The guitar master/rebel of one of rock’s most popular bands of the past 40 years is still going his own way. Since returning to his solo career in 2006 after a 14-year hiatus, he’s released three albums, including this year’s “Seeds We Sow.” It’s Buckingham’s first self-released album and maintains his standing as one of pop’s greatest craftsmen, and as a longtime critical favorite. “Unencumbered by the commercial and ego demands in [Fleetwood] Mac,” writes the Chicago Tribune’s Greg Kot in a review of the album, “Buckingham affirms his talent for turning eccentricity into twisted pop songs.”
8 p.m. Oct. 7. $45-$95. Atlanta Symphony Hall, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E., Atlanta. 404- 733-5000.
Butch Walker and the Black Widows
Walker, who grew up in Cartersville, has been a mainstay of Atlanta’s music scene for years, but he’s made an even bigger mark lately as a producer and songwriter for pop performers such as Avril Lavigne, Lindsay Lohan, Katy Perry and Pink. He’s just released his second album with the Black Widows, a band that includes Fran Capitanelli, former frontman of rocking Atlanta band the Tom Collins. “The Spade” was released at the end of August. Walker is about to release something else, too. His first book, “Drinking With Strangers: Music Lessons from a Teenage Bullet Belt,” is set to hit stores Oct. 25.
8:30 p.m. Oct. 7. $29.50; $27.50 in advance. Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-524-7354.
Toby Keith, Eric Church
The two-time Academy of Country Music entertainer of the year makes catchy, unapologetically country music that still appeals to a pop audience. It’s a tough balancing act, but Keith has managed well. He has plenty of talent, and he gives people what they want. He just scored his 29th No. 1 country single with “Made in America,” the first track released from his upcoming album “Clancy’s Tavern,” which is out Oct. 24. North Carolinian Church is a country nonconformist whose latest album, “Chief,” hit stores this summer. Unlike many of his blow-dried contemporaries, Church makes music that still has some dirt on its boots. He has a list of seven Top 20 hits to his name, and one more, “Drink in My Hand,” that’s headed that way.
7 p.m. Oct. 8. $20-$69.75. Aaron’s Amphitheatre at Lakewood, 2002 Lakewood Way, Atlanta. 404-443-5090.
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. The band will be taking a break following its current tour, so this might be your last chance to see them for a while. The band’s been celebrating its 25th year with a run of shows that may have to hold fans until 2013. The only dates on the books for the usually hard-touring Widespread Panic next year is a sold out four-night run at the Mexican resort of Puerto Morelos.
6 p.m. Oct. 8. $47. Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, 2200 Encore Parkway, Alpharetta. 404-733-5010.
One of Mexico’s greatest musical treasures, Fernandez takes Mexican traditional music and ornaments it with lush strings and other modern touches, but all the symphonic trimmings in the world can’t extinguish the fiery emotion in his voice. It’s still a powerful instrument even though Fernandez is just a few months from his 70th birthday. Hear the man’s awe-inspiring voice at his MySpace page (the gorgeous “Para Siempre” is highly recommended).
8 p.m. Oct. 8. $49-$149. Gwinnett Arena, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth. 770-813-7500.
Arctic Monkeys, Smith Westerns
A phenomenon in their native U.K., Arctic Monkeys has never quite translated its blistering indie-rock into broad appeal on this side of the Atlantic, even as the band keeps making great music. The brash confidence and punk bluster of the band’s first couple of albums have given way to a more mature and modulated sound, but when these guys crank it up, they still create a powerful roar. And it isn’t all maturity, as evidenced by the title of the quartet’s latest album, the outstanding “Suck It and See,” which might be the Monkeys best work since the debut. Smith Westerns is a band of Chicago youngsters — they’re all right around 20 — with an obvious love of early-’70s glam rock. You can hear traces of David Bowie and T. Rex in the joyous rumble of the band’s latest album “Dye It Blonde.” The album was released in January, but the upbeat bounce of lead track “Weekend” was the perfect summer soundtrack.
8 p.m. Oct. 11. $28.50. Tabernacle, 152 Luckie St. N.W., Atlanta. 404-659-9022.
If you love Neko Case but long for an extra dash of grit in her solo work, you must hear Lydia Loveless. Her gorgeous country-flavored wail reaches in and grabs you by the heart on her stunning debut album “Indestructible Machine.” You have to be curious about an artist with a honky-tonk heart who lists Richard Hell, Charles Bukowski, Loretta Lynn and Britney Spears as inspirations. Check out some of the tracks at Bloodshot Records “Indestructible Machine” page.
8 p.m. Oct. 13. $10 in advance. Smith’s Olde Bar, 1578 Piedmont Road N.E., Atlanta. 404- 875-1522.
The War on Drugs
Until recently, this Philadelphia band was known primarily as solo artist Kurt Vile’s former band. With the release of the band’s second album, “Slave Ambient,” that’s all changed. It’s one of the most buzzed about and best reviewed indie-rock albums of the year. It’s an album that only gets better with time and attention. The slow-building blend of electronics and straightforward rock instrumentation of “Slave Ambient” isn’t going to reach out and grab you by the throat, but it slowly insinuates its way into your mind until you find it hard to shake.
8:30 p.m. Oct. 13. $12; $10 in advance. The EARL, 488 Flat Shoals Ave. S.E., Atlanta. 404- 522-3950.