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Archive for March, 2012

Live music picks: March 30-April 5

Ukulele master Jake Shimabukuro comes to the Ferst Center for the Arts on Saturday, March 31. Photo: Danny Clinch

Ukulele master Jake Shimabukuro comes to the Ferst Center for the Arts on Saturday, March 31. Photo: Danny Clinch

TODAY
Tinsley Ellis

This powerhouse Atlanta-born blues-rock guitarist returned to his longtime label Alligator in 2005 with a fiery live set called “Highwayman.” Two years later, “Moment of Truth” put him back in the studio for another in a series of acclaimed albums, prompting this from a reviewer in Billboard: “In the last five years, no one has released more consistently excellent blues albums than Atlanta’s Tinsley Ellis, and his latest project once again validates his status.” His most recent album, “Speak No Evil,” came out in 2009.
8:30 p.m. March 30. $20; $17.50 in advance. Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-524-7354.

SATURDAY
Jake Shimabukuro

When Shimabukuro pronounces ukulele, it’s a beautiful murmur floating on a tropical breeze: ooo-koo-lay-lay. The more common pronunciation lands on the ear with a comical …

Continue reading Live music picks: March 30-April 5 »

The late, great banjo legend Earl Scruggs

Banjo innovator Earl Scruggs died Wednesday at 88. AP photo.

Banjo innovator Earl Scruggs died Wednesday at 88. AP photo.

Earl Scruggs died Wednesday at the age of 88. I interviewed the legendary musician back in 2003. When I heard about his death, the first thing I thought about was our conversation of nine years ago and what a charming, gracious and witty man he was. He was a true innovator on his instrument and is a towering influence on anyone who has picked up the instrument. Here’s the short piece I wrote in advance of his show at the Tabernacle on March 21, 2003.

Everybody knows the tune: “Come and listen to my story ’bout a man named Jed. . . . ” What some might not know is that Earl Scruggs, the man playing the banjo on the 1962 tune, had pioneered that three-finger picking style nearly 20 years earlier — and that he’d go on to expand the boundaries of bluegrass as the 1960s turned into the 1970s.

Scruggs, born near Shelby, N.C., in 1924, debuted at the Grand Ole Opry in 1945 as one of Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys. Nearly 60 …

Continue reading The late, great banjo legend Earl Scruggs »

Scotty McCreery to perform free post-Braves game concert

Scotty McCreery visited Atlanta in December for the Macy's Tree Lighting at Lenox Square. Don't expect to see him in a scarf in May. Photo credit: Hyosub Shin

Scotty McCreery visited Atlanta in December for the Macy's Tree Lighting at Lenox Square. Don't expect to see him in a scarf in May. Photo credit: Hyosub Shin

Last season’s “American Idol” winner, Scotty McCreery, will perform a free concert after the Braves-Nationals game May 26. The game begins at 4 p.m.

Fans who want a super-close experience can purchase a VIP Field Pass for $25 and bid on a meet and greet package at www.braves.com/concerts. Game tickets are on sale now at www.braves.com/tickets or by calling 1-800-745-3000.

McCreery’s debut album, “Clear as Day,” was certified platinum three months after its October release, powered by the hit “I Love You This Big.” He hails from Garner, N.C.

Continue reading Scotty McCreery to perform free post-Braves game concert »

Daughtry scores at Cobb with polished rock

Chris Daughtry brought his usual intensity to the Cobb Energy Centre on Tuesday. Photos: Robb Cohen

Chris Daughtry brought his usual intensity to the Cobb Energy Centre on Tuesday. Photos: Robb Cohen

Chris Daughtry and his self-named crew aren’t going to reinvent the rock wheel anytime soon, but so what? Not every band needs to change the world with its music.

Theirs is a polished brand of amiable rock ‘n’ roll stuffed with big choruses and singalong melodies that sound great on the radio and even meatier in a live setting.

At the mostly full Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre on Tuesday, Daughtry the band, fronted by the genial heartthrob who parlayed a fourth-place finish on “American Idol” six years ago into an impressive career, whipped through a 90-minute show that kept fans standing, clapping and shrieking.

Granted, the first couple of songs – the thunderous opener “Renegade” and the title track of the band’s latest album, “Break the Spell” – suffered from a distracting mix of too much echo on the drums and muddled vocals. If you didn’t have …

Continue reading Daughtry scores at Cobb with polished rock »

Hot tickets: March 27

Country superstar Miranda Lambert comes to Aaron's Amphitheatre at Lakewood in July. Tickets go on sale Friday, March 30. Photo: Randee St. Nicholas

Country superstar Miranda Lambert comes to Aaron's Amphitheatre at Lakewood in July. Tickets go on sale Friday, March 30. Photo: Randee St. Nicholas

ON SALE NOW
Freddy Jones Band. Acoustic show. 8 p.m. April 19. Vinyl. $23; $20 in advance. TA.
Death is a Dialogue, Attention System, Ron Mexico, the Joy Kills. 9 p.m. April 21. Vinyl. $10; $7 in advance. TA.

Delta Classic Chastain season subscription packages are on sale at 10 a.m. Monday.

  • June 13: Gavin DeGraw, Colbie Caillat, Andy Grammer. Time TBA.
  • June 16: Anita Baker. 8 p.m.
  • June 22: “Music of the Night: The Best of London’s West End Musical Theater.” 8 p.m.
  • July 11: Diana Krall. 8 p.m.
  • July 13: “Summerland” with Everclear, Sugar Ray, Gin Blossoms, Lit, Marcy Playground. 7 p.m.
  • July 21: The Temptations, the Four Tops. 8 p.m.
  • July 25: Joe Cocker, Huey Lewis and the News. time TBA.
  • July 27: Brandi CarlileJosh Ritter and the Royal City Band. time TBA.
  • July 28: Seal, Macy Gray. time TBA.
  • Aug 4: Music of …

Continue reading Hot tickets: March 27 »

Aerosmith includes Philips Arena on summer tour

Aerosmith last played Atlanta in 2009 (pictured) at Aaron's Amphitheatre at Lakewood. Photo credit: Robb Cohen

Aerosmith last played Atlanta in 2009 (pictured) at Aaron's Amphitheatre at Lakewood. Photo credit: Robb Cohen

Steven Tyler will use his summer away from “American Idol” to return to his rightful place – the stage.

Aerosmith will hit the road for “The Global Warming Tour,” an 18-city run that parks at Philips Arena July 26, the band’s first Atlanta appearance since 2009. Fellow classic rock hitmakers Cheap Trick will open.

In 2010 the band celebrated its 40th anniversary, but Tyler’s choice to join the judging panel of “Idol” last season led to a fractured Aerosmith, particularly with guitarist Joe Perry. Tyler addressed the issues in a recent “60 Minutes” piece and seemingly fanned the flames with his comments that the rest of the band “rides my coattail because they know I care” and “I tell the truth, that’s why they don’t like me.”

But Aerosmith will apparently compartmentalize their personal issues – Perry just popped up on “Idol” …

Continue reading Aerosmith includes Philips Arena on summer tour »

Ruthie Foster heats up Eddie’s Attic

The one thing you can count on from Ruthie Foster anytime she steps onto a stage is being blown away by both her powerhouse voice and her familial warmth.

On Friday night at the intimate Eddie’s Attic, the Texas singer-songwriter brought the standing room only crowd into her embrace, holding them gently in her grip like a long-lost cousin for almost two hours of song and story.

Foster has a presence onstage that makes you feel good about the world. Her music – which melds gospel, blues, folk, country, Americana – is somewhat of a melting pot, much like the crowds her shows draw.

“I’m country y’all,” she told fans, adding that she was influenced early in life by country music – from the Conway Twitty 45s she received from an uncle when she got her first record player for Christmas, to the country radio stations she listened to in rural Texas because those stations had the strongest frequency signals.

“I love that I have that in my background,” said Foster, a …

Continue reading Ruthie Foster heats up Eddie’s Attic »

Delta Classic Chastain series announced

Anita Baker will visit Chastain this summer.

Anita Baker will visit Chastain this summer.

The Delta Classic Chastain series for this summer has been announced with a little bit of soul and classic ‘80s and ‘90s pop making the cut.

 Season subscription packages are on sale at 10 a.m. Monday. 

 The lineup:

  •  June 13: Gavin DeGraw with Colbie Caillat with Andy Grammer. Time TBA.
  • June 16: Anita Baker, 8 p.m.
  • June 22: “Music of the Night: The Best of London’s West End Musical Theater,” 8 p.m.
  • July 11: Diana Krall, 8 p.m.
  • July 13: “Summerland” with Everclear, Sugar Ray, Gin Blossoms, Lit and Marcy Playground, 7 p.m.
  • July 21: The Temptations and The Four Tops, 8 p.m.
  • July 25: Joe Cocker and Huey Lewis and the News, time TBA.
  • July 27: Brandi Carlile with Josh Ritter & The Royal City Band, time TBA.
  • July 28: Seal with Macy Gray, time TBA.
  • Aug 4: Music of ABBA featuring Arrival from Sweden with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 8: Charlie Wilson and special guest, time TBA.

Here’s a link to the shows …

Continue reading Delta Classic Chastain series announced »

Live music picks: March 23-29

Ruthie Foster brings her powerful voice to Eddie's Attic on Friday, March 23, fresh from a series of acclaimed shows at the South by Southwest Music Conference in Austin, Texas. Photo: John Carrico

Ruthie Foster brings her powerful voice to Eddie's Attic on Friday, March 23, fresh from a series of acclaimed shows at the South by Southwest Music Conference in Austin, Texas. Photo: John Carrico

FRIDAY
Ruthie Foster

Texas singer-songwriter Foster brings her gutsy blues- and gospel-infused vocals to Decatur fresh from a round of triumphant performances at the South by Southwest music conference last week in Austin, Texas. She has a new album, “Let It Burn,” which demonstrates the wide range of influences that inform her genre-defying talent. She covers songs by Adele, the Black Keys and the Band, and duets with William Bell on his soulful Stax Records classic “You Don’t Miss Your Water.”
8 p.m. March 23. $20. Eddie’s Attic, 515 N. McDonough St., Decatur. 404-377-4976.

FRIDAY
The English Beat

The English Beat (just the Beat in the U.K.) began as one of the second-generation ska bands — along with the Specials, Madness, the Selecter and others — in …

Continue reading Live music picks: March 23-29 »

Bruce Springsteen brings back the knee slide in N.C.

In Monday’s review of the Bruce Springsteen tour opener, I made mention that while he is still looking strong and spent plenty of time swinging on his mic stand and heading into the crowd for various nimble moves, we weren’t treated to the patented Springsteen knee slide across the stage. (Remember this one from the Super Bowl performance? )

Some fervent readers of the Springsteen bible (www.backstreets.com) were kind enough to send me this excerpt from the review of Monday’s show in Greensboro, N.C.

Guess the moral of this one is – never underestimate The Boss!

Chris Phillips’ Backstreets.com review of the Greensboro show:

“The morning of this show, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote from opening night: “At 62, Springsteen is still a taut package of rugged masculinity in tight black jeans and a neat vest and button-down shirt; and while he might not slide across the stage on his knees anymore, he’s still insanely active.” As if in direct retort, there was Bruce …

Continue reading Bruce Springsteen brings back the knee slide in N.C. »