Al Di Meola
Di Meola, one of the most innovative jazz guitarists of the second half of the 20th century, began his career with the influential all-star fusion outfit Return to Forever in the ’70s. He reunited with former band mates Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke and Lenny White in 2008 for a tour, but now he’s back with his own World Sinfonia and a new album called “Pursuit of Radical Rhapsody.”
8:30 p.m. March 19. $30; $27.50 in advance. Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-524-7354.
Joe Nichols’ voice is melted country chocolate, whether he’s delivering amusing barroom odes (“Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off”) or heart-stopping ballads (“I’ll Wait for You”). He doesn’t feel any need to prove his country credentials. They’re right there in his voice.
9:30 p.m. March 19. $15-$100. Wild Bill’s, 2075 Market St., Duluth. 678-473-1000.
Chicken Raid 2011
Get two days of blues at the annual tribute to Atlanta bluesman Frank Edwards. Daniel “Mudcat” Dudeck organized the first Chicken Raid on the first anniversary of Edwards’ death (March 22, 2002, at age 93). This year’s lineup includes Beverly “Guitar” Watkins, Roy Lee Johnson, Essie Mae Brooks, Robert Lee Coleman and Sweet Betty.
3 p.m. March 19-20. $15 March 19, $10 March 20. Northside Tavern, 1058 Howell Mill Road N.W., Atlanta. 404-874-8745.
Queens of the Stone Age
Josh Homme and his crew make rock that’s not afraid to be arty and weird— but it still rocks. QOTSA is on the road in advance of an expanded and remastered reissue of the band’s 1998 debut album, set for a March 29 release.
8:30 p.m. March 21. $37; $34 in advance. Center Stage, 1374 W. Peachtree St. N.W., Atlanta. 404-885-1365.
“Play sex” is the translation of New York band Asobi Seksu’s name. Hypnotic vocalist Yuki Chikudate sings in a mixture of Japanese and English over a lush swirl of guitar, creating a haunting sound that’s more My Bloody Valentine than Shonen Knife.
8:30 p.m. March 21. $10. The EARL, 488 Flat Shoals Ave., Atlanta. 404-522-3950.
The Joy Formidable
Speaking of My Bloody Valentine, this Welsh trio constructs a swirling guitar din that has inspired many comparisons to MBV. It’s a propulsive, head-rattling noise that’s brightened with pop sparkle and the girlish vocals of Ritzy Bryan. After a series of acclaimed singles and EPs in the U.K., the band just released its debut album, the aptly titled “The Big Roar,” in the U.S. earlier this week.
8:30 p.m. March 22. $12; $10 in advance. The EARL, 488 Flat Shoals Ave., Atlanta. 404-522-3950.
Danny Barnes and the New Familiars
Former Bad Livers leader and banjo player extraordinaire comes back through town, still working his latest album, “Pizza Box, “ which marked his debut on Dave Matthews’ ATO Records. Barnes has recorded with the Dave Matthews Band, joining the group on stage at last year’s Bonnaroo festival in Tennessee. Barnes also joined Matthews on Herbie Hancock’s latest album, “The Imagine Project,” for a version of the Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows.”
8 p.m. March 23. $15; $12 in advance. Smith’s Olde Bar, 1578 Piedmont Road, Atlanta. 404-875-1522.
Crowell’s songs have been big country hits for others, including “Ashes By Now” and “’Til I Gain Control Again,” but he also enjoyed a string of No. 1 hits of his own in the late ’80s. Despite that success, he’s always seemed more of an alternative country presence, acclaimed by his peers and working just outside of the Nashville mainstream. This intimate, one-man show is part of a tour in support of his recent memoir, “Chinaberry Sidewalks.” He’ll recount stories from the book and perform songs from his impressive catalog.
8 p.m. March 23. $20. The Loft, 1374 W. Peachtree St. N.W., Atlanta. 404-885-1365.
David has fans in high places. Late last year, President Barack Obama was asked what he was listening to, and mentioned that the first lady had turned him on to this soulful Atlanta singer-songwriter. David has served as a backup singer, collaborator and concert opener to India Arie and just released his fourth album, “As Above, So Below.”
9 p.m. March 24. $25; $20 in advance. Center Stage, 1374 W. Peachtree St. N.W., Atlanta. 404-885-1365.