s rootsy sound. Since 2004, these guys have been back in the land of the independent label. It’s tough to imagine a better marriage of band and record company, as New West has released albums from Steve Earle, the Flatlanders and Georgia’s Drive-by Truckers. The rustic exuberance of the Old 97’s is the perfect companion for the rest of the label’s roster. Since that return to the indies, they’ve also returned to the raw, impulsive sound of their earlier work. Through it all, they’ve remained a powerhouse live band. In reviews for the band’s last few albums, each one is branded a return to form. That tells you that they never really lost it in the first place.
8 p.m. Feb. 25. $20. The Buckhead Theatre, 3110 Roswell Road, Atlanta. 404-843-2825.

John Prine, Old Crow Medicine Show

Prine was alt-country before alt-country was cool — or at least decades before anyone thought to call it that. Going strong since 1971, Prine renders his wryly observed character sketches in a distinctive, reedy twang. Old Crow Medicine Show is an old-timey string band with a punk rock heart and an adventurous musical soul.
8 p.m. Feb. 25. $39.50-$59.50. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. 404-881-2100.

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals

Vermont native Potter and her band signed with Hollywood Records back in 2005 and have spent much of their time since then gathering a large and loyal audience one gig at a time. The folks who pick music for movies and TV shows seem to love the band’s bluesy, soulful rock, too. Potter’s songs have shown up on, among many others, “All My Children,” “One Tree Hill” and “Brothers & Sisters,” and in the films “Tangled” and Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland.” Potter duets with Kenny Chesney on “You and Tequila” on Chesney’s latest album, “Hemingway’s Whiskey.”
8:30 p.m. Feb. 25-26. $20; $17.50 advance. Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Ave. NE, Atlanta. 404-524-7354.

Fake Fest

A day of fake bands and real beer, with tributes to R.E.M. (the REMakes), the Rolling Stones (Main Street Exiles), the Eagles (the ILL-eagles) and Van Halen (Nashville’s the Mighty Dan Halen). It won’t be the real thing, but when the beer is flowing and the party’s in full swing, it’ll be close enough for rock ’n’ roll.
2 p.m. Feb. 26. $10. Park Tavern, 500 10th St. NE, Atlanta. 404-249-0001.

John Mellencamp

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Mellencamp, Indiana’s contribution to American music, has made sturdy, dependable records for nearly 30 years (the early albums were a little shaky). His latest, “No Better Than This,” is a raw, heartfelt tribute to American roots music. Mellencamp even recorded the songs in historic locations, including the First African Baptist Church in Savannah and the Sheraton Gunter Hotel in San Antonio, where blues legend Robert Johnson did his first recordings.
6:30 p.m. Feb. 27. $46.50-$130. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. 404-881-2100.

Richard Shindell

Shindell draws vivid portraits with his songs, and his warm and wise voice relates them with conversational ease. The tale of a stowaway, “Che Guevara T-Shirt,” is as riveting as a well-written short story. Folk music is alive, well and thriving in Shindell’s songs.
8 p.m. March 3. $20. Eddie’s Attic, 515 N. McDonough St., Decatur. 404-377-4976.

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