This banjo prodigy might be familiar from his stint with purveyors of polyethnic cajun slamgrass Leftover Salmon following founding member Mark Vann’s death. In recent years, he’s been playing with former Nickel Creek mandolin master Chris Thile in Punch Brothers. He’s currently on the road in support of his latest solo release, “Beat the Devil and Carry a Rail,” which includes a banjo duet with Steve Martin on the old Appalachian standard “Cluck Old Hen.”
8 p.m. Dec. 9. $18; $15 in advance. Smith’s Olde Bar, 1578 Piedmont Road N.E., Atlanta. 404-875-1522.
“The Happenstance: A Battle of Hastily Assembled Bands”
30 local musicians meet in the morning and are randomly divided into five-piece bands. Then they must create a 20-minute set of music to be performed later the same evening, but only one of the songs can be a cover version. The rest of the set has to be crafted that very day. This is the seventh annual edition of this rocking mad scientist experiment and, as in previous years, it’s a benefit. Past beneficiaries have included the Atlanta Community Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity and the New Orleans Musicians Hurricane Relief Fund.
9 p.m. Dec. 10. $7; or $5 with food donation. The EARL, 488 Flat Shoals Ave., Atlanta. 404-522-3950.
Big Mike Geier’s Kingsized Holiday Jubilee and Toy Drive
If you want to contribute to charity in the most entertaining way possible, this is the place to be. Geier and his crew, along with the Dames Aflame dancers, will celebrate the holidays in style.
8:30 p.m. Dec. 10. $25. Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-524-7354.
This Florida native made an auspicious debut on the country charts when his debut single, “A Little More Country Than That,” hit No. 1 in 2010, shortly after the release of his self-titled debut album. He hit the top spot again with the his second single, “Roll With It.” The album’s third single, “I Can’t Love You Back,” only managed to climb to No. 14, but those two No. 1 singles made for an impressive opening statement.
9:30 p.m. Dec. 10. $20-$60. Wild Bill’s, 2075 Market St., Duluth. 678-473-1000.
The Civil Wars
The voices of John Paul White and Joy Williams (aka the Civil Wars) create a beautiful friction when they blend and set off sparks when they careen into each other. Just take a listen to “Barton Hollow, “ the title track from their studio debut album and you’ll see why both of these shows are sold out. The buzz surrounding these two is becoming a roar. Rescheduled from an earlier date.
7:30 p.m. Dec. 10-11. Sold out. Agnes Scott College – Presser Hall, Gaines Chapel, 141 E. College Ave., Decatur.
Neko Case gets most of the attention, but her fellow New Pornographer has a nascent solo career that could prove every bit as fruitful. Calder actually joined the New Pornographers as a fill-in for Case on some of the band’s live dates, but became a permanent member in 2006. Calder, formerly of Victoria, British Columbia-based indie pop outfit Immaculate Machine, made her solo debut in 2010 with “Are You My Mother?,” inspired by caring for her ill mother. She followed that with “Bright and Vivid,” released in October.
9:30 p.m. Dec. 10. $10. The Drunken Unicorn, 736 Ponce de Leon Place N.E., Atlanta.
Would you like some Finnish folk with your metal? Korpiklaani, which means “clan of the wilderness, “ used to sing in English, but now the band’s lyrics draw inspiration from the Kalevala, Finland’s national epic. Even if you can’t understand the lyrics, there’s a fantastical feel that tells you you’re in the realm of the shamanistic myth and magic. Accordion, violin and the lute-like jouhikko entwine with the rampaging guitar, bass and drums as if they were meant to be together.
7 p.m. Dec. 13. $15. The Masquerade, 695 North Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-577-8178.
Shane Harrison / email@example.com