This Colorado outfit has been around for more than 20 years, taking bluegrass into new territory with hints of Cajun, funk, rock and whatever else they can think of throwing in. The band has been on hiatus since 2005, taking a break following the death of founding member Mark Vann. The band has done the occasional gig in the meantime, but it’s been eight years since the last Leftover Salmon album. They finally have a new one to celebrate so they’re hitting the road in earnest in anticipation of the May 22 release of “Aquatic Hitchhiker.” The album is the first to feature the band’s latest banjo man, Andy Thorn, who follows in the footsteps of Vann and Noam Pikelny (who’ll take the stage at Variety Playhouse Saturday night with the Punch Brothers).
8:30 p.m. April 20. $25; $22.50 in advance. Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-524-7354.
The smooth and slinky soul of this Cleveland songstress recalls the ’70s sweet spot of her acknowledged influences, including Minnie Riperton and Donny Hathaway. This show comes just a few days before the release of her sixth album, “A Pocketful of Purpose.” The album’s first single, “Don’t Change,” is already available.
8:30 p.m. April 21. $25; $20 in advance. The Loft, 1374 W. Peachtree St. N.W., Atlanta. 404-885-1365.
Watching Chris Thile play is a jaw-dropping experience. The man coaxes things from a mandolin that you’d think were impossible. With Nickel Creek on an indefinite hiatus, he seems to have settled in quite nicely with another group of musicians. The quintet has proven itself a phenomenally talented bunch of musicians from the very first Punch Brothers album in 2008. On this year’s “Who’s Feeling Young Now?” the band has really merged into a cohesive and creative unit (no longer just “Thile and Friends”). In fact, the Punch Brothers has grown into one of the most inventive and entertaining bands of any genre.
8:30 p.m. April 21. $30; $27.50 in advance. Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-524-7354.
Her dad, Mel, is a respected songwriter and performer in Nashville, but Pam Tillis, with her balanced blend of the traditional and contemporary, would have been a star no matter who her daddy is. After success as a songwriter in the ’80s, she had her first hits under her own name with her Arista Records debut, 1991’s “Put Yourself in My Place,” which included the terrific “Maybe It Was Memphis.” She had a great run in the ’90s, with 13 Top 10 country hits. The new millennium hasn’t been as commercially successful, but she’s released some really great music, including an album of her father’s songs and a wonderful self-released album called “RhineStoned.”
8 p.m. April 21. $20-$25. The Grand Theatre, 7 Wall St., Cartersville. 770-386-7343.
Idan Raichel and Vieux Farka Touré Quartet
Mali’s Vieux Farka Touré and Idan Raichel from Israel met by chance at a German airport, forging a friendship that led to a performance at the Tel Aviv Opera House in late 2010. The two were soon joined by Israeli bassist Yossi Fine and Malian calabash player Souleymane Kane in a small Tel Aviv studio. Those recordings became the basis for the March release from the Touré-Raichel Collective called “The Tel Aviv Session,” a gorgeous cultural meld that elicited this reaction from Pop Matters: “It would be an understatement to say that ‘The Tel Aviv Session’ is a good record, or even a great one. This is, simply put, one of the best Afro-pop collaborations you are likely to hear. …”
8 p.m. April 21. $45-$71. Rialto Center for the Arts, 80 Forsyth St. N.W., Atlanta. 404-413-9849.
Sharon Van Etten
Friends in lofty indie-rock places have helped Van Etten’s still young career. TV on the Radio’s Kyp Malone encouraged her to give music a try and she contributed vocals to the Antlers’ acclaimed 2008 album “Hospice.” She joined Shearwater for a cover of the Tom Petty-Stevie Nicks chestnut “Stop Dragging My Heart Around” for the Onion’s A.V. Club’s “A.V. Undercover” series earlier this year. Her latest album, “Tramp,” was produced by the National’s Aaron Dessner and includes contributions by Beirut’s Zach Condon and Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner. It’s really Van Etten’s show, though. Her songs create a hypnotic intimacy, sounding like they could only be delivered by her voice. They’re often dark, tortured and raw, but never self-pitying. It’s that haunted voice, perched on an emotional ledge, that offers hints of deliverance, transforming that ledge into a place of refuge.
8:30 p.m. April 25. $12. The EARL, 488 Flat Shoals Ave. S.E., Atlanta. 404-522-3950.
These lush piano-led popsters from Denver were beloved of the folks who pick the music for “Grey’s Anatomy,” which provided a big boost for the band’s single “How to Save a Life.” That track became one of the longest charting songs ever on the Billboard Hot 100, sticking around for 58 weeks. The band’s third album, “Scars & Stories,” was released in February and debuted at No. 4 , though the first two singles, “Heartbeat” and “Run for Your Life,” haven’t set the charts alight like the Fray’s early hits.
8 p.m. April 25. $35. Tabernacle, 152 Luckie St. N.W., Atlanta. 404-659-9022.
He was the Lake in Emerson, Lake and Palmer, but before joining that supergroup, he provided bass and vocals on the landmark 1969 debut from King Crimson, “In the Court of the Crimson King.” The tour that brings him to the Variety Playhouse is called “Songs of a Lifetime” and promises an intimate and interactive evening with the musician. He’ll also have a pre-release audio version of the first of three parts of his autobiography available at the shows. The full print version of the autobiography is set to be released by the end of the year.
8 p.m. April 26. $40; $35 in advance. Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-524-7354.
Shane Harrison / email@example.com