Before Kid Rock broke big in the late 1990s, did anyone think the music world was in need of a hip-hop/country-influenced Southern rock aficionado from Detroit? Kid Rock filled a void that no one knew existed. He’s probably the only artist who could release either a country album, a rock album or a rap album and no one would find it remarkable. The Waffle House aficionado tops the bill, but the reason to go is Jamey Johnson. The Alabama native’s two-disc, 25-track “The Guitar Song” seems to be the consensus choice for best country album of 2010. It’s a collection of bone-deep country that provides a jarring and welcome contrast to the bloodless, antiseptic stuff that passes for country music these days.
7 p.m. March 4. $25-$92.50. Gwinnett Arena, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth. 770-813-7500.
Oklahoma wunderkind Conor Oberst and his band are touring behind the recently released “The People’s Key,” which finds Oberst returning to his indie rock roots and moving away from the folk and Americana leanings of his recent work. No matter what the stylistic quirks, the entire Bright Eyes catalog is strewn with gems.
8 p.m. March 4. $28.50; $25 in advance. Tabernacle, 152 Luckie St. N.W., Atlanta. 404-659-9022.
Hamell on Trial
Ed Hamell’s folk-punk generates more musical power with just his voice and guitar than most modern metal outfits can muster with endless stacks of Marshall amps.
8 p.m. March 4. $10 in advance. Smith’s OldeBar — Atlanta Room, 1578 Piedmont Road, Atlanta. 404-875-1522.
This seminal New Age pianist began recording in the early 1970s and hit his peak with the pastoral beauty of an influential seasonal trilogy, “December,” “Autumn” and “Winter Into Spring,” in the early ’80s. His simple, folk-informed style gets its latest airing on “Love Will Come — The Music of Vince Guaraldi, Volume 2,” his second tribute to the pianist and composer best known for scoring the “Peanuts” cartoons, including “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
8 p.m. March 4. $32.50; $30 in advance. Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-524-7354.
His highest profile project of late is a family sitcom (“Are We There Yet?,” the TBS show based on the 2005 film), so it’s easy to forget that Ice Cube was once a member of one of the most influential and controversial rap outfits ever, N.W.A. He left the group after the release of the landmark 1989 album, “Straight Outta Compton,” and began a long and successful solo career. He’s had an even bigger profile as a writer, producer and actor in film and television. At Center Stage, he’s back in music mode, following the 2010 release of his ninth solo album, “I Am the West.”
9 p.m. March 5. $34; $31.50 in advance. Center Stage, 1374 W. Peachtree St. N.W., Atlanta. 404-885-1365.
Steep Canyon Rangers
North Carolina’s Steep Canyon Rangers were the International Bluegrass Music Association’s 2006 emerging artists of the year. In recent years, they’ve been recording and touring with famed comedian and actor (and accomplished banjo picker) Steve Martin. They’ve also collaborated with Martin on a new album, “Rare Bird Alert,” set for release March 15 and including guest appearances by Paul McCartney and the Dixie Chicks.
8 p.m. March 5. $17.50; $15 in advance. Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-524-7354.
This French-Algerian musician is an innovative acoustic guitar wizard who blazed new trails in combining his instrument with electronic effects — though these play a much smaller role in his current work — and unusual tunings.
7:30 p.m. March 6. $22. Eddie’s Attic, 515 N. McDonough St., Decatur. 404-377-4976.
This Australian band combines mainstream rock with heavenly inspiration and began as part of Hillsong Church, the Australian branch of the Assemblies of God. The group is touring behind new album “Aftermath,” which was released in February.
7:30 p.m. March 7. $26-$32. Gwinnett Arena, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth. 770-813-7500.
THURSDAY AND MARCH 11
Kem, Musiq Soulchild, Ledisi
After more than five years, we finally got another batch of the jazz-inflected soul of Kem. “Intimacy: Album III,” the follow-up to 2005’s “Album II,” hit stores and digital outlets in summer 2010. Philadelphia-based neo-soul man Musiq Soulchild creates an organic yet thoroughly modern meld of R&B and hip-hop that’s more concerned with craft than chart action. Add the jazzy vibe and sultry vocals of Ledisi and you have a night of sweet, soulful and soothing R&B for adults.
8 p.m. March 10-11. $47-$102. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. N.E., Atlanta. 404-881-2100.